32nd LOUIE Awards Committee

Hello greeting card enthusiasts!

Thanks to those of you who have already submitted your favorite cards for the 2021 LOUIE Awards.

It is great to see GCA’s long-standing members submit, as well as those who are entering for the first time.  And yes, we have extended the deadline (surprise, I know), for all of you who planned to submit, but never quite got around to it.

So, with more time to submit, I’m encouraging our members to reach out to those in your “creative circle” and share your enthusiasm for entering in the LOUIE Awards.  After all, the more creators we can get engaged in the LOUIE Awards program, the more this event will remain important to our industry.

We understand that especially in these challenging times, it is important to find more ways to bring value to LOUIE winners.  So, I’m excited about our amazing partnerships that are showing their support for our industry. Here’s a few benefits that we’ve recently announced to provide more visibility, recognition, and sales opportunities for winners!

Take a look…

Expose your designs to prestigious retail judges from Paper SourceBarnes & Noble, and more.

  • Paper Source guarantees at least one purchase order for a winning card.
  • Finalists will be announced at *Noted in front of hundreds of retailers.
  • GCA Marketplace will showcase Louie finalists and winners with direct links to buy.
  • Awards ceremony takes place at the Atlanta Market in July, with winning cards on display.
  • Faire will highlight Louie history with a landing page celebrating past winners and cards earning 2021’s top honors.
  • A digital Winner’s Kit will be available to help you promote your Louie-winning designs.

Today, February 18th is the deadline, so don’t delay!

We’ll start the judging in March… and then we’ll focus on the “big event” in July.

Stay creative, and bring a smile to someone’s day, it just take one card 😊

Mary Beth Sibert
2021 LOUIE Chair 

Membership Committee

The membership committee is excited to be off to a busy start in 2021. Your GCA membership has never been more valuable.  We are excited to bring fresh opportunities to grow your business with the new GCA Marketplace and Virtual Noted. Our popular Town Halls have been well attended with companies both big and small. Join us if you haven’t yet – it’s a great way to connect, learn tricks of the trade and just hang out with some of the friendliest and most generous folks in any industry, EVER.

A reminder… dues were due to be received by the end of January and on March 1st, memberships not renewed will end. If you’ve forgotten, have questions or concerns – reach out to us.
Please join us in welcoming the following companies who’ve come on board the GCA since the first of the year:
Alan Friedman
Membership Committee Chair

Public Affairs Committee

Democrats, Unions Risk Squandering the Best Chance for Postal Reform in a Decade

By Sarah Moe, Chair, GCA Public Affairs Committee

In the long, tortuous history of postal policy making, one constant has been that nothing is ever as easy as it should be.  That is why it took 36 years to enact the only major piece of postal legislation after the 1970 Postal Reorganization Act and why we continue to wait for Congress to fix the unintended consequences of that bill.

Theoretically, this should be the year that comprehensive postal reform legislation actually gets done.  Democrats, historically more favorably disposed to postal legislation, control both the House and Senate as well as the presidency.  Ron Johnson (R-WI), the single biggest obstacle to postal reform for the last six years as Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has been required to step down as Ranking Member.  He will be succeeded by Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) who not only has expressed a greater willingness to work on bipartisan legislation with Democrats but also has announced his retirement from Congress at the end of 2022, leaving him much freer to work across the aisle.  All stakeholders including the Postmaster General have indicated a willingness to use the legislative framework that has been pending for four years and the leaders of both the House and Senate oversight committees have indicated that postal reform is a “top priority.”

Yet, one month into the new Congressional session, no action has been taken to introduce an updated comprehensive reform bill or even convene a meeting of stakeholders to get input on what changes may be needed.  Admittedly, the unprecedented and terrifying assault on the Capitol building led to a severe disruption of the normal organization process for a new Congress.  The prospect of the second impeachment of President Trump after he is no longer in office has also caused delays of a more self-imposed nature.

Yet, with all of these challenges, postal unions and the Chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform appear to be poised to introduce an inadequate measure that was introduced as a stopgap in the last Congress in the face of insurmountable obstruction from Sen. Johnson.  That bill, sponsored by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), would simply repeal the requirement to pre-fund USPS healthcare obligations for retirees.  This action would certainly be helpful but was literally two sentences long and drafted to bypass the cumbersome regular order legislative process.  In the face of potential financial insolvency and the implementation of onerously high rate increase authority approved at the end of last year by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), it fails to provide sufficient and measurable financial relief to ensure continued 6-day universal service or predictable and affordable stamp prices.

The postal unions have promoted this bill as an effort to prime the pump for more comprehensive reform legislation.  Giving them the benefit of the doubt, the question remains why you need to prime the pump when you run the water company? The darker interpretation is that this provides an early victory for a bill the unions crafted that cannot predictably mitigate the rate increases approved by the PRC and brings no reduction in USPS costs.  For their part, the leaders of the House and Senate oversight committees risk allowing the increased politicization of the USPS last summer to overtake the process rather than laying down clear markers for comprehensive reform and beginning the difficult but necessary task of bringing stakeholders to the table to identify needs and resolve differences to preserve consensus behind an approach.  Ron Stroman, former Deputy Postmaster General and leader of the Biden Transition team on postal issues, commented that this is the best opportunity in the last decade to pass comprehensive postal reform.  If Democratic leaders in the House and Senate fail to take advantage of it, they will have no one to blame but themselves.

Workshop & Retreat Committee 

Dave Phipps, Avanti Press, Committee Chair

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.

We are looking forward to planning the 2021 Workshop & Retreat. If you’d like to be a part of the planning committee, please email gca@greetingcard.org.

If you are interested in joining any of our committees, contact gca@greetingcard.org