LOUIE Awards

by Fern Gimbelman, Designer Greetings
Chair, LOUIE Awards

Registration is open for the Speakeasy Soirée on May 19, 2019! We invite you to join us at 26 Bridge in Brooklyn, NY for a time hop into the 1930’s – it’s going to be the bee’s knees’! Register here, today! We are so excited for this year’s LOUIE finalists and look forward to displaying them not only at the LOUIE Celebration (Speakeasy Soirée), but also at Noted: The Greeting Card Expo. All finalists will be displayed at both venues, and winners will be announced in style at the celebration. To see a complete list of finalists, you may see the names and view the finalist cards here. Once again, we would like to thank our 19 esteemed judges who volunteered their time and energy to participate in the two-day judging period in February. We would also like to thank all of those that entered the 2019 LOUIE Awards – it was a very intense judging period due to the wonderful submissions!

Don’t forget that you can also sponsor this year’s LOUIE Awards! We are now accepting sponsors for this event. If you are interested – learn more here. But don’t wait too long!

Membership

by Alan Friedman, Great Arrow Graphics
Chair, Membership Committee

We’d like to take a few moments to thank all the companies that have renewed at this time! If you have not renewed, and wish to continue your GCA membership, please email Amanda at amanda@greetingcard.org and she will be happy to answer questions or help you to renew.

In other news, we are excited to share that the Mentorship Committee is moving forward with a brand new Mentorship Webinar Series! Our first webinar on April 11th kicked off the series, which we hope will engage members while providing helpful information and tips to help you make more of your business. We are thankful for Lindsay Henry from Inklings Paperie, John Smyth from A. Smyth Co., and Carlos Llansó from Legacy Publishing Group for helping to support this initiative and leading our inaugural webinar, and our Mentorship Committee (Alan Friedman, Susan January, and Carlos Llansó) for moving this initiative forward.

We are excited about the other upcoming spring events! These include, *Noted: The Greeting Card Expo (members save 20% on exhibiting space and a discounted rate to attend!), the LOUIE Celebration – Speakeasy Soirée (Be in the room when the winners are announced!), and the return of the GCA Village at UnBound. Reach out to GCA staff if you have any questions.

If you know of anyone who is considering becoming a GCA member, or if you have questions about how to get the most out of your existing membership, contact Amanda.

We look forward to hearing from you!

 

*Noted: The Greeting Card Expo

George White, Up With Paper and UWP Luxe and
John Smyth, A. Smyth Co., Event Co-Chairs

We are now just a few weeks away from the inaugural Noted: the Greeting Card Expo in Brooklyn, May 18-20. And the excitement and anticipation is building.  On behalf of my fellow Noted co-chair, John Smyth of A. Smyth Co., and all the volunteers organizing Noted, we want to thank all the exhibiting publishers and suppliers, for their participation in this first greeting card community event.

We also want to share some information, and encourage retailers and sales reps to join us for what we are rightly billing as “more than just a trade show”.  Noted is a first-of-its-kind event, with the goal of bringing together the greeting card community and giving attendees a chance to connect with one another, discover new products, and celebrate the diversity of greeting cards and the people behind them. In short, it is going to be a fun, vibrant, community-building event!

Two of the three exhibition areas at Noted are already sold out, including a dozen suppliers to our industry in a “Resource Room” which is open to publishers and retailers alike. And 56 new, small and emerging publishers will display their latest creations in a unique Gallery Lounge set up, featuring 6x3’ exhibition spaces grouped in a neighborhood format with shared meeting tables and a central lounge/bar area.  We have just a few 10x10 spaces left in the rest of the light and airy Brooklyn Expo Center if any last publishers want to join us.

A full list of exhibitors, along with other information about Noted, can be found on our website, notedexpo.org.  Please check it out regularly for an updated list of hotels, exhibitors, the full event schedule, etc.

Some of the highlights at the first Noted event include:

  • The first New @ Noted Product Awards Competition sponsored by Stationery Trends. Lots of exhibitors are using Noted to unveil new lines, as well as new designs for Christmas, and this competition will highlight the best of the best.
  • Sarah Schwartz will be presenting a trends presentation, highlighting all that’s new in particular, on Sunday morning at 10 in the Gallery Lounge. This will be a great way for retailers to kick off the show, and is the first of multiple educational sessions that will be of interest to retailers, sales reps, designers, and publishers.
  • LOUIE Award finalists will be featured in a special GCA/LOUIE booth, presented by Universal Presentation Concepts, and the LOUIE Award winners will be announced Sunday evening in a special LOUIE bash at 26 Bridge
  • The community building won’t stop when the show closes Monday at 5, because Avanti and Up with Paper have secured a local establishment for a Noted attendees only post-show party. We are hoping to add additional establishments to facilitate the first ever Noted Pub Crawl, but that might need to wait for next year.

