June 2019

Dear GCA Member:

As the current Vice President of the GCA, to be installed as president at our Workshop Retreat in Naples in September (register now!), I am excited to pen my first (soon-to-be) President column for Card Talk.  And what a great time to be the incoming president: thanks to the addition of more than 40 (!) new members who exhibited at Noted in Brooklyn, the GCA now has more members than it has had in more than a decade.

Noted was a signature accomplishment for the GCA: a group of volunteers with a small staff put together a thoroughly professional, unique, and industry-defining event in less than a year, which came off with minimal operational issues and mostly happy, satisfied participants.  There are certainly things we can improve on for Noted 2020 in San Francisco (2019 exhibitors can apply for exhibit space now!), but as the first event developed for the greeting card community by the community, it was quite a success.

Noted did an amazing job impacting so many facets of our mission:

  • Celebrating, promoting and preserving the tradition of sending greeting cards – The combination of Noted with the LOUIE Awards hit a home run here
  • Providing meaningful opportunities for information exchange and business development – While we would have liked to have had more retailers in Brooklyn (and we will in San Francisco with a full year of promotion and without the competition of another significant show in the region) Noted facilitated tremendous interaction and communication between the exhibitors, suppliers, and retailers in attendance. The retailers that did attend spent many hours, if not both days, at Noted, going from publisher to publisher with the time for meaningful exchange—highlighted by the retailers and publishers who participated in the incredibly impactful Pitch Program. The same meaningful exchanges were also happening all over the floor between publishers, and between publishers and suppliers. It was a beautiful thing so see.
  • Updating members about trends and issues that might impact the industry and their business – The terrific educational sessions, highlighted by an informative panel about how to work with Sales reps and groups and the panel on women’s empowerment, updated members on key issues that impact our business. We will have an expanded educational program in 2020—and it will take place adjacent to the selling floor, not in the middle of it (feedback; we need it and we listen to it!)
  • Representing the industry before government/regulatory agencies – The Postal Service chose Noted for a stamp dedication, and had a space throughout the show to educate retailers and publishers on their services, and we also used the opportunity to inform membership, through the Board meeting, of the potential impact of tariffs, and what the GCA is doing to present the industry’s case against them

The feedback on Noted, while not perfect, has been overwhelmingly positive, and we have learned a lot to make Noted 2020 even better, mainly by driving more independent retailer attendance.  Which takes me back to my first comment:  More members means we have more potential volunteers to help the GCA better pursue our mission. As indicated, Noted is a community-driven event, and we need all of us in the community to participate in building the Noted brand into a “must attend” event for publishers and retailers alike, and a centerpiece for the GCA’s leadership position in the industry. Please contact me or the GCA team to let us know how you would like to help achieve that goal.

Thank you in advance for your support. See you in Naples—if not before or during the summer show season!

Kind Regards,
George White
Up With Paper and UWP Luxe