The Y Catalog

The desire to bring awareness to the notion of seva, or the spirit of service, inspired the launch of the Y Catalog of yoga products in September. Cofounder Keri Lassalle says the company’s mission is to stimulate awareness of the importance of “doing our part for our environment and for those in need, both inside and outside the yoga community, while meeting your shopping needs at the very highest level.”

The first of three drops of the 44-page debut catalog mailed on Sept. 15; all told 200,000 copies of the issue will be mailed. Catalogs were sent to 42,000 subscribers of Yoga Journal, which gave the Y Catalog names in exchange for inserts in the catalog. The rest of the names for the drop were rented.

In addition to eco-friendly yoga mats and apparel, the Y Catalog sells energy bracelets, spa items, music CDs, and yoga books. There is certainly an audience for such items, Lassalle says: 15 million people in the U.S. practice yoga.

Lassalle expects 30% of the sales to come from apparel, with an average order size of $80-$100. She predicts the most popular items will be Earth shoes, which sell for $100. The Santa Monica, CA-based company plans to donate 10% of all sales toward a global or charitable cause supported by its vendors.

Product category: yoga apparel and accessories First mailing date: September 2006 Size of distribution: 200,000 Target audience: yoga enthusiasts Frequency: quarterly Competitors: Gaiam, Hugger Mugger, Kripalu Number of pages: 44 Size: 10-1/2″ × 8-1/2″

Phone: 866-462-9642


Calgary, Alberta-based Fitterfirst, a manufacturer/marketer of exercise gear, started out in 1985 selling its goods primarily at fitness trade shows throughout Canada. In 2001 it launched a Canadian catalog and e-commerce business. But it wasn’t until this year that the company decided to mail into the United States.

Not that the U.S. is a new market for Fitterfirst. “In fact, when I started with shows and leaflets, I had no Canadian sales even though I was based in Canada,” says company founder/president Louis Stack.

In September, Fitterfirst dropped 155,000 books in the U.S. Of those, 40,000 went to names on the house file and the rest to names rented from co-op databases, says Stack. The U.S. catalog is the same as the Canadian edition except that it’s priced in U.S. rather than Canadian dollars.

Fitterfirst’s products include exercise balls, weights, exercise mats, and items for children. Stack says he expects the average order size to be more than $100.
Tim Parry

Product category: exercise gear Target audience: baby boomers, active families Competitors: Gym Ball Store, Power Systems Number of pages: 48 Size: 8″ × 11″ Phone: 1-800-Fitter1


Headwear & Accessories To make it clear that it sells more than T-shirts, Preston, WA-based wholesaler SanMar launched Headwear & Accessories, a catalog selling more than 100 styles of headwear. Senior marketing manager Lee Strom says the company mailed “well over” 10,000 copies of the 54-page catalog in late March to customers and to prospects — resellers and retailers — it gathered through trade shows.

So far Strom says the venture is paying off. The response rate for businesses requesting the catalog to be imprinted with their logo, which the companies will then send to their customers, is 4%, slightly ahead of projections. — Heather Retzlaff

Product category: wholesale apparel First mailing date: March 2006 Size of distribution: more than 10,000 Target audience: apparel resellers, imprinters, and embroiderers Frequency: every six weeks Competitors: Alpha Shirt Co., Broder Bros., NES Clothing Co. Number of pages: 54 pages Trim size: 8-3/8″ × 10-7/8″ Telephone: 800-426-6399

Ladies Tool Zone Popular do-it-yourself home makeover shows such as Trading Spaces and While You Were Out often feature women doing much of the work, yet there’s a lack of hand tools designed specifically for women’s smaller hands. Karen Matthias recognized a market void that she could fill, and in September 2005 she launched the Ladies Tool Zone Website, with a print catalog following in November.

The initial drop of 25 copies of the 26-page catalog mailed to prospects gathered from the Website and to retailers interested in reselling its merchandise. Circulation increased to 100 during a spring mailing to both customers and prospects. To help bolster its house file, Ladies Tool Zone is advertising on Google, Yahoo!, MSN, and

Matthias says the average order size is $50 and growing. “We’re growing at a very rapid pace, and at the same time we’re learning and fine-tuning our inventory. We feel like we’re getting to a point where we’re breaking through,” Matthias says. The company was prepared for an influx during traditional holiday season like Mother’s Day, but wasn’t as prepared for the influx of orders it received during graduation season.

