The Greeting Card Association (GCA) is to host a meeting next Tuesday (June 30) which will bring together retailers, publishers and representatives of the trade association to discuss diversity within the greeting card industry and ways to improve inclusivity within the sector.
Also, as ratified at a recent GCA Council meeting, the association is to form a distinct sub-committee whose remit will be to ensure diversity matters in the greeting card industry are discussed and resultant improvements made.
The GCA contacted all its members (both publishers and retailers) earlier this month informing them of the plans for a Diversity in the Greeting Card Industry meeting. As a result, an impressive line-up of members, both publishers and retailers, came forward, keen to share their perspective as well as listen to what others have to say.
As Amanda Fergusson, ceo of the GCA commented: “The GCA has a responsibility to all of its members, and also to represent and promote all greeting card sending.” Speaking specifically about the imminent meeting, which is to take place virtually, via Zoom, she said it should be seen by all “as a positive step, providing a real opportunity to look at how we can, for example, encourage more black-owned businesses and designers into our industry. The input from the high calibre of attendees will also result in a valuable understanding what the industry can do to embrace diversity and ideas of how we can further build engagement with card sending across the whole community at large.”
Providing a retailer perspective, Card Factory’s studio director Jo Bennett; Scribbler’s head of design, Aisling Crosland and Moonpig’s head of cards/licensing, Sarah-Jane Porter will join a strong publisher contingent (with approximately 15 companies represented) which will include several leading black-owned players who have been pushing for change on this front as covered recently on PG Buzz (https://www.pgbuzz.net/speaking-out-about-racism-and-initiating-change-in-the-greeting-card-sector/; https://www.pgbuzz.net/scribbler-supports-kitsch-noirs-celebrateblackmen-campaign/; https://www.pgbuzz.net/tineka-smith-founder-of-card-publisher-huetribe-speaks-out-on-the-bbc-on-diversity/).
These include Dayo Williams of Handmade by Dayo, Georgina Fihosy of AfroTouch Design, Cherelle Brown of KitsCH Noir and Tineka Smith of Huetribe. As Dayo told PG Buzz, shortly after the death of George Floyd, at the end of last month, which saw a huge groundswell of support for the Black Lives Matter movement, “The recent events in the US and across the globe have rightly brought about an urgency for greeting card publishers and retailers to be open to ways of taking meaningful actions to ensure that inequality for black people is eradicated from society. There is no place for racism and inequality within the card industry.”
Sarah-Jane Porter of Moonpig, who is also a GCA Council member, had no hesitation in committing to attend the meeting. As she explained, “It is at the top of our agenda to achieve more diversity and representation in our portfolio. Over the past couple of years, we [Moonpig] have placed diversity as one of the key criteria to address when developing and selecting designs. We have done this by ensuring that our photo upload placeholder images are more inclusive and representational, by developing a figurative range featuring broader ethnicity (and encouraging our publishing partners to do the same) as well as sourcing content partners such as Huetribe and Eastern Print Studio to further broaden our offer.”
GCA Council member, Mark Callaby, who co-owns Ohh Deer with his partner Jamie Mitchell, is to lead the discussion from the GCA front with full support from GCA president, Rachel Hare, Managing Director Belly Button Design. Having recently rallied against (and received much support for doing so) a homophobic reaction to the company’s decision to make a donation to Switchboard (an LBGTQ+ charity) from Ohh Deer’s Papergang subscription box this month, Mark and Jamie have written a piece on the subject of ‘Unconscious bias and how to spot it’ for their staff which they will adapt for the GCA website for everyone to see and use for their own companies.
As GCA president Rachel Hare of Belly Button succinctly put it. “We all have to be open to listen, to learn and to initiate change, for the greater good of society and our industry’s place within the world. This meeting is a step towards that.”
Top: Just a few of the designs Moonpig offers that celebrates diversity.