‘Thank you, Millennials’ was an over arching positive message sent out from the recent US Greeting Card Association’s Oceans of Opportunity workshop and retreat, that took place at Naples Florida – and with good reason.
The last year, according to the research findings from America’s postal operator, USPS, has seen an encouraging increase in 44 million more greeting cards being posted than in the year previous, with Gen Y (those born between 1981 and 1996) clocked as the major demographic group driving this upturn.
Chris Karpenko, USPS’ director of brand marketing delivered the good news to a full audience of publishers, retailers and suppliers attending the long weekend event organised by the US Greeting Card Association. He also highlighted how the UK-initiated initiative, Thinking of You Week has now been fully embraced concurrently the other side of the Pond (taking place this week) since its debut last year. This will see an astonishing half a billion pieces of mail having been branded with a ‘Thinking of You. Mail a Smile’ on all first-class post that passes through the USPS system during the month of September this year and last.
“We have an overwhelming number of ways to connect these days, yet despite this people are feeling more isolated than ever”, says Nicky Burton of Calypso Cards, who is leading the Thinking of You initiative in the States. “It is widely recognised that sending and receiving a hand-written card for no particular reason can help people feel connected,” said Nicky. This was perfectly illustrated by the BookCon event in America when attendees flocked to the ‘Thinking of You Week’ stand in their hundreds to write and mail a card to their loved ones.
In addition to activity from card retailers in the US, The Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum is also gearing up to celebrate Thinking of You Week on Saturday, September 28 when visitors will be encouraged to write, stamp and post cards for loved ones, learn about how to address and decorate their envelopes, find out how card and letter sending has changed over the years and how it’s become a cherished tradition for many, and much more.
Among those hanging on his every word was Amanda Fergusson, ceo of the UK’s GCA who had been invited to (and fully hosted at) the Florida meet-up and gave an hour-long presentation on the health and wealth of the UK greeting card market.
“I learnt so much and it was great to meet key contacts in the US card industry: We can learn from how our US counterparts are engaging with the card sending public through retailer events, USPS initiatives and publisher activity,” said Amanda. “I also appreciated the opportunity to share what is happening in the UK market and our GCA centenary year, and look ways we can work together to increase card sending and build our industry to mutual benefit” she added.
The GCA 100th Anniversary Celebration Conference & AGM, which will take place on Thursday 17 October at the Central Hall in Westminster. Among the speakers is Oliver Tress, co-founder of Oliver Bonas, while the event will also include a panel discussion on the environmental developments affecting the greeting card sector and presentation of the UK Greeting Card Market Report.
All GCA members and Associate Members only have a few days left to reserve a place. The cost (including lunch) is £84 (Including VAT) per person. To book your place click here: or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 020 7619 9266.
The event will also see greeting card industry-leading lady, Ceri Stirland, UKG’s customer and channel director hand over as GCA President to fellow doyenne, Rachel Hare, founder of Belly Button Designs.
Top: The message the USPS shared at the recent US GCA Workshop and Retreat to give thanks to youngsters for upping card sending.