Yes I’m finally getting around to blogging about everything. If you kept up on Facebook you might have seen a few photos of the booth setup here and there, but this is the post that you all have been waiting for. First off, a big thanks to Tracy of WeddingType Blog for letting me use her images she took of the booth at the show. She really did a great job capturing the booth’s walls and I just love the shot of the logo that she got.

I’m going to work my way from past to present and will try to answer the questions posted in the comments from last weeks blog post. This post should have been broken down into about 5, so bare with me!

Our booth shipped out early to the JKJCC advanced warehouse receiving. I was too nervous living rural to not have it ship early. Our selected ship date was April 21st for arrival before May 4th (this years advanced receiving deadline). When selecting a shipper, there was Freeman (JKJCC’s union shipper of choice) which quoted me at $1800 round trip. I got quote from FreightQuote, XPOSolutions, Tradeshow Shipping and more. In the end I selected XPO solutions. Jay was a great rep and answered a lot of silly questions. I was quoted at $549 for one way,for a 500 lb. pallet. Our weigh-in was 715 lbs. and ended up costing me close to $1100 for the 200 lbs. extra. I’m still confused on that one, as they had indicated it was pro-rated. That was a slap in the face. I know it’s not much compared to what other businesses spend to ship their booths, but I didn’t appreciate the almost double in price.

Two days after the booth shipped, our 6 year old was doing a cook out with Brian and his pant leg spontaneously combusted. We did hospital visits for close to two weeks for daily leg dressings. It really put things in perspective (those damn sweatpants) we are still doing leg dressings…HOWEVER, I really appreciate all the love and support that you gave me during that stressful time, the extended deadlines that our great clients put up with, and the twitter love that went around. I was on my last leg (no pun intended).

24 hours before I flew out, I got my business cards trimmed out. Duplexed and letterpress printed 3/1 on 220# paper they turned out amazing. These babies made things start to become real.

We flew in on the red-eye into JFK (Matt, my project manager and trusty brother), spent a few hours there shooting off last minute emails, and then hitting the hotel to check in early. When we arrived our boxes were all separated from the walls, and in Robyn’s booth along with a booth number mix-up (our electricity was missing and our booth was identified as another exhibitors booth). The thing that really ticked me off though, was that despite everything being unwrapped, the walls apparently were forklifted off of the pallet we shipped on, and set on another pallet WITH NAILS STICKING OUT OF IT. Our silver leaf was RUINED on at least two panels and the third panel had forklift marks all over it, along with one of our metal sheets ripped off. We won’t be using XPO solutions again, or advanced receiving. It will ship crated and be stored in NYC from here on out.

After assessing the damage we went to work. Brian built the booth for me after I silver-leafed the panels. (before it shipped). JKJCC had strict union rules, in which you have to hire labor for anything and everything. Its a racket. After leafing, Brian sprayed the walls with a couple of coats of laquer, marked where the recessed lighting was to hang (we had 10 lights), the sheet metal, and then hinged everything. There are two large 6″ hinge straps per pair of panels assembled. We had an 8×10′ booth and used 5x 4×8″ and 2 2.75×8′ panels.

Brian put them together so the hinge straps would be concealed and the walls would fold out flat and flush on the interior of the booth. Holes were drilled at the top for zip ties and L-brackets were used in the corners with pre-drilled holes, wing-nuts, screws and washers. This was all done before the booth shipped. Brian labeled everything meticulously so when we put it up we knew what order it needed to go in. After the back wall was up we laid the carpet (FLOR tiles on clearance) with carpet tape and then set up the side walls and hooked them in.

This is Matt at the end of setup for Day 1. I want to mention also – by JKJCC’s contract you are only allowed to setup 6 lights, on a step ladder. No large ladders or stools or standing on chairs. The BIGGEST advantage about arriving early though (Thursday) is that no one is there to red-flag you. Next year we’ll be arriving on Thursday again, checking in at 4:45pm and setting up when labor leaves at 5. You get get a lot done without getting into trouble. All 10 lights we hung, assembled the booth walls, and hung the logo and vinyl without union labor being a stick in the mud. It got harder as the weekend progressed though to get away with things.


Thankfully I had packed a few extra cans of spray paint (for the drawer fronts) and spray glue and silver leaf for the damaged areas on the booth walls.


I have to give a huge shout out to Jen and Glenwood at Oslo Press . They really came through for me last minute, on a wild tweet search for signage. I sent them my logo and Glenwood laser cut it out of two 1/8″ sheets of masonite and then laminated them together. They shipped UPS 2Day direct to the New Yorker. I was so blown away by what a great job they did, it was AMAZING!

Another great shot of the FLOR tiles, and some kerning before the logo went up on the wall. The biggest drawback was we initially used carpet tape on the back of the logo and it didn’t want to stick to the silver leaf. So about 2 days in we put some nails in to hold the logo up for the remainder of the show (Thanks Rebekah for the nails, and Jodi for the extra carpet tape)!

