So long New York. We’re off to the UK!

Here we go, finishing up the NY Gift Fair today. The show lasts until 2pm and we are downstairs on level 1, booth 7507 this year. I hope you were able to find us if you came to the show. The weather has been CRAZY during this time. It was freezing when we set up the show last week, then it got warmer (more like our traditional winter) over the weekend and today it should be around 60 degrees! We’ve had about a 50 degree difference in days in less than a week.

One unusual thing that happened this time around is that my hotel reservation with Element Times Square was not what I had booked through the NYIGF show site. They had me checking out on the 29th instead of 30th. I asked if I could book the extra night and was told no. I had to contact Travel Planners, who were closed over the weekend, but Nancy did manage to get in touch with her Element contact and fix the error on Monday. Yay! Thank you, Nancy at Travel Planners. Nice to know that if mistakes are made, lives up to its claims:

Off to the Spring Fair in Birmingham, England tomorrow night. If you happen to be travelling across the pond this weekend, we’ll see you in Hall 5, Stand K44 at the NEC. Cheerio!

Congrats to Chuck Burke, “Gift & Decorative Accessories Magazine” Outstanding Manufacturer’s Rep!

While we were all hard at work at the New York International Gift Fair a week or two ago, one of the top reps we've ever had was receiving hard-won recognition for a job well done.

Congratulations to Chuck Burke (Road Runners, LLC) who covers New Jersey Gift & Toy accounts for Peter Pauper Press!

Chuck won the Outstanding Manufacturer's Representative award during the 61st annual Retailer Excellence Awards, presented by Gifts & Decorative Accessories magazine. Amazingly, this was not the first time Chuck received the award; he won it in 2007 as well, and is the first "repeat" winner. The award is determined by retail stores which subscribe to the magazine. From my own experience, Chuck is always a pleasure to deal with and one of the most prolific order writers PPP has ever had, which speaks volumes (pun intended!).

Seven awards were given out at the Gift & Dec gala on August 19th at Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers. We'd also like to congratulate some of our Peter Pauper retailers for winning three of the other awards:

Congratulations to all and THANK YOU, Chuck!


Jolly Good Time in England

Over the Labor Day weekend I was working, but I enjoyed it. Yes, that's right. I was on my feet for 9 hours each day — but I was in England! Birmingham, to be exact. Sure, it's known more as an industrial city northwest of London, but there are quite a few things to see, do, and eat! This was our second year at the Birmingham Autumn Fair.  Peter Pauper has a UK branch run by White Pebble International, with a warehouse in Chichester, West Sussex. 

To make things easier, we stayed at the Crowne Plaza NEC, which is literally across the lake from where the Autumn Fair is held. Breakfast at the Pendigo Restaurant on the lower level makes things even easier. After that quick walk around the lake, it's off to the show. Aside from our constant Metric vs Imperial measurement issue, things run pretty smoothly during set up. So much so, that we had an extra day to explore the city of Birmingham. I did venture forth my first night and have dinner at a Gordon Ramsey-recommended establishment called Lasan. Absolutely loved it. Great modern Indian food, if you "fancy a curry." I relished every bite. 

We trekked into the Bullring on Saturday to take a peek at a U.K. shopping mall. Holy cow! It was as crowded as the U.S. malls were back in the 80s — for Christmas! That was great to see. Not sure how many people were actually shopping, but the food places were certainly doing business. There were some interesting sights in that mall. Had lunch at the tasty Handmade Burger Co.

The show was a success! And a new journal and bookmark combo was the hit of the show. More about those — later. 

Thanks for the hard work done by all of our UK agents, plus Adam Ash, Susan Fairley, Claire Evison, and Alice Jeffries from White Pebble. See you at Spring Fair in February!

P.S. — If anyone in London is interested in becoming an agent for us, that territory is currently open. 




It’s up to you – New York, NY!

View from my room at Element Times Square.

I know it’s a day after the 9/11 anniversary, so I feel compelled to discuss and celebrate NYC. The New York International Gift Fair is normally our most successful show of the year. Why? I have my theories – it’s not only a good show to see all the new items, but New York is a great tourist town. So, why not combine your business trip with a mini-cation? I would. It’s not cheap, but it’s one of the best cities in the world to visit. The lights, the action, the culture, the theater, the food, and all that jazz.

For those of us in the industry, attending the trade shows offers perks as well as pitfalls. Pitfalls include making sure freight gets to the convention center on time, working with tradesmen who have strict union rules on how things have to be done, and the general principles of Murphy’s Law. But in NYC, the perks are that there’s so much to do and see!

Naked! This is how the booth looks with the walls up, but none of the product out.

Nothing starts off as pretty as it (hopefully) appears on opening day. A lot of sweat, tears, and even blood occasionally are shed by us through our own manual labor. I’ve cut myself on the Lucite shelves many a time. But then, I’m a bit of a klutz. We go in on a Friday to set up the product, and hopefully finish the same day, as long as everything goes according to plan, and all product has arrived. If not, then it’s back again on Saturday to make sure everything is perfect for show time! We set everything up in relatively good time this season.

I stayed at the Element Times Square hotel this August and I really like it. It’s within walking distance to the Javits Center, but there’s a shuttle just in case it’s raining, too. I like the mini-kitchens the rooms have. I can bring in water and yogurt and have drinks and snacks in the room or even reheat leftovers from dinner at a local restaurant. Plus, they have a nice free breakfast there each morning too (and wine/beer and snacks for happy hour, but I wouldn’t know about that). I normally go to a Broadway musical while here, getting my discount tickets from TKTS in Times Square. The one restaurant I can recommend from this particular trip was Havana Alma de Cuba, down in the Village. The food was delicious and the drinks were full strength.

Liz, our new Sales Assistant, helping customers.

If you’re planning a trip to The Big Apple, you can also check out recommendations in our best-selling guide:   

The completed booth.

See you next NYIGF — January 27-30, 2013!