Tips for first time attendees at the National Stationery Show (NSS)

What: National Stationery Show

Where: Jacob K. Javits Center, New York

When: every May

Why attend: “The National Stationery Show is a gorgeous, design-driven experience like no other.” – NSS

It was also our first time to attend the 2016 show and we were so ecstatic! We knew it was gonna be huge, but everything went beyond our expectations the moment we step foot into Javits Center. As first timers both in the show and in New York,  it would have been helpful for us if we had some kind of guidelines on what to expect, but we learn from experience right? Here are a few of our tips on how to go about [and survive] the show.

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NSS admission:

Register in advance– this is very important. Which means you have to register online. They do have a deadline for this, so make sure to check their website and keep that date in mind. Note that this show is for the trade only and not open to the public. So you must have some kind of connection to the stationery trade (ex: a retail shop owner–online / brick & mortar, employee, media, etc). Be prepared to show documents for proof of affiliation (like a payroll stub, business card with your name, company ID, etc).

Since the main purpose of the show is for connecting business to business and selling at wholesale, it is more geared towards buyers/retailers. For qualified buyers, you get in for free IF you register in advance. Otherwise, onsite tickets are $60 for first-time qualified buyers. Make sure to choose this option when you add your ticket to cart, or you’ll end up paying $495 or $595 (onsite) for a different kind of ticket–a supplier to the trade. But if you ARE a supplier to the trade and are willing to pay, then by all means, choose that option.

* Please note that rates mentioned in this post are as of NSS 2016.

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Some show rules (and tips) to get you started:

  • Luggage carts, wheeled cases of any kind and strollers are not allowed on the exhibit floor during show hours.
  • They have a storage and they charge you $3 per article.
  • If you’re there to buy or potentially buy, make sure to bring a large bag enough to hold the millions of catalogs and freebies you’ll be getting.
  • Don’t hoard all the catalogs; only choose from those you will potentially buy because, believe us, it will be heavy at the end of the day.
  • Always have your business cards handy (we brought 40 and that wasn’t enough). This is THE opportunity for you to be networking and forging partnerships with potential suppliers/customers/collaborations. Talk about your shop, your products, and your story so you will also be memorable to them.
  • The show is HUGE!!! A day is not enough to see everything. Be sure to have a goal in mind: whether it is to shop, purchase, network, or just looking for inspiration. Plan accordingly. The NSS website and app have a show planner that you can use. We would say that the show comprises of about: 50% greeting cards, 15% planners and accessories, 15% gift items, 10% custom invites, and 10% suppliers.

Food:

  • They have 2 Starbucks cafes inside Javits Center, as well as some type of mini cafeteria to grab some lunch.
  • Outside the venue, there are street vendors selling hotdogs, gyros, and other street food NYC is famous for.
  • Alternatively, if you’re on a budget, you can also pack some lunch (or get a take-out beforehand). There are some tables and chairs in the cafeteria area.

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Getting there:

  • The best way to, in my opinion? Bus or subway. There are stops nearby so it’s really convenient. You don’t have to worry about parking and the fees.
  • There are free shuttles that go from certain hotels to Javits Center and vice versa. Check the NSS website for a list of hotels, routes, and times.

A tip: If you’re a visitor, the best way to go around Manhattan is by the bus or subway. You can purchase their MetroCard and get unlimited passes (for 7 days and 30 days) if you plan on going around a lot– and I promise you, it’s super worth it. Almost everything is accessible through commute. You save yourself the stress of New York driving (and parking), and some money as well. Check the fares here to compute and plan your trips.

We will be doing another post for the highlights of our NSS trip so stay tuned for that! — UPDATE! Read about it here.

For more details, visit the NSS website at http://www.nationalstationeryshow.com.

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5 thoughts on “Tips for first time attendees at the National Stationery Show (NSS)

    • Hi Maria! Thank you! It’s not open to the public, but if you’re affiliated or in any way a part of the stationery trade, then you can attend. Most of the visitors are store owners or buyers from big companies looking to purchase wholesale from the booths. Some are from the press/media, manufacturers, printers, designers, and more. It’s more of a business-to-business trade show, and we read that they’re actually not allowed to sell retail in the show. Are you planning to attend next year’s NSS? 😉

  1. […] Just like last year, we took a day off on the 2nd day of the 3-and-a-half-day show. If I remember correctly, the show had about 16 or 17 aisles in total, but not all aisles were filled up. If you take time to look at all or most of the booths like we did before, then you might need the whole 4 days and stay from opening ’til closing. That’s why this year we made sure to only spend our time in the booths that really appealed to us. That way we can manage our time in the show better. If it’s your first time attending the show, you can check out our tips here. […]

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