3A Composites USA Inc.

Contemporary Greeting Card Designer’s Do-It-Yourself Trade Show Booth Runs Rings Around the Competition with Gatorfoam

Tamera Lawrence has always loved circles.

“Circles resonate with me; they’re never-ending,” said Lawrence, a Santa Monica, CA-based graphic designer and the self-described “ringmaster” of Mobile Whimsy™ Greeting Cards.  Each card in the contemporary Mobile Whimsy line features a mini mobile comprised of three circles vertically placed and decorated with witty wordplay depicted on one side with graphics and printed on the other side with words.  In Mobile Whimsy-speak, a message of affection reads “Eye Heart Ewe” and is visually depicted with corresponding graphics. 

Introduced in January 2012, Lawrence’s hand-assembled greeting card line officially was launched at the 2012 National Stationery Show held May 20-23, 2012, at the Javits Center in New York, where Mobile Whimsy was named a finalist in the show’s “Best New Product” competition. 

Remaining true to her mobile-infused brand, Lawrence self-designed her 8-foot by 10-foot trade show booth with white cut-out circular frame displays of Mobile Whimsy cards and easy-to-install colorful striped walls – all created with lightweight-yet-durable ½-inch thick Gatorfoam graphic display board by 3A Composites USA in the Bright White color and 48-by-96-inch sheet size.

Still new to the market, the Mobile Whimsy line featured only 30 card selections when it was displayed at the 2012 National Stationery Show.

“In order to look like a substantial collection, I needed an innovative display; so, I chose circles and bold-colored stripes to make us stand out,” said Lawrence, who also needed the booth to be lightweight so that she and a friend could handle show setup.

“I knew we would be challenged to put up shelving,” said Lawrence.  “I wanted the display to be creative yet lightweight. Using Gatorfoam to create round shapes for displaying the cards highlighted my brand’s theme.  It was consistent with the whole circle idea. Gatorfoam is a sturdy material that’s easy to handle.”

Lawrence designed her booth with Adobe Illustrator CS5 software and turned to New York-based Coloredge for fabrication. Employees at Coloredge printed bold stripes in Lawrence’s signature contemporary greeting card palette of red orange, jade, warm gray and yellow hues on inkjet paper with an HP Series inkjet printer, according to Dorothy Cherbavaz, Coloredge inside sales manager, who said the prints were mounted to ½-inch Gatorfoam with pressure-sensitive adhesive sheets.  The white ½-inch Gatorfoam frame rings, signage and large hanging mobile were cut with a Zund digital die-cutter by Comp24, a division of Coloredge, in Los Angeles.

“Gatorfoam is rigid; we didn’t want any bowing,” said Cherbavaz.  “Gatorfoam was also cost-effective and lightweight. That made it no chore to move booth pieces, which Tamera had to do herself.”

Added Lawrence:  “I knew that I wanted a hard wall for my first booth display.  It aligned with the contemporary feel of my card line.  I also wanted vibrant color and pattern and learned that Gatorfoam could meet my demands.  And, last but not least, I wanted a substrate that I could reuse and that would stand the test of being transported to and from storage in Washington, DC.”

The trade show booth walls were attached to a metal pipe framing system with Velcro brand fasteners.  And, the Gatorfoam circular displays were attached to the walls with 3M Command poster strips.

“Tamera’s booth design was stunning – from her choice of colors to the way she put it together,” said Cherbavaz.  “It looked spectacular.  She received so many compliments at the show.”

Lawrence’s booth presentation of Mobile Whimsy Greeting Cards at the 2012 stationery show attracted the attention of the American Folk Art Museum in New York, which gave her the opportunity to create both a window and in-store retail display promoting sales of her cards in the museum’s gift shop. Lawrence reused booth display pieces for these promotions, which were displayed at the American Folk Art Museum Shop for two months beginning in August 2012.

“I reused two of the walls from my booth and added new information to the white bottom border to work with the window,” said Lawrence. “The walls were received (from storage) in mint condition.”

Added Cherbavaz:  “A portion of the display in the American Folk Art Museum window would spin; it really grabbed attention. The whole concept was delightful.”

Lawrence is far from finished utilizing the durable Gatorfoam display pieces.  She set up the same colorful booth at the 2013 National Stationery Show held at the Javits Center in New York May 19-22.

“It was always my intention to use the same booth display for the 2013 show and beyond,” said Lawrence.  “Other than little dings on the corners from transport, the Gatorfoam looks like new.”

As a small tweak and update for the 2013 National Stationery Show, Lawrence painted the circular Gatorfoam display frame rings on one side with Montana GOLD Acrylic Professional Spray Paint in the red orange color.

“The Gatorfoam took the paint well and provided an updated look for the booth,” according to Lawrence, who said she may alternate the red orange and white sides of the Gatorfoam frame rings for another booth look.

“I will definitely use this booth again,” said Lawrence.  “We had an instance in setup when the metal framing started to lean and all of the Gatorfoam boards fell. The Gatorfoam held up. The walls are fine.”

In addition to the American Folk Art Museum, Mobile Whimsy greeting cards are sold at the Baltimore Museum of Art; the Palo Alto Art Center in Palo Alto, Calif.; and the Delaware Art Museum as well at other retail locations. Mobile Whimsy Greeting Cards can be purchased on-line at www.tameralawrence.com.

Gatorfoam sheets are manufactured by 3A Composites USA in standard 48-by-96 inch sheets and 60-by-120 inch sheets in the Bright White, Black and Neutral colors and in thicknesses ranging from 3/16 inches to 2 inches.