May 1, 2019 • Sarah Schwartz
Noted Makes its Debut May 18
The first-of-its-kind event is created by the industry, for the industry
So far this year, the question I have been hearing over and over with stunning regularity is “What is Noted?” Well, on May 18-20, it will be happening in The Brooklyn Expo Center in New York — and as far as I know, it is the first show of its kind in our industry.
Organized and led by volunteer members of the Greeting Card Association (GCA), it has the lofty goal of bringing together the greeting card community and giving attendees a chance to connect with one another, discover new products, and celebrate the diversity of greeting cards and the people behind them.
“Noted is an experience that is all about making meaningful, lasting connections between buyer and seller. And an experience that, frankly, is very much like the sending and receiving of cards,” described GCA Executive Director, Peter Doherty.
Show Features & Details
The Noted floor will feature a compelling blend of publishers arranged in an easy-to-navigate format. At the center is a Gallery Lounge featuring shared meeting tables, around which 56 new and small publishers will be exhibiting in 6-by-3-foot exhibition spaces. It is arranged so that each booth is paired with another with a shared meeting table — all part of the community appeal!
Outside that central ring, larger, more familiar publishers will be in booths sized from 10-by-10 feet to 20-by-20 feet. The overall format features booth height restrictions to ensure sight lines across the show floor — as well as through the glass to see the sights of Brooklyn outside. “The emphasis at Noted will be all about the cards, rather than booth razzle dazzle,” underscored George White, president and COO, Up With Paper and UWP Luxe as well as vice president of the GCA.
“We attempted to group similar but not competing lines in areas where established companies with similar aesthetic would draw retailers,” explained White, who along with John Smyth of Amy Smyth Made it, is also Noted co-chair. “The neighborhood concept was driven by feedback from retailers on other shows. Retailers do not like a graphic line, next to photography, next to painterly. The best parallel is a museum. A gallery is divided into Impressionist, Cubist and Renaissance. Mix them together and you have a museum that gives you a headache.”
Noted recently announced that all 56 spaces in the Lounge were sold out, and that therefore more 6-by-3-foot spaces were being added to a new ring immediately outside the Lounge. The 12-vendor Resource Room, including industry suppliers of fixtures, printing, and more, was sold out earlier in the year. A limited number of 10-by-10-foot spaces do still remain as we go to press.
Unique to Noted is the Pitch Program. This is an opportunity for publishers, who are chosen at random, to pitch their line to a select group of retailers prior to the show opening on Sunday. The Pitch Program includes two tracks, one with two independent retailers and Dan Collier of the Daniel Richards Group, and one with larger buyers, including Sadie Piller of Paper Source and the Canadian distributor Paper E Clips.
The United States Postal Service will be dedicating a new Love stamp on Monday at 10 a.m., and will also be providing information to retailers and publishers seeking to work more closely with USPS throughout the show. This is key, as 60 percent of greeting cards are sent to the final recipient via the US Mail, White said.
The educational program includes two events presented by Stationery Trends on Sunday, conducted by Editor-in-Chief Sarah Schwartz. First up is New At Noted, a trends presentation, followed by a panel on the impact of the women’s movement on the greeting card industry. Scheduled to appear on the panel are Victoria Venturi, Paper Epiphanies; Stephanie Clark, Dahlia Press; and Sadie Piller, Paper Source. Visit the Noted website below to learn more about these and other programs.
On Monday evening, after the show closes, Avanti and Up With Paper have reserved the Three’s Brewing restaurant just two blocks from the Expo Center. “It will be open only for Noted exhibitors and attendees, so that the community feel established at Noted can carry on well into the night!” White finished.
Breadth of Exhibitors
On display at Noted will be offerings from literally across the globe. Petal & Pins is from Tasmania, Australia, while Santoro London calls South Yorkshire, England, home. Think of Me is based in both the United Kingdom and California, and supplier Shenzen Winpsheng Craft Co. has offices in Hong Kong and a factory in the mainland of China.
The launch of a new show being organized by volunteers is not without challenges, especially when it comes to spreading the word, White pointed out. “While Noted has an extensive marketing budget, and is running print ads, direct mail, e-marketing campaigns, as well as a social media effort, most of the outreach and marketing to retailers is being done by the exhibitors themselves, as part of the community effort. (Up With Paper and UWP Luxe) are sending a postcard to all of our retailers, as well as multiple e-blasts, and have also been including on our invoices and packing lists for months. We really appreciate the help that individual companies are providing. It’s fun to see what our fellow companies are sending out!”
New Partnership, New Destinations
Meanwhile, the GCA announced a partnership with Blue Print beginning May 2020 in the Festival Pavilion in San Francisco, California. Blue Print, a surface print and design show, is a community of artists, studios, buyers and visitors from all over the world.
For several years now, Blue Print’s star has been rising as it steadily attracts buyers from multiple industries seeking topical artwork. It not only hosts well-established print studios and artists, but facilitates a more cost-effective event for young, up and coming artists.
Blue Print debuted in May 2015 in New York with just 12 studios, and has now grown to around 140 exhibitors for this year’s show, which will occur May 20–23. The relaxed atmosphere at Blue Print show has encouraged a much better environment for both the exhibitors and visitors alike.
“This kind of collaboration never would have happened, had it not been for a number of courageous volunteers agreeing to pledge our resources in support of an effort that works to bring publishers, designers, artists and their retail and wholesale partners together for a truly new and exciting event experience,” added Doherty.
2020 will see the start of an annual “rotating” event that moves to a different city in the USA each year. The locations of the 2021 and 2022 shows will be determined based on exhibitor and attendee feedback. The rotating locations will give buyers and visitors the opportunity to experience the trends and lifestyles of consumers across the country and offer a fresh perspective from a new location each year.