Okay, I owe you all a huge, long post after my long hiatus!  Well, you are in luck.

My brain is still coming to terms with the fact that we did it and it’s already over – Sarah and I showed together at the National Stationery Show last week!  It was a huge mix of excitement, nervousness, wonderful compliments, getting up really early, staying up pretty late, making new friends, and spending time with old ones.  It was honestly though, all a big blur.  I had pulled more than a few late nights and all-nighters in the weeks leading up to NSS (which explains my absence here) and the last month in particular I was literally working non-stop all day long.  From the minute I got into NYC and to the Javitz, it was complete, organized chaos – just to get through the building past all of the crates and booths being set up was like going through a maze!  Our booth proved to be a bit of a tricky situation the first day of set-up, with the walls not lining up perfectly the first night or how we were missing the electricity that we had already paid for.

Setting up the booth

walls are up!

But by the second day of set up, all of those kinks got worked out and then everything just came together…

shelves are up!

signage goes up!

I think the finished booth came out even better than we had hoped for; I was worried that maybe we didn’t plan enough or give it that much “specialness” that we both wanted to set it apart from the rest.  Our main concern was that even though it was our first year, we didn’t want it to look like it was our first year.  We also wanted it to feel warm and inviting; a bit homey, like you wanted to come in and sit down and stay awhile – but that you should also be able to focus on the product and not be so overwhelmed with how the booth looked.  When it was all said and done by early Saturday evening, we were pretty pleased with how it turned out.

our booth, 2168!

Parrott Design Studio

Letter & Lark

Letter & Lark card wall

Letter & Lark corner

center back wall

We met so many wonderful people at the show and were incredibly lucky to have the best booth neighbors around, The Paper Cub/sass&peril and Thimblepress – we all were debuting this year and were also all TSBC alumni (woot, woot!) and became best buds right away.  I also got to meet (or properly meet, outside of Instagram) the owners of some of my favorite letterpress studios including Printerette Press, Moglea, Wild Ink Press, Fat Bunny Press, Paper Lovely, Pistachio Press, and Blackbird Letterpress, just to name a few.  And it was so good to sneak in time to catch up with good friends from Ladyfingers Letterpress, Studio Carta, Albertine Press, Pressbound, and Wishbone Letterpress.  I also met countless bloggers that I’ve followed for years, and between all the letterpress folks, bloggers, designers, and all-around amazing people that I have admired from afar (aka, the internet) and have so much love and respect for – it was totally surreal at times to be standing and talking with these people, because I sincerely look up to so many of them and they all do such great work.  Talk about feeling star-struck, phew!

It was also really exciting to actually be a part of NSS for the first time and not just a visitor, after having walked the show the last two years (and having followed it online for the last 4-5).  I was able to reconnect with some of my existing stores (with people I’ve been lucky to become friends with, not just work with) who happily placed reorders while we chatted and caught up.  And I was also able to receive several new store orders with some amazing places that I am so thrilled to be doing business with (some of which I needed to pinch myself to make sure it was actually happening and not dreaming about!).


At noon on Wednesday during the show, it was like Cinderella at midnight and suddenly – it was all over: and the crazy commotion of taking down product & walls commenced with small cranes and trucks driving down the aisles carting wood pallets and crates to disassembled booths.  Sarah and I managed to stop briefly and sneak in some celebratory chocolate cake (before our hardworking husbands caught us!), and then we parted ways for the trek home.  My husband and I never like to go straight home from any trip, so we stopped in CT for some amazing Indian food and then completely randomly discovered a gorgeous nature preserve (actually while trying to look for a restroom).  We were able to watch a sunset while walking on a beach and it hit me – I did it.  All those long days, all those long all-nighters, the times when I had so many ideas I couldn’t get them all down on paper fast enough, or the times when I sat wanting to cry out of frustration that I had nothing left in my brain to give (but was too tired to cry), and all the years I told myself, “…someday, I’ll be one of the exhibitors at the show…”

Sherwood Island State Park, CT

Screen Shot 2013-05-30 at 12.08.07 AM

I’m really glad that I’ve had a few days after NSS to digest everything, and become “human” again… to actually sleep again, cook meals & eat again, see family and friends who were wondering what the heck I was doing, and finally get back into taking care of myself and be in a normal routine again.  But I’m also really proud that I can look back and know that I gave it my absolute all for my first year at NSS, and I’m pretty proud of what I accomplished.

And now: to work on getting the new studio settled and filling those orders!  My posts might still be spotty for a bit, but I promise to check in when I can!

*Two HUGE shout outs to people who really came through for me/us:
Margaret: one of my nearest and dearest and best friends… Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for opening your home to me & my dears during the week of NSS!  You are AMAZING!
Rich: thank you x a ZILLION for all your hard work and dedication to building that amazing booth that we only minimally helped with.  You are the reason why we received so many compliments on our first booth – THANK YOU for caring so much to help us look so good!

** Three big blogging thank you’s:
Nole: thank you for stopping by our booth and blogging about it during the show!  That particular day was the toughest for me, and to see your post really made my day.  Thank you so much!
Jane: thank you for blogging about Letter & Lark after the show!  It was such a lovely write-up.  And, it was amazing to finally meet you!
Hijiri: thank you so much for writing about our booth!  I was so happy when you stopped by, I’ve been wanting to say hello to you in person for what seems like forever.  Your post was so sweet, thank you!

*** To my parents: Thank you for helping me when I needed it most, you are the reason why I have any success!  I know you always say that parents are there to help their kids, but not everyone actually does.  Thank you for always having my back and keeping me focused on my goals and inspiring me to try harder.  You guys are the best parents – no seriously, you are… thank you!

**** Lastly, how can I not give a special shout out to this man:
Jeffrey: most likely, you’ll never read this.  But just in case, thank you from the bottom of my heart to always have my back, to always be there to encourage me, to always tell me to work hard and go farther.  I couldn’t have asked for a better husband to always help me through thick and thin, thank you for all your help over the months and especially with setting up the booth/taking it down and driving back and forth between MA and NY.  You are amazing and I love you.

{images shown either from my Instagram @letterandlark or from my camera}

Posted Thursday, May 30th, 2013 at 12:37 am
Filed Under Category: Letter & Lark, the creative life, the pressed page
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Responses to “NSS 2013 Wrap Up”



it was my pleasure to visit your booth, to meet you, and to write about letter & lark at my blog.

all of your hard work was worth it: spectacular debut :)


What a wonderful post, Colleen!! And thank you so much for including our link, too — I couldn’t not write about your lovely booth!! It was so so nice meeting you in person, too :) Your post reminds me of when I showed in 2011. I’m so happy to hear that it went great for you!! It WAS like Cinderella at midnight when it was over :)



It was absolutely my pleasure Colleen! You and Sarah totally rocked it at the show – I’m so happy for you! :)

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