The most popular item is a 95-piece pink tool set that costs $24.99. Other products include a $21.99 cordless pink drill and a $19.99 10-pocket pouch. Although pink is the favorite color among Ladies Tool Zone buyers, the company offers tools in orange, green, blue, yellow, and a floral pattern as well. “Pink hits a core with our customers because it definitely separates those tools from the other tools in the house and provides ownership for them,” says Matthias. — HR

Product category: tools First mailing date: November 2005 Size of distribution: 25 Target audience: women 18-45 and gift buyers Average order size: $50 Number of pages: 26 pages Trim size: 8-1/2″ × 11″ Telephone: 614-397-3493



When John Hellweg started in 2002 as a high school senior project, he had no idea that the company would become the world’s largest supplier of gear for wakeboarding, a cross between surfing and water-skiing. Now 20 and president/art director of Clackamas, OR-based Wakeside, Hellweg oversaw the launch of the company’s print catalog in April.

Wakeside mailed 100,000 copies of the book, mostly to its Web customers but also to a few rented lists. The average order size is $250. Products include the $300 Liquid Force Diva wakeboard; the $1,600 Titan Series II Wakeboard Tower, which elevates the wakeboarder’s rope connection point and enables him to get more “air” during tricks; and men’s Billabong board shorts for $49.50.

Hellweg credits his success to solid customer service and the relatively small size of the market segment. “When you’re in a tight-knit group like wakeboarders, word travels really fast,” he says. Year-over-year sales increases have been in the double and triple digits since Wakeside was founded.

A second catalog mailed in mid-May; Hellweg says he plans to mail seasonally next year. He also intends to mail a catalog this fall for TruSnow, a snowboarding supplies and accessories Website he launched in August 2005. And Hellweg plans to launch a boardsports apparel Website next year; within five years he expects to mail a catalog for that brand, as well as to open a boardsports store.
Heather Retzlaff

Product category: wakeboarding products First mailing date: April 2006 Size of distribution: 100,000 Target audience: 16-25 year old wakeboarders Frequency: seasonally Competitors:,, Average order size: $250 Number of pages: 52 Trim size: 8″ × 10″ Telephone: 866-925-3743

Schaul’s Signature Gourmet Foods

In fall 2005, Tom Schaul expanded his corporate gifts and catering business to include a 28-page business-to-business catalog of steak, lobster, ham, and other food gifts. Schaul’s Signature Gourmet Foods mailed in October to 75,000 b-to-b gift buyers, mostly rented names.

The catalog and the accompanying Website were meant to expand the business beyond the holiday season and Chicago area. Elk Grove Village, IL-based Schaul’s had been relying primarily on sales reps, sell sheets, and direct mail pieces to market the company.

Sales are lower than projected, but the average catalog order size of $250 is close to expectations. Schaul says he plans to pursue more consumer customers this year before deciding how to proceed in the future.

Product category: gourmet food First mailing date: October 2005 Size of distribution: 75,000 Target audience: small and midsize private companies Frequency: 4-6 times a year Competitors: Omaha Steaks, Allen Brothers Average order size: $250 Number of pages: 28 Trim size: 8-1/2″ × 11″ Telephone: 800-562-5660


Shutters Beach Style

If you’ve ever stayed at the posh Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica, CA, you probably wanted to take home some of the accoutrements. Now you can: Working with hotel designer and furnisher Boxport, Shutters produced its first print catalog in July 2005.

Tery R. Young, Boxport’s vice president of creative and operations, says the catalog offers “beach living at its best,” including bedding, gifts, home decor, and bath and bodycare products found in guest rooms. Products range from juggling balls ($16) to accent tables ($179) to shams ($110-$285). The average order of $240 contains about four items.

The catalogs are placed in 442 guest rooms at Shutters and at sister hotels Casa Del Mar, also in Santa Monica, and Hotel Andalucia, in Santa Barbara, CA.

Response was better than the hotelier has expected, says Young. About 28% of hotel guests have visited the companion Website; of those, 2.2% made a purchase. Shutters plans to add items for Mother’s Days and Father’s Day and a bridal registry.

Product category: high-end spa and home items First release date: July 2005 Target audience: guests of Shutters on the Beach, upscale consumers Competitors: W, Le Parker Meridien, Kimpton Hotels, Westin Hotels Average order size: $240 Frequency: annual Number of pages: 16 Size of catalog: 8″ × 10″ Telephone number: 888-334-9110

Furnitureland South

Can’t make it to the famed furniture markets of High Point, NC? Furnitureland South, a retailer based in, you guessed it, High Point, now offers furniture from more than 400 manufacturers via catalog and the Web.

Furnitureland South mailed its 144-page premier edition last April to about 500,000 names on its 1 million-plus active customer list. A fall 2005 catalog dropped in October to the same number of names. The company’s 10-year-old Website added an e-commerce channel in April 2005 to coincide with the initial drop.

