Friday, March 7, 2008

The Biz Behind the GCA

Kelly and I attend Greeting Card Association(GCA) meetings 3 times a year. Just last week we were in Washington, DC for a day of action-packed sessions, and I have to tell you, I am still thinking about it. In addition to the obvious business interests in common, this group of passionate manufacturers and suppliers work their tails off to serve the interests of “AUNT MINNIE”, the citizen mailer, in the lobbying efforts to keep postal rates down, as well as promote greeting card consumption through an active public relations committee. The leadership is 100% volunteer-driven. In addition to Postal stuff, members collaborate on so many different aspects of the business; it’s fascinating to be a part of such a generous-minded, brilliant group of people who compete strenuously in business, but work together seamlessly for the good of the industry.

I’m not writing an advertorial, but I am sharing my sense of what happens when talented people collectively commit to a cause. If not for the GCA, postal rates could be much higher. I’ll bet you don’t know, for instance, that the GCA is the only lobby for the first-class mail stream. Think about how postal rates, if not contained, could impact the sale and sending of greeting cards – and how sad it would be to miss the happy mail moments that come only from a hand-written envelope, typically a letter or a greeting card! How about square cards/envelopes? Bet you didn’t know that these are difficult to process by machine. Colored envelopes? A similar quandary. The GCA has subcommittees that work tirelessly to find solutions collaboratively with the US Postal Service so that greeting card publishers are not thwarted creatively and so that Americans will continue to send cards through the mail.

Then, of course, there’s all the schmoozin’. Serious schmoozin’ and serious fun. The friendliest business people I know either come from the tradeshow business – or the greeting card business. Here are a few shots from that January meeting. If you are in the greeting card business, you should check out to learn about the GCA and the great programs it offers. And, when the time is right, join the GCA to meet and network with all the great people in this business!

Chip Owen, Avanti, Susan January, Leanin' Tree, Mike Oleskow, Max & Lucy, Kelly Bristol, GLM, Steve Laserson, American Greetings, George White, Up With Paper, Sara & Laura from BJ Communications

Susan January, Leanin' Tree, Mike Oleskow, Max & Lucy & Alison O'Connor, Greetings Etc.

Jack Withiam, GLM with Marianne McDermott, former executive director of GCA & Patti Stracher, GLM

Andrea Liss, Hannah Handmade Cards & Patti Stracher, GLM

We’re counting down to NSS, so I’m signing off for now. Stay tuned! And, keep us in tune with your thinking. If you’re planning to come to NYC for the Show, book your travel and housing through the nss website now. Looking forward to seeing all of you!



No comments:

Post a Comment