 

Speaking of which, Noted 2020 is already in the works: it will be held at the Festival Pavilion in San Francisco, May 2-4. Not only will we learn from what we did right (and wrong) in Brooklyn to ensure Noted 2020 is even better, the big news is that Noted 2020 will be co-located with Blue Print, as the first of an annual ‘rotating’ event moving to a different city in the USA each year. Joining the two shows will enable exhibitors to see clients from all over the USA and further afield. From our discussions with buyers and visitors, it will also give them the opportunity to experience the trends, fashions and lifestyles in various parts of the USA, further building our community.

We will continue to work hard, right up until our VIP Opening Party on Saturday night, May 18, and through the closing party, to make Noted all it can be. We appreciate the partnership of publishers, suppliers, sales reps, designers, and retailers in promoting Noted to maximize participation.  Thanks for your support, and see you in Brooklyn!

 

Postal Affairs Committee Update

by Sarah Moe Meyers
Chair, Hallmark

USPS is Pushing the Envelope in Promoting Personal Correspondence by Rafe Morrissey

One of the bright spots in the engagement between the Greeting Card Association (GCA) and the United States Postal Service has been the increasingly strong relationship with the marketing team under the Direction of their Executive Director for Brand Marketing, Chris Karpenko, with the support of Chief Customer and Marketing Officer, Jakki Krage Strako.  Both have appeared at recent GCA conventions and events and over the last two years have worked with our industry to develop holiday marketing plans for greeting cards and more recently, participation in the 2018 “Thinking of You Week” with a special cancellation that appeared on more than five hundred million envelopes last September.

This special collaboration continues to grow and we have learned of several exciting programs the Postal Service is planning to help promote greeting cards and the written word. The Postal Service has committed to partnering with the GCA to schedule a re-dedication ceremony for the new “Love Stamp” at the Noted greeting card expo in May.  This will provide attendees and guests with the opportunity to see the new stamp unveiled, hear from the designer and purchase special first date of issue commemoratives.  Chris Karpenko also confirmed that the Postal Service will partner with the “Thinking of You Week” campaign again this year and will work to provide the special cancellation message in even more postal facilities throughout the country.

In addition to these activities, the Postal Service is also planning several other events to generate interest in letter and card mailing including support for a national “Letter Writing Month” campaign in April followed by special events surrounding the highly successful Hot Wheels stamps that have garnered great interest from younger audiences.  The Postal Service is planning an even more elaborate interactive campaign surrounding the John Lennon stamp that will have selected mailboxes in New York City come alive with video and audio content related to the famous singer whenever a letter with one of his stamps is deposited.

As we continue to seek a path for badly needed postal stabilization legislation through a highly dysfunctional Congress, it is useful to note that the GCA is working at every level within the postal system to improve outcomes for citizen mailers through legislative advocacy, representation before the Postal Regulatory Commission and working directly with the Postal Service.

While progress on legislation remains frustratingly slow, our relationship with the Postal Service marketing team is the strongest it has ever been.  We will continue to partner with the Postal Service to bring visibility to the emotional impact and value of greeting cards and the power of the written word and are grateful for the high level of cooperation they have provided.

 

Thinking of You Week

Co-Chairs,
Nicky Burton, Calypso and Dave Phipps, Avanti Press

As we kick off Thinking of You week 2019, we will be posting on social media ideas for when you might send a Thinking of You Card and what you might say. We’ll post specific examples of cards and a few words from the inside for each situation listed, focusing on one situation a week, and elicit responses, which could be posts, photos of videos, from followers about cards that they have sent or received in a similar situation, what they have said, how the cards made them feel. Using @thinkingofyouweekusa, #thinkingofyouweek, #sendacarddeliverasmile, #cardstories we will build an even stronger following for the 2019 campaign. You can also view a list of suggestions here.

All publishers are invited and encouraged to submit. You can post on your own social sites and share using the tags above, and/or submit a photo to us via email at thinkingofyou@gmail.com and we will post and tag you. In addition to building followers for Thinking of You Week, this will increase your own followers!

If you are interested in joining a committee, contact GCA Executive Director Peter Doherty.