Welcome New Members

We briefly welcomed some new members in the last issue of Card Talk — but here’s some information you might not know about our new members…..

Sugar Paper (Los Angeles)- Chelsea Shukov 

CT: Tell us about your company.

In 2003, we started tinkering with a letterpress and helping our friends put beautiful paper in the mail. As each Bespoke piece was sent, more and more people inquired. So more and more stationery was made.

At a time when the world was steadfastly headed online, we took a risk and stayed focused on building our business offline, making beautiful, tangible things by hand that would far outweigh anything in the digital space. And thanks to you, the beauty of the handmade, of real paper, of letter writing, is appreciated now more than ever.

Today, Sugar Paper is found in thousands of stores in the United States and around the world, in shops big and small. Sugar Paper can be found at our Brentwood shop in the historic Country Mart, in our first international shop-in-shop at Harrods London and soon at our first out of town shop in beautiful Newport Beach. As we grow and branch out and expand our brand, the Bespoke commitment that was put in place with those very first orders remains the foundation of our business. It’s why we dot every “i” and cross every “t” and go back and do it again and again. It’s why we still find ourselves in the studio most mornings, alongside our team, checking the paper and taking risks.  We believe love is in the details.

CT: What’s your role?

Jamie Grobecker and I are the co-founders and creative directors of Sugar Paper.

CT: Why did you become a GCA member?

We became GCA members after attending the GCA Convention last year.  We were asked to share our story as a speaker and it was our first time participating in a GCA Convention.  We met so many like-minded people and learned a ton so we decided to join and very much look forward to attending the Convention again this year in San Diego.

CT: Can you share one of your best time-saving tips?

My best time-saving tip is to build a great team of people and learn to trust them to take over pieces of the business.  Building a brand takes a village and there is no way to do it alone.

Read more about Sugar Paper here.

Amy Biggers Design, LLC. (New Jersey)- Amy Biggers 

CT: Tell us about yourself!

I’m an illustrator, graphic designer and art director concentrating on product design.  Although my artwork has been licensed on dinnerware, home goods, paper products and fabric, my main love has always been designing greeting cards.   I have quite a few art styles and will pull in other artists as necessary to convey the message.  I have won three LOUIEs and am so thankful to my card company.

As a card designer, I try to empathize details that will appeal to both the sender and the recipient.  What does the sender, shopping for cards, see that is special and resonates with them?  What does the recipient see immediately upon opening the envelope and what is the delight in the artwork?  How can I convey a message that will have meaning for both these people?  Solving visual puzzles is fun and challenging for me.

CT: Why did you become a GCA member?

I think it’s really great that the GCA has begun allowing artist members. I joined for a few reasons: 1) I’m hoping to advocate for greeting card artists, sharing my opinion on issues when needed.  2) I’m  hoping to help promote greeting cards in general.  I have a passion for them.

CT: What inspires you? 

People. They are so funny.

I think the promotion of greeting cards is a noble cause. A beautifully-rendered greeting card can foster inter-generational communication, creative self-expression, literacy and civility.  Cards provide a lovely tangible way for people to talk to each other.  In a hurried, rude world, they can reinforce our love and respect for one another.  How could I resist being part of this effort?

Read more about Amy Biggers Designs here.

Congratulations to GCA Member, J.S. McCarthy Printers

PINE, the largest trade association serving printing and graphic communications companies throughout New England, honored J.S. McCarthy Printers at its recent New England Regional awards of Excellence Competition.

J.S. McCarthy won 12 Pinnacle Awards (Best of Category), three Awards of Recognition, and three Awards of Merit. In addition, J.S. McCarthy won the Best Use of Paper Award as well as the Judge’s Choice Award.

A panel of judges with extensive experience in printing and print production reviewed the entries; each entry was judged anonymously on its own merit in a category with similar printed pieces. Judging criteria included: registration, clarity and neatness, sharpness of halftones and line drawings, richness and tonal qualities of color, paper and ink selection, ink coverage, difficulty of printing, effective contrast or softness, overall visual impact and bindery. Forty-one printing and imaging companies across New England submitted more than 320 entries in categories including best annual report, direct mail campaign, labels and packaging and other categories.

“Our judges have a total of 80 years of print production experience and are invited across the country to other PIA associations to judge so they have seen all levels of print,” said Christine Hagopian, PINE’s Director of Programs. “The quality of PINE members’ entries can stand up against any other across the country. Our members should be very proud of that.”

What’s New?

Have some good news to share? Email us

Give us your best shot

We’re always looking for images from member companies to include on greetingcard.org. Send us high resolution photos of products, displays, production (and the people who make the cards) along with a brief description. Images should be sent in .jpeg of .png form. Put “Member Images” in the subject line of the email.

Congratulations to the LOUIE Winners 

The GCA crowned this year’s LOUIE Award winners at a Gala on the opening night of the National Stationery Show® (NSS) last month.  More than 220 guests celebrated in a “Universe of Wonders” and marveled at the talents of Quixotic.

Congratulations to: Madison Park Group (Card of the Year, $4 and below category) and Easy, Tiger (Card of the Year, $4 and above category).  The second Judge’s Award for Excellence, first created last year, was awarded to Emily McDowell Studio.  And two companies were recognized as “Rising Stars:” The Cove Company ($4 and below category) and Birdwalk Press ($4 and above category).   Richard Evans, a 50+ year veteran of Birchcraft Studios (now Birchcraft Studios by DFS) received the GCA’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his tireless dedication to his company and for advancing the industry through his leadership in the GCA.