Marketing director Terrie Silver would not release catalog results, but she says that it met expectations, with lamps and recliners the best-selling categories. Plans include spring and fall catalogs, each around 150 pages. — Tim Parry

Product category: mid- and high-ticket furniture First mailing date: April 2005 Size of distribution: 500,000 Target audience: upscale consumers Competitors: Design Within Reach, Storehouse, Williams-Sonoma Home, Horchow Number of pages: 144 Trim size: 10-1/2″ × 9-1/4× Telephone: 336-841-4328


PCS Edventures! A supplier of hands-on K-12 curricula, Boise, ID-based PCS Edventures specializes in “learning labs” that range in price from $595 to nearly $14,000. According to national sales manager Bill Albert, the school districts that buy its labs often need additional equipment such as shelves and storage boxes for projects, computers with Internet access, televisions, VCRs, and tables for projects. So to better serve its audience, PCS Edventures last month launched a catalog that expands its product line to include software, furniture, and supplies for public and private schools.

The 276-page catalog mailed to 25,000 school districts in the U.S. and more than 30 other countries. The catalog went to both customers and prospects. “We are constantly researching online for new customers and updated lists,” Albert says.

“We have a really good relationship with the school districts we serve and have received positive feedback,” he continues. “We hope to feed off that with the new catalog.”
Jim Tierney

Product category: educational supplies First mailing: January 2006 Size of distribution: 25,000 Target audience: Schools Competitors: School Specialty Number of pages: 275 Trim size: 8″ × 10-1/2″ Telephone: 800-429-3110

Bellablu Maternity Jen Varner, owner of Cary, NC-based apparel Website Bellablu Maternity, is amazed at the response from her first print catalog. Requests were 200% more than predicted — about 3,000 requests within a month after the 40-page catalog launched in August.

“We didn’t purchase a list,” Varner says. “We just put up a sign on our Website,” which generated about 7,500 names to date.

And so far the catalog has boosted Web sales 15%. “Nobody is buying through the catalog,” Varner says. “They’re going through the Website.” Products include the Olive Pant ($89), the Italia Maternity top ($89), and the Alexia Maternity Jean ($94).

The catalog will mail twice a year, in March and September. Varner says 8,000 catalogs will be printed in March, and that the company has no plans to rent names for future mailings.

Product category: maternity clothing First mailing: August 2005 Size of distribution: 7,500 Target audience: expectant mothers with an annual income of at least $35,000 Competitors: Motherwear, Elizabeth Lee Designs Number of pages: 40 Trim size: 5″ × 7″ Telephone: 888-678-0034


Baby’s Choice

After having their first child in 2003, Brad and Dana Scharf wanted to help other parents find unique children’s products. So the pair, who already owned educational materials merchant Bright Apple, launched Baby’s Choice, a catalog and Website of products for expectant parents and for children up to age three. Both Baby’s Choice and Bright Apple are part of Scottsdale, AZ-based Remedia Publications, founded in 1979 by Brad’s mother, Kitty Scharf.

Baby’s Choice first mailed in early November to 80,000 names rented from Ventura, CA-based list firm AccuList, says project manager Becky Majewski; the Website went live on Oct. 19. The 36-page catalog’s products include wearable blankets that protect infants from loose bedding and shopping-cart covers that keeps babies entertained and protected from germs.

According to Majewski, early indications point to a successful launch. Plans include possibly adding a gift registry and increasing the number of products offered.
John Fischer

Product category: baby and childcare products First mailing: November 2005 Size of distribution: 80,000 Target audience: expectant parents, relatives of babies and toddlers Competitors: One Step Ahead, Sensational Beginnings Number of pages: 36 Trim size: 8″ × 10-1/2″ Telephone: 480-661-9900

Heavenly Wood

The name Heavenly Wood may be ambiguous, but the church altars on the cover of its debut catalog makes apparent what it sells: handcrafted furnishings for houses of worship.

After a site upgrade last year, “we were looking to branch out from the Web,” says marketing director Morgan Cloward, “and our product line lent itself well to the printed format.” We had only a CD-ROM catalog prior to launching the catalog, but response to that was strong.”

The 12-page book mailed to more than 3,000 churches, funeral homes, and other nonsecular institutions in mid-October. The catalog, which shows a small portion of the Kaysville, UT-based company’s wares, is meant to drive traffic to the Website. So far, Cloward says, response has been strong enough to encourage the company to rent lists for a second mailing, perhaps in the spring.

