LOUIE Awards

by Fern Gimbelman, Designer Greetings
Chair, LOUIE Awards

We are looking forward to the LOUIE Celebration on May 19, 2019! If you have not done so already, save the date… This is an evening you won’t want to miss! Like all good speakeasies, we are keeping some secrets—only to be revealed the night of—but we are looking forward to seeing you there. In the meantime, we are happy to give you a recap on the LOUIE Awards judging which took place on February 5-6, in conjunction with the NSS. We had 19 judges gather together to review the LOUIE submissions. The judges, a very well-rounded group of amazing people, gave up their time and energy to participate in an intense two days of judging, resulting in our well-deserved finalists! Announcements regarding the finalists will be going out to the submitting companies first, and then, they will be made public. We thank all of those who submitted—a lot of difficult decisions had to be made!

As we do every spring, all finalists will be featured in the LOUIE Awards booth. But this year, it will be at Noted: The Greeting Card Expo in New York, with the winners being announced at the annual celebration on May 19, 2019. Join us at 26 Bridge, Brooklyn, NY! More information is coming soon. 

Membership

by Alan Friedman, Great Arrow Graphics
Chair, Membership Committee

We are excited about new membership initiatives, member renewals and upcoming events in 2019. And we hope you will be too.

As a quick reminder, the renewal season has started! If you have renewed at this point, we thank you! If you have not, please email Amanda at amanda@greetingcard.org and she will be happy to answer questions or help you to renew.

We had a wonderful time in Atlanta at our annual Networking Reception – thanks to all of the members who attended and guests that we were able to meet! It was so nice to meet everyone! The special “reveals” by President Christy Kaprosy and Vice President George White were the icing on the cake. 

Other upcoming events include *Noted: The Greeting Card Expo. Did you know that members save 20% on their exhibit space? And don’t forget the LOUIE Awards Celebration! Space is available for Noted – but not for long. 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, Amy Smyth Made It, Event Co-Chairs

Noted – The Greeting Card Expo, continues to gather momentum.  With the completion of the design of the central “Gallery”, which will feature new and emerging publishers in 6x3 exhibit spaces with shared meeting tables, and the initiation of marketing efforts, exhibit space applications and retailer registrations are accelerating.

The Noted committee has also started building the programming for the show, including a “New at Noted” trends seminar by Sarah Schwartz, a Pitch Program to enable selected exhibitors to pitch their line to retailers, reps, and distributors in the hour before the show opens, and the opening night, invitation-only party, to which each exhibitor can identify 10 retailers to be invited to this special preview of the show.

The “all-in” pricing of $1995 for GCA members for a 6x3 space in the Gallery continues to draw rave reviews, since “all in” includes not only hard walls with shelving, electric, lunch each day, water, and even a donut cart, but also a ticket to the Louie Awards Celebration on Sunday evening. If you are familiar with the package offered as part of the GCA Village project, then you’ll understand what we are trying to accomplish. We want to offer every company a simple, easy, inexpensive, hassle-free way to enjoy all of the benefits of “live” exhibits while also connecting with customers old and new.  

For further information, or to apply for exhibit space, contact Juana@greetingcard.org.

Postal Affairs Committee Update

by Sarah Moe Meyers
Chair, Hallmark

Navigating Postal Reform Through a New Congress

Usually, a new Congress provides opportunities for a fresh approach for legislative goals and new Members to educate and, hopefully, add to the ranks of supporters.  With the reversion of Congress to control by Democrats, there was an expectation that, at least in the House, there would be a much more positive environment for postal reform.  Unfortunately, the new Congress began in the midst of the longest government shutdown in history over the issue of funding for a border wall.  While the process of organizing a new Congress and populating committees always takes time, the shutdown prevented the hoped-for early focus on postal reform legislation, though there is a possibility that beneficial provisions could be included in whatever legislation is passed to fund the government on a long-term basis.

It is unclear how the current situation will be finally resolved and what opportunities may exist for any postal-related provision.  We along with allies in the mailing industry have continued to support a narrow provision to recalculate the Postal Service’s retirement obligation consistent with accounting best practices that could reduce its liability by as much as $41 billion.  Prior to the shutdown, it appeared that there was active consideration of the proposal by House Leadership.  Given the contentious nature of the current environment, however, attention to any new issues will be difficult to achieve.

