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Industry Update: Paper Shortages

Current State of The Industry

Paper supply is vital to the health of the print and direct mail industry.  The COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend global supply chains and impact operations across all areas of business. The paper industry is no exception. Without this key resource, the expression “stop the presses” takes on new meaning, literally.

The good news is that the desire to reach consumers in their homes using direct mail has skyrocketed. Unfortunately, this combined with other factors has caused a worldwide paper shortage. 

This new reality has “sent shock waves through the industry and created a mad dash as printers fight for resources.”

How Did We Get Here?

Throughout the Pandemic, the need for personal hygiene products and packaging papers increased. Simultaneously, the demand for graphic arts papers decreased as companies marketed less during the shut down period. Mills adjusted their production lines to produce the products with the highest demand and sold “off inventory” for the lower demand products. 

When the economy reopened, demand for graphics arts papers surged! Mills are now facing the balancing act of producing  multiple product lines at record rates. Inventories are depleted and there just aren’t enough production hours to keep up with the current demand. Combine this with the nationwide labor shortages, import delays at our nation’s ports, and transportation logistic issues –  the situation has grown dire.  

This new reality has “sent shock waves through the industry and created a mad dash as printers fight for resources” says President and CEO of The Mailworks, Brianne Baggetta. The impending holiday season only makes securing stock especially difficult with the rise of online shopping,  as many mills have converted some to most of their manufacturing lines to make corrugated packaging papers.


What The Future Looks Like

Currently, there is not enough paper to meet the demand. Unfortunately, the market is not expected to return to normal until mid 2022 or even the beginning of 2023.

As a result, mills are tightening allocations (the amount of paper allocated to each customer). They are working with existing customers to try and get them a percentage of what they usually order. In addition, prices are raising across the board. These limitations put a heavy strain on most businesses’ ability to serve their clients, leaving them searching for alternatives to meet their needs.

Helena Nichols, Procurement Specialist at The Mailworks has been working around the clock to secure stocks, even if that means reaching out to new vendors. She’s had to think outside the box, saying “It’s broadened our perspective on how to source our supply needs. We are building new relationships with mills and paper distributors, strengthening our ties with current suppliers and more than ever, planning and communicating frequently. We are working to be more strategic than tactical when sourcing for supplies.”

Industry experts still recommend planning as far in advance as possible to secure deliveries. They also note as a general consumer, this shortage will reflect far wider than the print industry. Expect to see limitations and price increases on common goods such as wrapping paper, toilet paper, boxed goods, etc. When asked about The Mailworks approach for the future, Baggetta shared, “Our goal is to secure as much of our primary stocks as possible, while finding cost-effective alternative paper stocks for our customers.”

The Mailworks will continue to stay ahead of this situation as much as possible by planning with customers and forecasting future needs. We recommend you plan your marketing budget for the coming months proactively.

Press Release


100 percent of purchase price from vinyl decal sales to support LGBTQ+ organizations and businesses for Pride Month in June

ALBANY, N.Y. (Jun. 1, 2021) — Albany’s go-to print + mail facility, The Mailworks, is launching its next charitable initiative to benefit the LGBTQ+ community. To coincide with Pride Month, the company will sell vinyl decals for the entire month of June and will donate 100 percent of the purchase price to support LGBTQ+ organizations and businesses. 

By visiting, customers can choose from a selection of 8.5 x 11” vinyl decals for $10. The decals, which are printed and mailed out of The Mailworks’ Albany facility, feature various designs to support awareness for the LGBTQ+ movement. Each decal also features a scannable QR code to generate additional donations by directing the user to the decal purchase link.

“The Mailworks is proud to support Pride Month by fundraising for the LGBTQ+ movement,” says Brianne Baggetta, President & CEO of The Mailworks. “It is our hope that by using our resources to support this initiative, it helps build compassion and awareness for the LGBTQ+ community.”

100 percent of the purchase price from the decal sales will support LGBTQ+ organizations and businesses, including The Pride Center of the Capital Region, In Our Own Voices, and the Alliance for Positive Health, and more. The purchaser can select where their purchase funds are directed when ordering, and also have the option to increase their donation. A “Shipping and Expenses” fee is charged as a line item to cover production, labor and shipping costs.

This idea for this charitable initiative stems from the company’s success supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. Through a similar initiative in 2020, the company raised over $30,000 for local Black-owned organizations and enterprises. 

Additional information about this initiative can be found at, on Facebook (, and on Instagram (@themailworks).


About The Mailworks
Based in Albany, NY, The Mailworks is a woman-owned, family business that provides print and direct mail solutions to companies nationwide. Processing over 90 million pieces of direct mail each year, The Mailworks’ comprehensive offering includes graphic design, list building, printing, mailing, and targeted delivery services. Customers can place orders online by visiting