Skip to content

Nuts & Bolts: Noted Greeting Card Expo 2023

May 19, 2023


Nuts & Bolts – Noted Greeting Card Expo 2023

As promised, here is my trip report from attending Noted Greeting Card Expo & SF
NOW held 4/26 – 4/28.

This expo is the West Coast sister of NY NOW and Noted. It was a delight to attend a
show practically in my backyard plus to be a tourist in my own city – San Francisco!
Hosted at Fort Mason Center between the iconic Ghirardelli Square at the end of
Fisherman’s Wharf and the Marina District, the view from this waterfront venue was
nothing short of breathtaking with a view of both the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz

Fort Mason building from above:

FortMasonAbove 06
Fort Mason from the marina:

ForMasonMarinaGreen 10

Ghirardelli Sq sign:

ghiradelliSquare 11

Golden Gate Bridge:

GoldenGateBridge 09

Hosted by the Greeting Card Association, Noted kicked off Wednesday night with a mix
and mingle at the General’s Residence announcing the Louie Award winners (think
Academy awards for the greeting card industry) providing an opportunity to celebrate
and meet new and seasoned card makers receiving a coveted Louie Award.

MindyNasserLouieShow 09

See this year’s Louie Awards finalists and winners here. A few stats, there were 1,016
total entries, up 62% from last year, in a total of 51 award categories. Congratulations /
Special Occasion $5.50 & Below category had the most entries with 47.

Exciting news! GCU is announcing a new addition to the GCU Founders’ Choice
Awards – a paid entry to next year’s Louie Awards for the winners of FCA’s Best Overall
New Card, Best Christmas Card, Best Birthday Card, Best Chinese New Year Card.
See here about this year’s GCU’s Louie Award entries.

Aside from the lovely location, the festival building was a welcome departure from the
typical convention center. Filled with natural light, the Goldilocks; not too big, not too
small but just right number of exhibitors made for a very productive but not exhausting
pace to meet oodles of makers within the 2-days.

As Noted is primarily for greeting card makers, there was a brilliant and varied showing
along with a couple of aisles of gifting exhibitors (SF NOW). Having recently attended
the Las Vegas Market in January, which had a very small contingency of greeting card
exhibitors, it was wonderful to be among so many other paper people! I am impressed
by the creativity, hard work, and youth of so many up-and-coming card makers.

MindyCALICard 01

MindyShopBooth 08

MindyMushrooms 05

StandingLargeCards 04

MindyNasserStepRepeat 02

A few makers although not a fit for GCU and digital printing but offering something
different and attention getting:

Quilling Card – tiny paper quilled masterpieces, just WOW! They took home the Louie
Award for People’s Choice Best Card of last year’s show, Quilled Mom Cross Stitch

Hope & Hustle – embeds via a QR code free downloadable guides designed to improve
your career, mindset and spirit!

Louise Mulgrew – taking home multiple Louie Awards including Artist of the Year
A few takeaways reflecting on the expo …
1. Traditional letterpress cards and stationery are alive and well and such a
beautiful craft.

2. Among so many wonderful designs I did find that many blended into more of the
same. With my “any card imaginable” hat on, there were only a few lines that
stood out to me as serving a niche market, like:
– Plants and Nature lovers ( Yardia )
– LGBTQ Inclusive
– Miscarriage, Infertility Grief / Sympathy (The Noble Paperie)
– Latin (Lucy Loves Paper)
– Women of Color (Pineapple Sundays)

3. GCU has come a long way! In years prior, the conversations had with card
makers trying to explain GCU’s concepts and advantages with community
content, print on demand, etc. was met with much skepticism and even
resistance. Now, with community content / crowd sourced models more prevalent
and younger tech savvy creators, this conversation was met with understanding
and receptiveness with many vocalizing the appeal of a passive income source
like GCU.

And best for last, meeting one of our GCU artists in person is always icing on the cake!
GCU artist since 2009, Betty Matsumoto-Schuch of Bud & Tony designs attended
Noted. We had a wonderful time getting to know each other and discussed all things
GCU, greeting cards, that thing called COVID and of course the Golden State Warriors
and cats.
BettyandCard 03

See Betty’s show report her on the blog.

I hope I’ve shared some interesting and helpful insights into the expo and industry.

The difference is made in the details!


GCU Community Manager


One Comment leave one →
  1. May 20, 2023 12:54 pm

    Mindy, It must have been so much fun being there! Thank you for your in depth report, I really enjoyed reading it! I also enjoyed reading Betty’s take on the show. Glad the two of you were able to connect.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: