Workshop & Retreat Committee
The 2021 Workshop & Retreat will be held virtually this year on September 9th & 10th. This year’s theme is “See What Unfolds” After the many challenges wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses are emerging to new realities, new business practices, and new models of how we connect, communicate, work, and live. What does that mean for the stationery and greeting card industry?
From the founders and makers at small independent publishers to the leaders of global companies with thousands of employees, our audience brings a diverse perspective on the art and business of making greeting cards from across the country.
We try to balance content that assists both individual makers just getting started and veteran companies facing their own set of challenges. One thing we all have in common is a love of paper and a dedication to fostering connections through greeting cards: a product which we believe has increasing relevance in a world over-crowded with communication tools.
More information including registration, pricing, and more will be announced in the next few weeks.
Interested in presenting at the Workshop & Retreat? Our Call for Presentations is open until July 1, 2021! Apply Here
Workshop & Retreat Committee Chair
Public Affairs Committee
The Requirement for an Integrated 6-Day Delivery Network in Postal Reform is Just Plain Common Sense
By Rafe Morrissey, Vice President, Public Affairs for the Greeting Card Association
At last, Congress is moving long overdue postal reform legislation to address the most pressing financial liabilities that have hobbled the USPS since the enactment of the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA). While well-intentioned, PAEA has led to untenable rate increases and service cuts that have driven away customers, and thus, further reduced the USPS’s incoming revenues. Congress must enact the 2021 Postal Service Reform Act to reverse the unintended consequences of the 2006 law and stabilize the USPS.
One of the sections of the proposed Act, section 202, calls for a minimum of six days of delivery via an integrated delivery network. This is the first time a permanent requirement for six-day delivery has been included in postal reform legislation and came as a result of efforts by the GCA to craft language and develop support for it from the mailing industry and postal unions. This commonsense policy is reflective of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s belief that the best opportunities for the USPS include taking advantage of the scope and scale of its network and providing key competitive advantages to meet customer expectations. Anyone who questions the merits of this provision should ask whether it makes sense to have two different vehicles go to the same address—one to deliver mail and the other to drop off a package—when both could be delivered in a single trip.
Since the early 1980’s Congress has annually passed appropriations legislation requiring six-day delivery for mail. For most of that time, it has been non-controversial except for a period in 2013-2014 when the USPS proposed to unilaterally abolish Saturday mail service in defiance of the requirement. A subsequent review of the proposal by the USPS’s regulator determined that the savings from eliminating a delivery day were overblown and much more volume would be lost as a result. Since that time, Representatives Gerry Connolly and Sam Graves have partnered on resolutions supporting six-day delivery that have exceeded passage-proof margins in the House in the last three Congresses.
During the same period, parcel volumes in the mail have grown consistently and, in fact, exploded as a result of the pandemic. The USPS has provided six, seven, and in some cases same-day service for parcels without objection. Given these volume trends, more and more addresses are receiving one or more parcels each day. Section 202 merely attempts to address the reality of customer expectations and the inherent efficiency in using one vehicle to deliver mail and packages to an address instead of two wherever possible.
Nothing in the language of the section would prevent the USPS from establishing annexes to deal with holiday surges in packages – those would be welcomed by mailers whose service suffered because their mail was denied entry into processing facilities due to the surge of packages last holiday season. Instead, the provision would ensure that when it comes to vehicle design and other logistical decisions, the USPS is encouraged to maximize the economy of scale in delivering mail and packages together.
Research shows that marginal costs are far lower on letter routes than parcel-only routes. Joint delivery would reduce the underutilization of letter routes due to declining mail volume. Moreover, dedicated parcel routes have been shown to exceed contributions when joint delivery would be cost-effective.
Section 202 is a valuable addition to the Postal Service Reform Act and should be enacted into law. The USPS cannot afford to miss opportunities to pursue the most efficient method of delivering all products entered into the system. Furthermore, no product merits a higher frequency of service than overall volume can support. Mail volume may continue to decline but parcel volumes will grow, and mail is still the largest contributor of volume and revenue and will continue to be a major source of desirable content in the system for years to come. If the USPS determines that parcel volumes merit six- and seven-day delivery, there is no reason mail should not be delivered with them.
Thinking of You Week Committee
Nicky Burton, Calypso Cards, Committee Chair
The 4th annual Thinking of You Week takes place September 20th -26th, 2021. As members of the greeting card industry, we play a special role in helping our customers send a little love. This is our chance to reach out directly to our consumers to encourage them to send a card a day for a week, just to let someone know they are thinking of them. Thinking of You Week supports retailers and publishers by providing free materials, social media exposure, and coordinating with USPS to promote our annual week-long event celebrating greeting cards. See what is available at www.thinkingofyouweekusa.com. You can help get the word out to retailers by sending postcards with orders over the summer. We also have posters for retailers to display that you can also send out with orders. Just fill in this link and tell us how many postcards and posters you would like – we have lots, especially postcards so don’t be shy – and they are free, we just ask that you cover the cost of shipping.
Other opportunities to get involved include weekly instagram giveways from mid July through early September, culminating in one jackpot package – please email email@example.com if you would like to participate or for more info.
Also, there is a Gallery on the website where you can post your own Thinking of You Week cards and link to your website or the Marketplace for purchase. This is great opportunity to drive sales! You can submit your cards for the Gallery here.
If you are interested in joining any of our committees, contact firstname.lastname@example.org