“Today, when many communications are abbreviated to a couple of words on a screen, greeting cards are a way to show friends, families and co-workers that you’re thinking of them in a creative, thoughtful and meaningful way,” said Carlos LLansó, GCA president and CEO, Legacy Publishing.

And today’s typical greeting card buyer is changing. In fact, research from GCA member American Greetings (Quantitative Consumer Studies, 2015 – 2016) demonstrates the value of greeting cards among Millennials; their total spend on greeting cards surpassed Baby Boomers last year.

History, Criteria and Lifetime Achievement Award

Launched in 1988, the “LOUIEs” honor Louis Prang, the German-born Boston lithographer and publisher known as the “Father of the American Christmas Card.” More than 230 companies throughout the world submitted nearly 1,000 entries for the greeting card and social expression industry’s definitive awards competition.  Seventy-six companies had at least one card advance to the finalist round.  The LOUIE Awards are open to all publishers in the U.S. and throughout the world and while GCA members receive a reduced entry fee, any publisher who marketed and sold cards in the U.S. last year is eligible.

A panel of 19 industry experts comprised of retailers, publishers and designers judged entries against five criteria: originality, impact, design excellence, “sendability,” and value; all identifying information about the

entrant was withdrawn from the entries. A Blue Ribbon Panel of five judges selected the “Cards of the Year” and “Judge’s Award for Excellence” from among all categories.

In addition to the LOUIEs, the GCA recognizes individuals who have made a significant and enduring contribution to the industry through their work, dedication, creativity and excellence.

“Richard Evans exemplifies the very best in our industry – for his commitment to service and quality and for his continued stewardship of a family owned business,” said Peter Doherty, CAE, Executive Director, GCA. “We are grateful to Richard for his countless contributions, and we are so pleased to honor him with the GCA’s Lifetime Achievement Award,” said Doherty.


“Congratulations to all of the winners and finalists and thank you to every company that participated in the LOUIE Awards,” said LLansó.  “Your support of the LOUIEs helps strengthen the GCA’s voice as the voice of the greeting card industry in Washington and throughout the country,” he said.  “And a special thank you to Nicole Hite-Heleniak, Vice President, Creative Studios, Hallmark Cards Inc. and her team for their tireless work over the last several months to create a magical “Universe of Wonders” for this year’s LOUIEs Gala,” said LLansó.

Sponsors of this year’s LOUIE Awards include: American Greetings, Designer Greetings, Hallmark Cards, Inc., National Stationery Show, and Universal Presentation Concepts (Platinum Sponsors); Viabella (Gold Sponsor); Infinity Foils, Neenah Paper and Universal Engraving Inc. (Silver Sponsors); Avanti, Birchcraft by DFS, Bobst and The Madison Park Group (Category Champion Sponsors) and LOUIE Supporter: Fine Impressions. Hallmark Cards, Inc. provided entertainment at the LOUIE Awards Gala.  Ten GCA member companies supplied materials and production for the call for entries, Gala invitations, program book, thank you and congratulatory cards, envelopes and the Gala’s décor.  Those companies are: BrightMARKS, Exclusive Bordering Company, Fine Impressions, Infinity® Foils, J.S. McCarthy Printers, Leader Paper Products, Neenah Paper, The Occasions Group, Universal Engraving, and Universal Presentation Concepts

Universal Presentation Concepts designed the display showcasing winners and finalists as well as the inaugural “GCA Village” which provides up to 12 GCA member companies with the opportunity to exhibit under the GCA brand and benefit from pre-show promotional opportunities.

Ask the Greeting Card Experts

Thanks to Nicky Burton, president, Calypso Cards for her great idea and tireless dedication to create “Ask the Experts” at the LOUIE display this year. More than 40 people gathered to hear expert insights (through small table discussions) from GCA leaders including: Tory Wright and Martha Angus/ Paper E Clips; Susan January/ Leanin’ Tree; Ron Kanfi/Nobleworks; Steve Gimbelman/Designer Greetings; Sus Charlier/J.S. McCarthy

New GCA Village Features GCA Publisher Members

For GCA members who wanted a presence at the National Stationery Show – but didn’t need a large booth – or didn’t have the staff to support a large booth, the GCA created the GCA Village.

“It was experiment that we think worked well for our member-exhibitors and for the GCA to have a presence on the Show floor,” said GCA Executive Director Peter Doherty.

“Traffic through the Village, plus the interaction with all of our GCA member participants was terrific,” he said. On behalf of everyone at the GCA, our thanks to the National Stationery Show’s Kelly Bristol and her staff who are so supportive of the GCA and the industry.  It’s a partnership built over many years, and we look forward to actively engaging the community at NSS again next year.  Thanks to all of the GCA Member companies – the “Villagers” for their participation: Bonair Daydreams, Emily McDowell Studios, Fresh Out of Ink, Isabella James Fine Stationery, Legacy Publishing Group, Loudhouse Creative, Paper Pop Cards, Peconic Bay Originals, PIM/Spreengs.