Noted: the Greeting Card Expo
by John Smyth & George White
As we wrap up 2019 and move to 2020, the Noted Committee is continuing to move forward with two goals: getting the most retailers to Noted 2020 in San Francisco and bringing the best product to the event floor. To attract retailers, the committee has collected more than 10,000 retailer mailing addresses donated by members. A Noted greeting card mailer, printed and fulfilled by the wonderful people at JS McCarthy and in an envelope from Leader Paper will be in retailers’ mailboxes before the end of the year. We have also been very active on Instagram, attracting close to 2,000 followers and registering more than 50 new retailers and reps through direct messages. The marketing committee already has a very cool idea for the winter mailing: scratch-off sweepstakes!
To attract the best product the committee has added great retailers to the Pitch Program for 2020, including Daisy’s Mercantile, Paper E Clips, Daniel Richards, Paper Source, and Papyrus, with several more on deck. Publishers should sign up for exhibit space soon; the floor is 65% sold out, and we will be selecting Pitch Program participants following a January 31st cut-off for exhibit applications. Email Juana Anderson (email@example.com) to secure your spot!
by Sarah Moe
Chair, GCA Public Affairs Committee
Public Policy Opportunities Abound for Greeting Card Mailers This Holiday Season
As we enter the most active period of the year for greeting card senders, there are also positive developments on a number of public policy fronts that offer them potential benefits. In the regulatory/legal arena, greeting card mailers got something extra to be grateful for this Thanksgiving when the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit panel reaffirmed its decision approving the appeal by Doug Carlson against the nickel price increase imposed on the forever stamp in a request for reconsideration brought by the Postal Service. This leaves the Postal Service with an appeal to the Supreme Court unlikely to be successful as the only option to overturn the decision. Mr. Carlson is still evaluating the Postal Regulatory Commission decision in its review of the 2019 rates and a current process underway to consider rates for 2020. GCA is considering options for a complaint against the 2019 rates to further challenge the huge increase imposed on the stamp relative to other postal rates. What is certain is that there will be no further increases in stamp prices next year and a good opportunity to further ensure fair treatment for the individual citizen mailer.
Greeting card sending will also get another boost from a new holiday marketing plan from the Postal Service for the holiday season that will be launching soon. The plan will include a mix of mail, social media and Web influencers messaging on the positive impact sending and receiving cards has during the holidays. GCA will be working with the Postal Service to help spread the word on social media, so be on the lookout for more information and consider sharing these materials with your own networks when you receive them.
On the legislative front, we are anticipating introduction soon of a new postal reform bill that would substantially improve the financial stability of the Postal Service. Also pending is a bill to eliminate the unsustainable prefunding requirement for retiree healthcare costs that has led to growing balance sheet losses that have driven pressure for higher rates. Getting any legislation through in the current environment dominated by impeachment will be a huge challenge, however, Congress is in need of legislative accomplishments to deliver heading into election season. We will be working to generate as much bipartisan support for these measures to convince Congressional leaders to incorporate them into a larger legislative package at the end of the year. You can express your support for commonsense postal reform by texting GCA2019 to 52886. Please take a few minutes to support this much-needed legislation.
We are also hopeful that there will be progress on resolving the issue of tariffs on greeting cards imported from China set to commence on December 15, 2019. Numerous reports indicate that progress is being made on a phase-1 trade agreement between the U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators. Timing for finalization of this deal is still uncertain but could come in meetings planned in December. The Chinese are clearly urging a delay in the December 15th tariffs and it is hoped that it will be granted if the Phase -1 agreement is successfully completed. In the meantime, the process for companies to seek exclusions for their products has been finalized and the window for submitting requests will begin shortly after the implementation date. Be on the lookout for a Webinar that will provide information on how to submit these requests very soon.
LOUIE Awards 2020
by Amanda Bignall
The cutoff date for the 2020 LOUIE Awards is approaching fast! As a holiday treat, we’re going to give away two free submissions in the New Year. Simply complete the crossword puzzle found here and submit by January 1st, 2020 to firstname.lastname@example.org. A lucky winner will be randomly selected and notified by January 8th, 2020.
Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor!
If you are interested in joining any of our committees, contact GCA Executive Director Peter Doherty.