32nd LOUIE Awards Committee
Mary Beth Sibert, LOUIE Awards Committee Chair
Create, Innovate, Celebrate
Honoring the best of the best! In a digital year, let’s celebrate all things paper! The LOUIE Awards honor the best of the greeting card industry–the first-class cards, the talented creators, and the innovative companies.
Criteria for the awards is based on originality, impact, design excellence, sendability, and value. Submissions are now open!
We are excited to include 3 new categories
- Celebrating Diversity & Inclusion
- Trends & Events
Special Recognition: Illustrator of the Year and Writer of the Year
Thanks to all those who have already submitted – it is exciting to see the great response we have already received. What an event this is going to be in 2021!
Just a few reminders for those who plan to submit but have not yet:
- Please visit: https://www.greetingcard.org/louie-awards/
- How to Enter:
Submit now through 1/21/2021 to avoid late submission fee. Deadline is February 4th, 2021. (All applications and card samples must arrive at GCA headquarters by February 4th)
- $70 GCA member/$100 non member
- Late entries: $85 GCA members/$125 non member
Thinking about becoming a member of the GCA? Now is a great time as the 1st LOUIE submission for new members is free!
Visit https://www.greetingcard.org/become-a-member/ to learn more about the benefits of joining the Greeting Card Association. We are a cool and creative group of people and we’d love to have you join us 😊
The judging will take place in the spring. And more to come as we determine the best way to celebrate our annual event in summer ’21.
My best to you and your family during this holiday season. Be well and stay safe,
Mary Beth Sibert
2021 LOUIE Chair
The GCA family continues to grow! Join us in welcoming all of our new members from the last few months:
Public Affairs Committee
An Obscure Federal Agency May Have Provided the Key to Postal Reform
By Sarah Moe, Chair, GCA Public Affairs Committee
Have you ever heard of the Postal Regulatory Commission? If not, unless you are a regulatory attorney or government watchdog, you’re probably not alone but this obscure agency may just have provided the key to unlocking postal reform that has been stalled in Congress for years. Unfortunately, it is a double-edged sword for the greeting card industry.
When Congress passed the last major postal reform bill in 2006, it tasked this agency with reviewing the rate cap system that law established. That review was supposed to have been completed in ten years but the agency just issued its final rule. The decision would grant the USPS the authority to raise postage rates as much as 4.5% above the Consumer Price Index rate cap. That translates into potentially much higher stamp prices for greeting card senders and an additional rate increase could come as early as March of 2021.
The Commission’s decision will almost certainly be taken to court but the odds of overturning it are long. If it stands, the decision will seek to alleviate the USPS’s volume declines by charging more for a product fewer and fewer people are willing to use. That is a recipe for disaster and inevitably will lead to further volume declines and higher rates pushing the USPS into a rapid death spiral.
So, what is the good news? Well if we know anything about Congress, it is that it only acts in the face of an emergency. The USPS was already in precarious financial condition and the COVID-19 pandemic has made it worse. The USPS estimates it will run out of funding to continue delivery as early as October of next year. While we are working to get some needed relief for the USPS in a COVID stimulus bill currently being debated, the likely amount will only delay that date of reckoning slightly. What is needed is comprehensive postal reform legislation to address the structural financial challenges the USPS faces.
That alone should provide sufficient motivation for Congress to act but the prospect of excessive rates should force some of the large mailing interests like large banks and insurance companies that have been sitting on the sidelines to get engaged. With its action, the Postal Regulatory Commission may have provided the means to get the reform effort to critical mass. Also, stamp price increases are not politically popular and with razor-thin margins in both the House and Senate, both parties will be looking for victories to claim heading into the mid-term elections. Saving the USPS, by far the most popular government institution, would not be a bad thing to have on any Member’s political resume.
Having recently endured the largest stamp price increase in history in 2019, the greeting card industry is well aware of the challenge posed by higher rates. Those increases turned around several years of card mail volume growth we had worked hard with the USPS to achieve. GCA needs no motivation to fight the prospect of unaffordable increases. We will be active in supporting challenges to the proposal in court and will continue to lead the effort to achieve meaningful and comprehensive postal reform at long last in 2021.
Workshop & Retreat Committee
Dave Phipps, Avanti Press, Committee Chair
2020 has been a year of unprecedented change. “Normal” is indefinitely disrupted and innovation is the way forward. Our interactive 2-day conference was held November 12th and 13th and was a huge success. The conference was developed to help GCA members reset, recover, and reimagine! It consisted of two-days of high octane content including: cutting-edge technology hacks to help you work smarter and not harder, pivot success stories from industry influencers, and innovative sales practices designed to inspire.
You can purchase ALL of the recorded content — 24 sessions by 22 speakers — for just $199 for GCA Members or $299 for non-members. For a full agenda, including speaker headshots and session descriptions, Click Here.
If you are interested in joining any of our committees, contact firstname.lastname@example.org