When we finally got electricity (that we had pre-paid for) the booth really started to come together. We bought one 500 watt outlet from JKJCC and a powerstrip which had 8 additional outlets for a total of $136. Matt built my IKEA desks, and popped out the IKEA chairs in no time. The yellow sheet-metal came from IKEA pre-drilled and we sprayed it yellow (man I love spray paint). Notice on all these photos how the lighting changes as certain parts of the booth gets lit up (we were in a low ceiling area too so that was helpful). In the end though, we still elected to get a PAR CAN at a whopping $418 (light and labor from ordering at the show instead of $318 pre-show) and it really made those silver walls amazing.


The PAR CAN made a HUGE difference. It turned the booth into a tanning booth (as much as I detest this photo of me, it was the only one we had of the full finished booth with drapes and desks with the books and product ;)

A shot of the Louies nominees, can you guess which one was ours?

The Valentine’s panel. My favorite part of the whole booth (besides the silver leaf) was the magnet system. It was really a great solution vs. taping and we’ll be using it again next year. I’m really happy with how it turned out, very minimalist and grunge industrial.

Shots from Tracy (as mentioned at the top) – THANK YOU!

Vinyl that Matt so delicately hung (it wanted to rip the silver leaf off as well).

Lastly, our big seller at the show, our monogram notes. They were a HUGE hit with buyers!

A special thanks to Erika of Delphine – Erika let me bother her with a plethora of questions last May when I decided to take the plunge for exhibiting. She was so kind (and is my design-idol) it was so amazing to meet her after all our emails. Thank you Nole of OSBP – Nole had some awesome booth advice that she sent my way that was invaluable from a press perspective. Rachael of Pistachio Press for advising re: catalogs and linesheets and answering a bunch of booth wall questions among others, Carrie of Anemone Letterpress and Scott McClelland (@STMJR), Amber of Flywheel – for being the genius behind the recipe card promo and for letting me be a part of it, Mark and Josh of Legion for sponsoring the promo and being flexible when we had the burn accident, and Matt the best NSS helper in the whole wide world.

Lastly to my wonderful amazing husband – Brian it’s been a hell of a last 6 months, thanks for putting up with my anxiety, no-sleep for 4 months, booth-building, super-dad and for being the most patient husband ever. I LOVE YOU! To Kenzie who learned diabetes and watched David and Charlie while I was gone during the days, my mom who watched Evelyn during NSS (and who came up to be slave labor for me twice before the show) and all my clients who helped build up Dingbat Press so that we could get to NSS 2011.

Total damage (these are rough dollar estimates):
Booth Space: $2600 to GLM
Electrical: $136 for outlet (500 W and power strip) form JKJCC
PAR CAN: $418
Shipping: $1100 one way (I left the walls there as garbage. tragic I know).
Shipping the remaining: $400 via various boxes UPS and USPS (return from the show)
Advanced Warehouse Receiving: $295
Booth walls:
$300 for x8 4×8′ 1/2″ walls.
Silver leaf:
$135 for 2000 sheets, which I used all but the last 50.
Laquer: $100
Hinges and hardware: $275 (those strap hinges and L-Brackets don’t come cheap)
FLOR tiles: 30 tiles at $11.99/tile – they were on clearance and I used a retailmenot.com coupon which scored the whole set for $350 instead of $425.
Hotel: $1600 for 7 nights at the New Yorker ($199/night double queen bed room, non-smoking booked in October 2010 through NSS travelplanners.com) For next year I’ll be booking earlier to get an even better rate as you don’t pay until your stay is completed.
Flights: Free round-trip, I used my JetBlue AmEx miles. If I buy though for next year, I’ll be buying on Cyber Monday.
Pre-show mailers/press kit: $700, it was a 4 post-card mailer that was awesome.
Magnets: $175 for 400 Magnets.
Sheet Metal: IKEA – $7.99/panel x12 = $95.88
Folding Barstools: IKEA – $24.99/stook = $49.98
Desks: IKEA – $69.00 x2 = $139.98
Signage: Oslo Press – $130
Lighting: 10 lights at $16.99/ea = $175
Step ladder: $30

Vinyl: $50 Sitckitshop.com
Food/Cabs/Metro: $300 (It rained a lot)
Vases/curtains: These didn’t make it into the photos, but they were from KMart and were used on the desks to conceal the boxes and linesheets as well as offer some beauty in the booth for pen holders. $100 (we used 24″ spring rods to hold the curtains up).
Clothing: What would NSS be without a new outfit for opening day? H&M $150 for a few shirts and a skirt and shoes.

GRAND TOTAL: 9,754.84

Re-usable cost: $1465.84

Note that this does not include the launch of a whole new collection. The plating, printing, designing, labor, and blood sweat and tears of showing 100 new stationery pieces and producing a wedding book in cost alone is estimated at about $7,000 for 10 wedding suites included and production of the book. All in all, for a conservative budget we did the base of the show in under $10K but that in no way even starts to put things in perspective as to what we spent launching all new product for the show.

NSS was an AMAZING experience, and we’ll be back next year, but with a budget and hopefully more great stationery to add to the new collections. Believe it or not, we’ll be reserving our space over the next few weeks for 2012.

A big thank you to all the buyers that have already placed orders, and to those that didn’t get a chance, drop us an email at info@dingbatpress.com an we’ll get you a login to the wholesale site where you can order online!