by David Wilke, Vice-Chair
Leader Paper Products
Associates Committee Opportunities at the Annual Convention
2019 brings an array of trade shows and expos to sell your products and get in front of buyers. Below is just a brief list:
Kicking off the Year is America’sMart Atlanta™, from January 8-15. If you’re exhibiting at America’s Mart, be sure to join the GCA on Friday, January 11 for an after-the-show drink – and hear an update on the LOUIE Awards Bash, held in conjunction with Noted: The Greeting Card ExpoTM
Head West to Las Vegas Mart™, from January 27 – 31. This annual show is growing in popularity.
Back on the East Coast, exciting changes are ahead for the National Stationery Show™, with its co-location with the NY NOW™ winter market at the Javits Center in New York City, starting in 2019. The show will run from February 3-6. Back for a third year – and by popular demand – is the GCA Village, a great way to have an affordable, easy presence at the show: the GCA builds the exhibit – and Villagers (aka GCA members) and buyers will come. At the time this article was published, only 10 spaces remained – at the affordable price of $1,375.00. A BIG thank you to GCA Associate Member Universal Presentation Concepts for creating this wonderful Village! For more information, contact Executive Director, Peter Doherty.
And staying on the East Coast, come on over to the Brooklyn Expo Center next May for the GCA’s new show, Noted: The Greeting Card ExpoSM. This new show, sponsored by the GCA, is being developed for the card community, by the card community. And cards are its sole focus. This event is all about the card community. Read more about Noted.
Postal Affairs Committee Update
by Sarah Moe Meyers, Chair
The United States Postal Service is Thinking of You as the GCA Strengthens the Working Relationship
By the time you read this, you should have received at least one piece of mail with the “Thinking of You” postmark. This is the result of the latest in a long line of collaborative initiatives between the Greeting Card Association and the United States Postal Service. For the entire month of September, the Postal Service created this unique postmark for every piece of First Class stamped mail throughout its network to help promote the GCA’s “Thinking of You Week” campaign (September 24-30). Modeled after the United Kingdom GCA’s “Thinking of You Week” campaign that began five years ago, the U.S. GCA brought it across the pond and invited the USPS to participate.
While the GCA always has worked to foster positive relations with Postal Service management, under the leadership of Postmaster General Megan Brennan, we have experienced an enormously positive and productive working relationship with the USPS marketing team. Last year, the GCA was invited to participate in a series of meetings to explore cooperative marketing opportunities for the holiday season that culminated in the development of an integrated web and social media marketing program which was made available to all GCA members.
This year, the USPS marketing team led by Jaqueline Krage Strako, Acting Chief Customer and Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President along with Chris Karpenko, Executive Director for Brand Marketing, is once again preparing a holiday campaign in consultation with the GCA for the 2018 season. Ms. Strako attended the GCA convention and shared preliminary details of this program.
As we continue to seek a path for badly needed postal stabilization legislation through a highly dysfunctional Congress, it is useful to note that the GCA works at every level within the USPS to improve the system for citizen mailers through legislative advocacy, representation before the Postal Regulatory Commission and working directly with USPS leadership.
While progress on legislation remains frustratingly slow, our relationship with the USPS is the strongest it has ever been. We will continue to partner with the USPS to bring visibility to the emotional impact and value of sending greeting cards. The confirmation of new members of the Postal Service Board of Governors this past August and restoring the Board to functional status for the first time in more than a year will enable us to explore new opportunities to add value for greeting card mailers.
GCA Launches LOUIE “Speakeasy” to Celebrate the Best of the Best
by Fern Gimbelman, Designer Greetings
Chair, LOUIE Awards
I’m excited to chair the LOUIE Committee this year – and even more excited to tell you that the call for entries is open. We’ve already received submissions and look forward to seeing this year’s entries. The Early Bird Deadline has been extended to November 16 (the deadline for submissions is January 7, 2019). I encourage you to submit your cards today– with 56 categories, there’s one (or more than one!) that’s right for you.
