Spring Loaded: Ged Mace, md of The Art File and president of the GCA, speaks out on Spring Seasons

With concerns in the industry being aired about Spring Seasons, with some publishers pulling out of publishing for the events due for commercial reasons (SOR agreements and brokerage costs rendering them unviable), PG Buzz has instigated a series of comments on the matter. Following on from Chris Bryan’s comment on PG Buzz last Thursday (August 17) and indie retailer Mark Janson-Smith of Postmark’s column last Tuesday (August 15), here Ged Mace, md of The Art File takes up the baton.

Above: The Art File’s Ged Mace at The Retas.
Above: The Art File’s Ged Mace at The Retas.

The bigger picture: “I am commenting wearing two distinct ‘hats’ – one as president of the GCA, that looks to protect the health of the industry as a whole, and the other as md of a card company who is looking to grow its business by producing attractive greeting cards that deliver for both us and our customers.

The GCA has recently made it a key priority to safeguard these [Spring Seasons] important and historic card sending events as they are cornerstones of the consumer’s card sending year.

Above: One of the items of PoS that is available to downloads free of charge from the GCA website.
Above: One of the items of PoS that is available to downloads free of charge from the GCA website.

In response to the concerns about their continued development, the GCA has formed a ‘sub-committee’ in order to formulate a plan to gain more traction through to consumers for these events. It helps massively that the GCA now has so many retail members that we can pool our thoughts and ideas.

Creating ‘reminders’, if not awareness of the specific days of the events, is so important at consumer level, hence the reason that the specifically designed free of charge downloadable POS kit for retailers (instigated by Cardgains in association with the GCA and generously developed by UKG) is being made available to all for the second year running.”

Above: Contemporary approach to sentiment on a Valentine’s Day card from The Art File
Above: Contemporary approach to sentiment on a Valentine’s Day card from The Art File

The SOR conundrum: “As a nation we love sending cards for the Spring Season events and the card still acts as the focal point alongside other gestures, such as flowers, chocolates, a meal or a gift. Spring Seasons aren’t the issue here, it’s the system that has been adopted by some major retailers and larger publishers that must be addressed. The SOR arrangement, when abused only results in a loss for everyone, as well as devaluing greeting cards as a whole. Just think of a situation where firm sale ruled. Betting buying, better product, better margins for all.”

Above: An Easter card from The Art File. The Easter bunny could have more ‘spring’ in its step if the ‘greeting card economics’ can be sorted for Spring Seasons.
Above: An Easter card from The Art File. The Easter bunny could have more ‘spring’ in its step if the ‘greeting card economics’ can be sorted for Spring Seasons.

More spring in our step: “The Spring Seasons give us, as consumers, good reasons to celebrate, yet the ‘greeting card publisher economics’ behind them at present are not giving publishers as much cause to celebrate as they would like. We collectively need to, and will, find a way to up the celebratory feeling.”

And now for something completely different… PG Buzz chanced upon a lovely blog (on the The Gift of Rhyme Bespoke Verse), which includes a charming poem written by Joanna Miller from the perspective of what it feels like to be a Valentine’s Day card. Click here, it is worth a few seconds of your life to read it, honestly.

 

 

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