The 2017 LOUIE Awards Promise “A Universe of Wonders”
The LOUIE Awards Call for Entries is open! Enter your cards by December 16th. Don’t miss out!
Card Talk spoke recently with Nicole Hite, chair, 2017 LOUIE Awards and vice president, Creative Studios, Hallmark Cards, Inc.
CT: Tell us about this year’s theme, “A Universe of Wonders”
NH: With the theme, “A Universe of Wonders,” we wanted to highlight the brightest stars in our industry – both large and small. It’s a modern and futuristic twist on space and ‘bright lights’ within the cosmos. It’s a bit conceptual for sure – like stars ‘connect’ to form constellations in the sky, greeting cards help people ‘connect’ with one another in our own universe.
CT: What’s new this year?
NH: We have a new “Birthday – Small Company” category (five or fewer employees) to recognize the work of smaller companies that may be starting out – or who may have been working in this industry for years and have chosen to stay small and focused on their craft. Many of these smaller companies develop a focused and specialized point of view – and innovate with spectacular results. In some cases, due to their small size, these companies can pursue projects or a point-of-view that larger companies cannot. With this new category, we wanted to create an opportunity to highlight these small companies in a big way.
CT: Why should companies participate?
NH: The LOUIEs celebrate innovation and excellence – and our panel of judges throughout the industry evaluates each card with a critical eye. It’s a great way to recognize your company and the creators. Most greeting cards are celebrated ‘one-to-one’, from giver to receiver. It’s fun to turn the tables and celebrate those who make them. Participating in the LOUIE’s can also be a great marketing tactic. I’ve seen several in-store displays in which publishers and retailers recognize LOUIE award finalists and winners at the point of sale. I love the idea of being able to send someone an industry recognized, award-winning greeting card.
CT: Does winning a LOUIE increase sales and/or awareness?
NH: The short answer is “yes.” You can share your LOUIE Award on social media; in trade media, within your own brand/marketing touch points – even in-store displays. Buyers and retailers recognize the excellence and artistry that a LOUIE represents.
CT: What are you most excited about?
NH: For me, chairing the LOUIEs has been exciting because I have the opportunity to meet people throughout the industry that I may not have the opportunity to in my job: from suppliers and retailers to other publishers. It’s become obvious to me that the greeting card industry attracts a group of high caliber, creative people. Their willingness to work together and support each other in support of our shared industry is phenomenal. Being a part of this year’s LOUIE awards has been a wonderful creative outlet and experience – enhanced further by the great people who make up the committee/team.
Our goal is to receive 1,000 LOUIE Award entries. If your company has yet to enter the “Oscars of the Greeting Card Industry,” I encourage you to enter the LOUIEs by December 16.
See you on the Red Carpet!
This Buyer Turns to LOUIE for Quality Cards
When Winnie St. Pierre, a buyer for Papier Plume, a fine stationery and writing instrument shop in New Orleans, wanted to overhaul the shop’s greeting card selection, she turned to LOUIE.
“I attended the National Stationery Show this year and was overwhelmed with the selection,” said St. Pierre. She was introduced to the LOUIEs at the GCA’s display of LOUIE finalists and that introduction gave her an initial idea of the kind of quality she wanted to stock in the store.
“I was looking for the quality of the card – the stock, design, illustration and sentiment — because at the end of the day, consumers are looking for a greeting card’s emotional impact,” said St. Pierre. The different price points of the LOUIE Awards were of great interest to St. Pierre and gave her an idea of the range of cards that are available. “Price doesn’t always correlate with quality and the LOUIE display presented several options,” she said.
While St. Pierre didn’t leave the show with any LOUIE finalist cards, she made note of the publishers. Not long after she returned from the Show, Patrick Rideau, Papier Plume’s owner, decided to open a shop specializing in greeting cards and gift wrap because he noticed that people of all ages were coming into his shop for greeting cards and he wanted to cater specifically to that “card-buying consumer.”
And where did St. Pierre turn when she had an opportunity (and a need) to buy more cards?
“After Patrick decided to open a second shop (Color), we had an opportunity (and a need) to buy more cards,” she said. “I went back to the finalists I saw at the LOUIE display.”
“The publishers I saw in the LOUIE display absolutely came to mind when I began to buy more cards,” said St. Pierre. “Instead of aimlessly wandering the Internet, I used the LOUIEs as a resource. LOUIE winner Chase and Wonder created a card geared to the LGBTQ market. “Through that card, I experienced the whole line of Chase and Wonder cards,” said St. Pierre.
So the next time you’re in New Orleans, home of great music, great dining (and a large letterpress community), visit Color.
Big Ideas in the Big Easy
Thank you to members who attended GCA’s 75th annual Convention in New Orleans. We couldn’t have offered such a great line-up of presenters and activities without the generous support of our sponsors.