Picture: GCA Meet Up at NY Now, February 2020
Winter show season is in the books—and the next major greeting card event is of course Noted. More on that later, but I first want to emphasize what a great time it is to be a member of the Greeting Card Association!
There are many reasons why that is true, but I’ll give you a quick four:
1) Millennials are driving overall sales $ increases in our category, as they are purchasing more and more high dollar cards as they move into their “kin keeping” stages of marriage, children, and home-buying;
2) The Postal Service has reported that the number of greeting cards mailed has gone up four years in a row, and we remain the most valuable component of mail for USPS;
3) The threat of tariffs on greeting cards has been greatly diminished, thanks in no small part to the work of the association (special thanks to our VP of Public Affairs, Rafe Morrisey, and our Public Affairs Committee Chair, Sarah Moe, and to American Greetings and Hallmark for the funding they provide for our Public Affairs efforts); and,
4) GCA membership is at a 12-year high. With the addition of 71 new members in 2019 and another 15 accepted at our Board meeting in Atlanta, we are now up to more than 225 members!
The GCA has been and will continue to be very active in 2020:
• We just completed our first GCA Village exhibit offering in Dallas, with an immediate sell-out of the six spaces made available to members, and are looking forward to GCA Village exhibitions by GCA members at Unbound in May and NY Now in August as well. This is proving to be a very popular benefit for members, so we are negotiating to add GCA Village opportunities at more shows—all at no cost to the GCA, because these shows know our members are a draw for retailers.
• The LOUIE Awards event, honoring the best designs in our industry, will be held during Noted, just off the Expo floor. We achieved 100% Board participation in the submission process this year, and would like to get to 100% membership participation next year. Did you know that the Henries—the UK version of the LOUIE Awards—had more than 14,000 design entries last year?! Now that would be a goal worth shooting for in the US. Good luck to all those who submitted designs for consideration by our judges’ panel, and we look forward to another fantastic LOUIE event on May 1 in San Francisco.
• Noted is our event for the greeting card community, and 2020 is a pivotal year: we must show industry support at all levels (publishers, retailers, and sales reps). Our first mailing to more than 7,000 retailers, donated by exhibitor publishers and produced by some of our Associates, went out in January with a second mailing to follow in the coming weeks. Free registration for retailers and sales reps is now available at NotedExpo.org. Please encourage all fellow publishers to participate. AND encourage your retailers and your sales reps to register and attend. We need an all-hands effort in order to be successful.
• The annual Workshop & Retreat will be hosted by Avanti in Detroit, from 9/30 – 10/3. It promises excellent educational programming and lots of opportunities to connect with makers at every level of our community. Mark your calendars now, and please plan to attend.
• We also continue to host Meet-Ups in Dallas, Atlanta, and New York, so please make sure to take advantage of these free member opportunities. Whenever two or more of our community are gathered, a Meet-Up is happening—and positive outcomes are guaranteed!
We are only getting started! And remember: the more you invest in and engage with the GCA, the more you get out of it. Thank you for your membership in your GCA.
George White, GCA President