Member Spotlight – Leader Paper Products

David Wilke

Tell us about how the company got started and about the products and services you provide.

Established in 1901, Leader Paper Products has supplied the greeting card and social stationery industry with the highest quality converted products for over 118 years. Family owned and spanning five generations of paper artisans, Leader’s specialty is envelopes of all sizes, colors and finishes; including the unusual… like 100% recycled Brown Bag, lined and colored envelopes.  In their search for quality, variety and value, Leader converts papers from fine cotton rag to 100 % recycled content. Leader Paper is a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified manufacturer.

What’s your role at your company and can you tell us a little bit about your duties and responsibilities?

My current role at Leader is Vice President of New Product Development. I am a brand developer and marketing strategist. My focus is new product development, marketing and promotion. On a “usual” day I am being creative – new envelope styles, new packaging, exploring new paper options etc. As an owner in a family business however, there are few “usual” days. That’s why I love my job. Even in our fourth and fifth generations we continue our great-great grandfather’s focus on the business and our customers. My professional experience includes working as a graphic designer, product sourcing specialist and sales director.

Why did you become a GCA member?

Leader Paper joined the GCA in the 1990s as an Associate Member. We were encouraged to consider membership by another Associate, one of our paper suppliers. Attending one GCA Convention was all it took to convince us the GCA community shared the same goals and objectives as Leader. Obviously, the exposure to a multitude of greeting card publishers is good business for an envelope manufacturer but beyond that we have found our investment in the GCA has returned many more benefits.

Why would you recommend someone join the GCA?

I have been involved as a volunteer in the GCA as a Co-Chair of the Associates Committee for three years. Along with this opportunity, I have coordinated Leader’s efforts to support the annual Louie awards stationery requirements long before that. I have witnessed many conventions, receptions and meetings. The network of support and friendships that accompany GCA membership is incredible. If I were a publisher, big, small, old or new I couldn’t imagine not joining this community. I even experience a bit of publisher envy watching the development of start-ups and long-term relationships among members. There is great energy and excitement in this group, this family. It’s contagious.


View the Leader Paper Products historical timeline here