February 2018

Dear GCA Member:

Did you know that 19% of U.S. consumers surveyed by the National Retail Federation planned to buy a card for friends this Valentine’s Day? Increasingly, consumers are extending their Valentine’s Day celebrations to not only include their romantic relationships, but also their family and friends. A key driver of this trend is the growing popularity of Galentine’s Day, often celebrated on February 13. I find it interesting how consumers continue to evolve holiday celebrations, and this one in particular presents a new opportunity for our industry.

Earlier this month, NY NOW held its semi-annual tradeshow in New York City where more than 2,300 exhibitors, including 74 greeting card publishers, showcased product across home, lifestyle and handmade product categories. The show attracts buyers from big box to specialty retailers, including Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, HomeGoods and Barnes & Noble, to name a few. It’s great to see our industry continue to have meaningful representation at such high-profile events, and many GCA members are taking advantage of the opportunity to build relationships and connect with retailers.

The Executive Committee has been busy working on a new strategic plan for the GCA. We thought it was a good time to incorporate all the feedback we have been receiving from our membership and refine the priorities and member benefits for the association. I am excited to share that we are already putting this effort into action with the help of the LOUIE Awards Committee. The LOUIE Awards program, our annual celebration of industry excellence, is scheduled to take place on May 20 in New York City. We have made some changes this year in an effort to make the event more interactive, and affordable, and highlight the truly celebratory nature of the occasion. This year’s event will be hosted at a new venue called SPiN and follow a new format. Attendees will be encouraged to mingle throughout the space, network, and even play ping pong while LOUIE award winners will be announced throughout the evening.  And the cost of tickets has decreased significantly. Please help me spread the word about this exciting change and help encourage those in your network to attend. With your help, I am confident this will be a major success, so please give the event your consideration and buy tickets early! Tickets are expected to go on sale in early March. Look for an announcement soon. I promise it will be fun.

Finally, in order to highlight the benefits of sending greeting cards, the GCA will be promoting Thinking of You Week, which occurs during the last week of September. The goal of the week is to encourage consumers to send Thinking of You cards throughout the week to their family and friends so they can experience the positive feelings that result from sending handwritten cards. We hope to continue this tradition that was started by the UK GCA and build excitement for the week in the U.S. Be sure to keep an eye out for updates in future newsletters on how you can get involved with Thinking of You Week, and check out www.thinkingofyouweek.cards/ to see how retailers, publishers and consumers celebrated Thinking of You Week in the UK. Many thanks to Nicky Burton for introducing this idea to the Executive Committee and to the Communications/PR Committee for helping make this event come to life in the U.S.

Wishing you all the best,

Christy Kaprosy