For many years I channeled my industry passion on behalf of one company and its dealers. In my new chapter and identity as partner in Local Traffic Builder, we design, market and consult for numerous retailers and brands. In addition, I have had the personal satisfaction of having an influence on the development and direction of some new companies that will be exhibiting at the National Stationery Show for the first or second time as well as helping established companies reinvent themselves.

In my years of exhibiting, the biggest question retailers have is “what’s new”?

Here are some companies with something new that I recommend you visit at the show or contact if you are not able to attend.

Dalmazio Imports Booth 1241

Dalmazio Imports has been an industry mainstay for many years as a wholesale importer of fine favors, gifts, and accessories. Sandra Dalmazio, co-owner of Dalmazio Imports created her own niche as an extremely talented invitation designer and party decorator in the New York City metropolitan area. She would take upscale brand invitations and add her own adornments including the use of boxes instead of envelopes. She now has a wholesale product line for invitations with appliqués, hand painting and other enhancements at a level that stands alone in the industry.

Sandra was in the process of gathering her samples for a photo shoot for a new site focusing on invitations, when her entire building and all its contents were destroyed in a fire several months ago. In recovering from this devastation, she courageously made a last minute decision to still participate at the show. She has no professional photos and we posted some cell phone shots on Pinterest that will give you a glimpse of  the “wow” effect Just wait till you see the designs in person.

Thankster – Booth 1370 –

When I saw this company, multiple bulbs lit up in my head. While thank you cards are usually never the focal point of an invitation sale, this company has a concept that can change all that.

The essence of their offer is they digitize handwriting, turn it into a font and create personalized printed thank you cards that look like they were handwritten. Every card can have a different message or they can merge the guest list with one message. A good solution for the angst created for parents when forcing their Bar/Bat Mitzvah kids to write individual notes to each friend and relative as well as busy newlyweds who grew up on a computer and may have forgotten how to write with a pen (okay an exaggeration).

However, this is only the beginning; Thankster stuffs, addresses and stamps the envelope and off they go.

Let’s get to the profit part. Each card retails for $2.49 regardless of the quantity for any style they carry. They even offer the option of using customer-supplied stock for a reduced price. The dealer discount is among the most generous in the industry at 55%. If you are a retailer that discounts based on competitive pressures and are also selling many lower priced invitations, selling this product with all of the value added service at full price can increase the profit on your invitation order 50-100%.

Exclusive Bordering –  Booth 2876

I do not know any retailers who are not challenged by consumers that are price shopping and trying to make apples to apples comparisons. Exclusive Bordering offers valuable finishing and product enhancing services such as Hand bordering, hand deckling, paper laminating, letterpress, beveling, and edge coloring. This can help you enhance album sold products or customize your own products to inspire creativity in customers and quench their thirst for differentiation. You can actually visit their booth and leave with a boxed sample kit that is an excellent sales tool that is given free to qualified dealers. You can also view celebrity Kim Kardashian’s wedding invitation.

Intricutz – Booth 3053

Laser cut invitations is one of the new looks touted in Martha Stewart Weddings. Intricutz offers a product line that is a laser cut suite of invitations, enclosures and accessories that include menus, programs, seating cards and favor boxes. They create intricate, lace details or simple, modern, geometric cutouts. The designs are versatile and can be also used for bar/bat mitzvahs, milestone events, and corporate events. The laser cutting of the name is very distinctive and can even be done in Hebrew. Printing methods of laser, thermography and letterpress are available.

Owner Martha Rayon has worked tirelessly for months to create this product line and build a strong infrastructure for service and delivery. I love the idea that they offer quantities in increments of “10” after the first 100.

Simply Personal Booth 3055 –

Owner Susan Strauss visited the Local Traffic Builder booth two years ago to see how we can help her revamp her website for online retailing. I immediately saw the simplicity and elegance of her products and ordering process and suggested that she consider shifting to become a wholesale brand. Talk about taking action. She exhibited last year even though she was just starting the company.

No other brand of invitations sold through retailers markets to brides the use of easy technology to design their invitation in collaboration with their local retailer. This will save hours of time in the typical selection and ordering process from album brands.

From the moment a bride views a co-branded Simply Personal online portal, they feel they are in control, but in reality, you have control of the sale.

The custom portal empowers the bride to select her invitation with an online elegant design tool that allows the customization of an invitation on rich paper stock from endless combinations of ink colors, fonts and motifs with a choice of three methods of printing. When selecting the invitation or finalizing the sales process with you she can see and feel the physical invitation along with viewing ink color charts and swatches of paper.

Their elegant sample kit, paper, and color chart is elegant way of showing the physical product in stores and even at bridal shows.