We will celebrate the best of the best, speakeasy style, in conjunction with the Noted: The Greeting Card Expo event in Brooklyn on Sunday evening, May 19, 2019. In addition, our eagerly anticipated LOUIE finalist display will return, but in a new location for 2019, as we share this year’s group of finalists at the Brooklyn Expo Center.
Our LOUIE Committee has been formed for 2019, and we would appreciate more volunteers! If you would like to lend your talents and expertise to help us create a memorable evening, please contact Amanda Bignall, Awards and Membership Manager.
Stay tuned for more news and details via your in-box, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Like and follow us @LOUIEawards and @usagca!
We look forward to celebrating the industry’s creativity and craftsmanship with you at the 30th Annual LOUIE Awards on May 19, 2019!
Communications and PR Committee Update
by Dave Phipps, Chair
Thank You to Thinking of You Week Participants; Planning Underway for 2019
Thanks to all of you who participated in Thinking of You Week and helped to make it such a success. Instagram was where most of our activity was, with almost 800 followers and over 2,000 posts between the U.K. and the U.S. associations. Thanks also to GCA Associate members J.S. McCarthy and Neenah Paper for printing the Thinking of You Week postcards we distributed to publishers to include with their orders to help spread the word. And finally, thanks to the USPS for its special postmark that it included on all first-class, stamped mail (1/2 a BILLION pieces of mail) during the entire month of September.
To keep the momentum around Thinking of You Week going, we will continue to post on our social media accounts throughout the year. And to continue posting great content for our followers, we would greatly appreciate if you could provide at least five images for social media content, so we have enough content to post at least once per week throughout the year. The images can be anything, from a hand-lettered Thinking of You prompt (It’s Thinking of You Tuesday!, Send a card, deliver a smile, Handwritten = heartfelt, Who in your life needs a quick pick me up? Who in your life needs a word of encouragement?, etc.) to “thinking of you” cards in which we can tag your company/artists. If possible, files should be jpegs and sized to meet the following dimensions for each of the social platforms:
- 1,200 x 630 pixels
- 1080 x 1080 pixels
- 440 x 220 pixels
Please provide images by November 16, to firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, please provide your company’s/artist’s social handles so we can tag and credit the artwork/cards. Be sure to follow us at @thinkingofyouweek & @USAGCA (Instagram), @GreetingCardAssociationUSA (Facebook) and @USGCA (Twitter) to see your images posted!
Finally, please share this opportunity with anyone who might like to participate.
We’re looking forward to an even bigger and better Thinking of You Week next year!
Annual Convention Committee
GCA Rocks Cleveland
Wow. Opportunities sure rocked in Cleveland during the GCA’s 77th Annual Convention (“Opportunity Rocks”). Nearly 100 attendees – including first-timers and members who recently joined the GCA — gathered for two and a half days of dynamic programming, a behind-the-scenes tour of the American Greetings World Headquarters, and some legendary GCA fun and hospitality. Hats off to Convention Chair Alana Campana (American Greetings) and Convention Co-Chair Lawrence Yeh (Paper Pop Cards).
And if you didn’t make it to Cleveland, you missed hearing “Why your Brand Isn’t for Everyone” from Victoria Venturi, founder, Paper Epiphanies”. Attendees learned some great strategies for effective brainstorming from Samantha Stead and Brian Dorval, at Think First Serve. And for the second year in a row, senior leadership from the USPS presented at Convention.
A BIG we-couldn’t-have-done-it-without-you THANK YOU to all of our publisher and Associate sponsors (Diamond: American Greetings and Hallmark; Platinum: DaySpring and Papyrus/Recycled Paper Greetings; Gold: Designer Greetings and Leanin’ Tree; Silver: Universal Presentation Concepts; Bronze: Avanti, Birchcraft Studios by DFS and Fixture Resource Group).
Learn more key take-aways from the GCA Annual Convention in upcoming issues of Card Talk, on social media, and on www.greetingcard.org.
Plans are underway for the 78th Convention in Naples, Florida. Our committee is forming now. If you’re interested in joining to help shape this wonderful annual event, contact GCA’s Meetings Director, Julie Elfand.
If you are interested in joining a committee, contact GCA Executive Director Peter Doherty.