Our Experience Launching at GCA's Noted Expo in Brooklyn
We decided to launch our business at Noted, the inaugural event hosted by the Greeting Card Association. Because we conceived of this idea in December but were both still working full time, we needed a deadline to keep us on track, time-wise. The timing of the Noted expo seemed ambitious but do-able. And if we felt we were behind schedule, we’d just develop a drug habit and work ‘round the clock (and be crack-whore skinny… win-win).
As this was the first expo of its kind, we didn’t know what to expect. It was f*cking expensive. It was in Brooklyn, which is far away from our little hometown of Denver, CO. It was our first time exhibiting (or doing anything public with our business, really). We didn’t know what the hell was going on. But, like most things in entrepreneurship, you just have to white-knuckle it and hope you don’t f*ck it all up.
Well, we didn’t f*ck it up.
In fact, we felt so much at home that we are contemplating a temporary move to New York next year. And when we become the world’s most prolific greeting card company (gtfo the way, Hallmark), we will probably own penthouses in New York (and Paris and Singapore, as long as we can bring our tigers on gold leashes).
It became even more evident that we are on the right path.
I felt pretty fortunate to know some awesome human beings that live in Brooklyn and allowed me to sleep on the couch, cuddle their dog, and have some junk shipped to their apartment beforehand. I still had to haul some large items on the flight from Denver and utilized a ski-bag to travel. I looked ridiculous and wanted to heave it over the Brooklyn Bridge by the final day. It looked like a body bag.
After we survived the first day, we stopped into our new favorite boutique, Wolves Within, and met the ultra-hip and gracious owner, Bethany. She guided us to the idyllic patio at the nearby restaurant Anella. We dined, we drank, we laughed, we ate a lot of bread.
Ok, ok. Back to the expo.
It was a big pain in the ass to get set up, despite the above-and-beyond experience that GCA provided. The walls were already there, bright and clean, which is a big contrast to NSS (we haven’t exhibited at NSS yet, but we gossip, ya know). The layout was amazing, and the Brooklyn Expo Center was phenomenal. We were given ~10 hours to set up, which was not enough, unfortunately. We were scrambling at the last moment to present our booth and had zero time to spruce ourselves up. We looked like hot, wet garbage on a sunny day. Cute.
We sold some stuff, we fell in love with Brooklyn, and we met some super rad folks (Kweer Cards, Black River Letterpress, Lake Eerie Design Co., Stephanie Tara, Party of One, Paper Baristas… we heart you guys!).
We wanted our little booth to stand out, so we opted to use custom sticky-back wallpaper, which was kind of a pain-in-the-ass to install, but looked cute as hell and was easy to remove. We had these grandiose ideas of how our booth would look when it was all put together, but it didn’t look like I imagined. I was expecting Versailles and we ended up with Eureka’s Castle. But whatevs. We loved it.
Ruth and I did a lot of research beforehand to help us feel prepared and organized. I utilized a checklist created by Aeolidia which came in really handy (thanks, y’all, for putting this together). We didn’t end up needing half that crap, but I’d rather be over-prepared than under. And a vacuum? Lol. No.
Our biggest gripe about the show was the low attendance. We still wrote orders and will be featured in stores from coast-to-coast soon, which makes us really proud. We are still excited about the Noted expo and plan to attend in San Francisco next year.
We even created a little video review about our experience, which is provided below for your viewing pleasure.
I hope you like what you read/watched in this little tiny blog post. If you want to ask us any questions about GCA's Noted expo, bang that little contact button.