Assuming action on postal related issues in whatever long-term funding bill emerges is not possible, the focus will revert to moving a full postal reform bill through the regular order process.  Feedback from key decision makers suggests they are deciding between introducing the consensus legislation from last year and tying to move it as quickly as possible, but may also consider additional issues such as new classes of service, subsidies for rural delivery and cost allocation requirements for parcels.  All of these new issues are controversial and we are urging prompt action on the consensus provisions in the existing bills.

Whatever the outcome with regard to government funding, we are prepared to hit the ground running and hope to take advantage of the desire expressed by the new leadership of the postal oversight committee in the House to make enactment of postal reform a key priority.

Meanwhile there has been some positive progress on GCA’s postal agenda.  Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Sam Graves (R-MO) have partnered once again to introduce House Resolution 54 (H. Res. 54) supporting the continuation of 6-day mail service.  Their efforts have been critical in providing support for the renewal of this critical service standard in annual appropriations legislation.  All GCA members are encouraged to contact their Member of Congress to ask them to cosponsor H. Res. 54 and we will be providing an easy method to do so in the near future.  Stay tuned!

House Resolution 54 – Postal Service should take all appropriate measures to ensure the continuation of its 6-day mail delivery service.

Dear GCA Colleagues,

Representatives Gerry Connolly (D-VA-11) and Sam Graves (R-MO-6) have partnered to introduce House Resolution 54 (H. Res. 54) directing the Postal Service to take all appropriate measures to continue 6-day mail delivery.   In the last two Congresses, Representatives Connolly and Graves have partnered and they received passage proof majorities, which helped secure 6-day delivery and renewed corresponding language in annual government funding legislation.

By reaching out to your Congressperson, you will help build support for this important resolution.  Just click here or text MAIL to 52886 to easily send a message requesting your member of congress to support H. Res. 54.

Thanks for your help!

Sarah Moe Meyers

Chair, GCA Postal Affairs Committee

Thinking of You Week

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

THINKING OF YOU WEEK
CREATE A WAVE OF HAPPINESS BY SENDING CARDS!

The GCA is excited to announce that the winner of the 2019 Thinking of You Week design contest is Elizabeth Silver, a Freelance Artist and Surface Pattern Designer from Apex, North Carolina. Read the official press release here

Send a card a day from September 23 to September 29, 2019

Thinking of You Week is a great way for retailers to draw people into the store and drive deeper engagement with the greeting card category. By reminding your customers to send a card a day you’ll be helping to generate more positive connectivity across the country – let’s create a wave of happiness in 2019!

What can retailers do?

  • Design your own Thinking of You Week store signage
  • Make a Thinking of You display using posters from our toolkit (various sizes available)
  • Schedule social media posts using imagery from publishers whose cards you sell
  • Follow and share social media content from @thinkingofyouweekusa on Instagram
  • Add Thinking of You Week banners to circulars or other in-store publications

BONUS: Get Involved in your Local Community

Here are some more great ideas:

  • Organize an in-store card writing event, or collaborate with a local coffee shop
  • Hold a card-making competition and display the winners.
  • Promote the week and your local event through social media using the social media banner in the toolkit, and to local media using the media template.
  • Hold a “Buy 3 cards and get one free” promotion.
  • Stamps for the week to make it easy for people to mail their cards.

The Greeting Card Association launched Thinking of You Week in 2018 to encourage card sending “just because” during the last week in September. With the support of the US postal service, over 500 million residences across the country saw the Thinking of You postmark on first class mail during the whole month of September, which was a great way to launch the event. The US Postal service will be joining us again in 2019. Now we need your help to make it even better!

Send a card, deliver a smile!

In an effort to keep the Thinking of You Week concept alive on a weekly basis, we are sharing content via the Instagram account (788 followers) every Tuesday for #Thinkingofyoutuesday. All GCA members are invited to contribute content. It could be specially designed or simply your existing Thinking of You card artwork– you can dm @thinkingofyouweek or email Mallory.malec@amgreetings.com.

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