The greeting card industry’s primary trade group is launching a pitch event focused on Black entrepreneurs in the space—with plans to increase its diversity tactics in the future.
The Greeting Card Association has been listening to concerns about a lack of diversity in its field and beyond, and is taking some formative steps to change that.
Earlier this month, GCA announced it would add a pitch program specifically targeted at Black creators. The event will be held virtually as an extension of its annual Noted expo.
“Now it is time for some action,” said GCA in a blog post. “The Noted Community and the GCA are ready to take the first step in making a change.”
The Noted Pitch Program, taking place July 16, will offer an opportunity for Black-owned companies and makers to pitch their products to an array of retailers, sales reps, and distributors both online and off. Each of the nine selected contestants gets five minutes to pitch their ideas to the professionals.
The event, which will cost $10 for retailers and sales reps to attend, will donate half of its entry fee to a scholarship for a maker of color to attend next year’s Noted expo. Additionally, makers—who would have to spend $250 to enter a GCA pitch program normally—won’t be required to pay, with the association’s sponsors covering the cost.
The move comes at a time when diversity and racial justice issues are increasingly moving into the forefront for many organizations.
In comments to Gifts & Decorative Accessories, GCA President George White emphasized the program was intended as a way to start the conversation as it works on longer-term steps toward diversity.
“The goal is to start to address the lack of diversity in our industry, while also connecting Black makers with retailers around the country, hopefully resulting in sales,” White said. “The GCA is well-positioned to facilitate these important connections through the platform we have built with Noted. It is just a first step, but we think a meaningful one—an action that can have real impact.”