LOUIE Awards 2020

Mary Beth Sibert, LOUIE Awards Committee Chair

The 32nd LOUIE Awards honor the tradition of celebrating the makers, the artists, the writers and the craftspeople who are passionate about bringing innovative greeting cards to the world. 

Get ready, as we’ll be opening the “call for entries” in early November.

NEW categories we are excited to celebrate this year:

  • Celebrating Diversity & Inclusion
    • Cards for an increasingly diverse, unique, and wonderful world.
  • Trends & Events
    • Cards that reflect the current times, trends, and events.
  • Special Recognition:
    • 2020 Illustrator of the Year
    • 2020 Writer of the Year

Our Industry understands the power of a greeting card.  It can turn a frown into a smile, a regular day into a happy day or special occasion into a cherished memory.  In a world where so much is uncertain, one thing remains clear: greeting cards can do amazing things.

Let’s make this year’s celebration one of the best. And it starts with you, as each submission is a tribute to the creativity of our industry!

Keep an eye on the GCA/LOUIE website to learn more about entering your submissions and the discount for early entry.

More to come on the LOUIE event, which will be held in July, 2020.

Thinking of You Week 2020

Nicky Burton, Calypso Cards, Subcommittee Chair

Many thanks to everyone who contributed to the success of Thinking of You Week 2020! We increased our Instagram followers by around 400 and to over 2,100. We saw stores and individuals around the country participating and sharing. Paper Source supported the week with promotions and posters, and the U.S.P.S. postmark has been in effect for the month of September. Keep an eye out for this video coming to a Post Office screen near you, thanks to American Greetings. Thinking of You Week is boost to what we all do – help people connect through sending greeting cards, and an opportunity every year for our industry to shine. We welcome anyone who would like to join in the 2021 campaign! 

Workshop & Retreat Committee 

Dave Phipps, Avanti Press, Committee Chair

GCA is offering 24 sessions designed for greeting card makers during its two-day Virtual Workshop & Retreat to be held November 12th and 13th. While the greeting card category is experiencing resurgence at retail during the current pandemic, the many unexpected challenges are causing publishers to pivot and approach doing business in new and innovative ways.

“The Workshop is designed to bring the industry together not only to celebrate greeting cards but to impart tangible strategic lessons that help publishers solve problems unique to our industry,” according to Dave Phipps from Avanti Press, 2020 workshop chairperson. “We surveyed our membership, and built sessions based on their feedback to provide insights into the industry but also training in technology, collaboration, social media, and more.”

Sessions from Hallmark, the United States Postal Service, Paper Source, Faire.com and Brandwise will help attendees build a well-rounded view of industry trends and future directions.

Other highlights include:

  • behind-the-scenes pivot stories from publishers;
  • a virtual tour with an independent retailer;
  • a conversation on diversity, inclusion, and marketing;
  • working with sales representatives;
  • the sustainability of greeting cards;
  • digital to print;
  • e-commerce, and more.

To maintain the community-focused “Retreat” aspect of the annual event, attendees are also invited to share networking opportunities include a cocktail mixing class and restorative yoga, plus an optional, add-on virtual cheese-tasting (with real cheese!). A special edition swag box will be sent prior to the Workshop to all publishers who register prior to November 3rd.

Register now.

Public Affairs

by Sarah Moe
GCA Chair, Public Affairs Committee

The USPS’s Ability to Deliver Election Mail Isn’t Threatened, but Its Existence Is 

By Sarah Moe, Chair, GCA Public Affairs Committee 

To paraphrase Winston Churchill, never in the field of political debate has Congress responded to an issue so important to so many by doing so little. For years, postal stakeholders have been urging Congress to address the rapidly deteriorating finances of the Postal Service by acting on a bill negotiated between unions, mailers, and USPS management that has the potential for unprecedented support from all quarters. Those pleas fell on deaf ears even as USPS officials predicted that years of balance sheet losses would finally result in a lack of funds to continue delivery next year.  

At first, the COVID crisis looked like it could move up the insolvency date before the end of this year and perhaps, would motivate Congress to act on the comprehensive reform bill. Unfortunately, higher than expected parcel revenue masked huge losses in mail volume, providing enough revenue to keep the mail flowing through the end of this year. Congressional Leadership decided not to pursue a big fix and instead has bickered over whether to provide USPS the relief that every other agency, business, and individual has gotten for COVID losses in a series of multi-trillion relief bills enacted over the spring and summer.   

Persistent efforts and grassroots engagement from GCA and all quarters of the mailing community have been successful in garnering a $10 billion loan for the USPS and momentum is building for converting the loan to a grant and expanding the amount to as much as $25 billion. Postal aid has been a particular challenge with Republicans but in the last three months we have moved from a handful of vocal supporters to 52 Senate and 26 House Republicans voting to support emergency funding, yet none of those bills have been enacted.  

Then in August, the USPS became the focus of unprecedented national attention over claims that the newly hired Postmaster General, Louis DeJoy, was intentionally undermining the system to prevent successful voting by mail. In reality, all he did was implement existing plans to address mail processing flaws reported by the USPS inspector general that caused $25.8 billion in excess overtime costs in the last five years. Nevertheless, an aggressive campaign in the media to advance those charges has resulted in three Congressional hearings and legislation to block the cost-cutting measures.  

At no point during this period have the systemic financial problems of the Postal Service received any serious attention and while the bill to block DeJoy’s efficiency program bypassed the oversight Committee to go straight to the House floor, the only postal bill that Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney has brought up in her Committee is one to limit the field of potential Postmaster General candidates. The avoidance of the underlying problem cannot continue.  

Despite what has been reported in the press, there is no evidence to support the notion that USPS cannot process election mail this November. There is more than enough processing capacity to deliver ballots to and from voters as long as election officials factor in USPS delivery standards and set realistic deadlines. What is uncertain is how long USPS will be able to deliver at all in 2021. Even with the COVID loan USPS has received, it estimates it will run out of operational funds at the end of next year. The date of reckoning could come even sooner if the economy falters. Given how long it takes to set up a new Congress after an election, that leaves perilously little time to accomplish comprehensive postal reform.  

There are indications that postal champions in Congress like Senator Tom Carper and Representative Gerry Connolly are moving to resume efforts on comprehensive reform. This is welcome news, but the leaders of the House and Senate oversight committees and Republican and Democratic Leadership must set aside narrow political interests and help them pass meaningful, comprehensive, and long-lasting postal reform.  

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