Product category: church furniture First mailing: October 2005 Size of distribution: 3,000 Target audience: churches Competitors: Church Plaza, Church Chair Industries Number of pages: 12 Trim size: 8-1/2″ × 11″ Telephone: 801-927-3036



Grand Rapids, MI-based Professional Uniforms has expanded its medical and hospitality apparel lines to include fashion footwear. Soleas, the new division, sells shoes, handbags, and accessories from name brands via its Soleas catalog, which first mailed in May, and its Website, which launched in February.

Vice president of business development James Maioho says that Soleas’s merchandisers spend “oodles and oodles” of time choosing styles and brands that appeal to women 30-54 years old. Prices range from $19.95 for Tommy Hilfiger flip-flops to $229.95 for Birkenstock boots.

Soleas’s debut catalog mailed to more than 200,000 prospects and house file names, with that latter constituting the majority of the recipients. Response was on target, says Maioho, although he won’t release sales specifics.

A second catalog dropped on Aug. 24. Another six drops were planned for the fall and holiday seasons.

Product category: Shoes, handbags, and accessories First mailing date: May 2005 Size of distribution: more than 200,000 Target audience: women 30-54 years old Competitors: Zappos, Friedman’s Shoes, Marmi Number of pages: 32 Trim size: 7-1/8″ × 10-1/2″ Telephone: 866-765-3271

District Threads

Preston, WA-based wholesale apparel supplier SanMar launched a spin-off, District Threads, in June. Breaking out of SanMar’s niche of T-shirts, jackets, sport shirts, and other conservative styles, District Threads sells raglan tees, hoodies, and other clothes that follow retail fashion trends. Spokesperson Daniel Brockley says District Threads fills a gap in styling between retail and wholesale fashions, providing imprinters, and promotional apparel resellers “cooler, younger, hipper” items than those generally sold by wholesalers.

Response to the catalog has been “tremendous,” according to Brockley, although he won’t release specific sales information. The company plans to expand the product line.

Product category: wholesale apparel First mailing date: June 2005 Target audience: apparel resellers, imprinters, and embroiderers Competitors: Alpha Shirt Co., Broder Bros., NES Clothing Co. Number of pages: 16 Trim size: 7-1/2″ × 11″ Telephone: 800-426-6399


Global Girlfriends

Why would a former social worker launch a gifts catalog? Stacey Edgar was inspired by a trip her mother-in-law took with the World Food Program to India, where she met native women selling jewelry and clothing to tourists. Along with her mother-in-law and two employees, Edgar launched the Global Girlfriends Website in 2003; its first 16-page catalog mailed in October to 2,000 customers and requesters.

Littleton, CO-based Global Girlfriends works with 20 women’s non-profit groups around the globe that create accessories and gifts that are both unique to the group’s country and fashion-forward. Prices range from $5 for handmade vegetable soap squares to $78 for a poncho.

The average order size is $80, with three or four items per sale. A second catalog mailed to 4,000 customers and requesters in March. Edgar says sales for Global Girlfriends are on track to triple this year because of the catalog and word-of-mouth publicity.

Product category: women’s accessories and gifts First mailing date: October 2004 Size of distribution: 2,000 Target audience: women 28-45 Frequency: twice each year Competitors: Gaiam, Wisteria Average order size: $80 Number of pages: 16 pages Trim size: 5″ × 8″ Telephone: 720-988-5880

Ariva Skin Care Book

The skincare market is red-hot, which is one reason Cindy Kurkowski, president of Peru, IL-based Ariva Skin Care and Day Spa, started a catalog.

Kurkowski, who has had an Ariva store and Website for three years, is also the president of promotional products catalog Best Impressions.

The first 40-page Ariva catalog mailed to 500,000 prospects between September and November 2004, targeting women 25-60 years old who were known mail order buyers. Brands in the catalog include Bare Escentuals and L’Occitane, and products range from a $6 bar of Ahave Dead Sea Mineral Mud Soap to a $185 êShave Shave Set.

The average order is $60; most people bought two items. Kurkowski says that the catalog’s sales and AOV are slightly lower than projections but higher than Web and retail sales (excluding spa services). She is now analyzing whether to mail a second catalog.
Heather Retzlaff

Product category: skin care products First mailing date: September 2004 Size of distribution: 500,000 Target audience: women ages 25-60 Competitors: Bliss, Benefits, DHC, Sephora Average order size: $60 Number of pages: 40 Trim size: 6″ × 10-1/2″ Telephone: 800-932-2357


Lamps Plus Chatsworth, CA-based home lighting fixture specialist Lamps Plus, which has 45 stores in seven states (primarily on the West Coast) and an online store, now has a print catalog as well. The company mailed its 40-page inaugural book in January to 500,000 names. Eighty percent of the recipients were customers; the rest were names from rented lists.

Products range from table lamps to chandeliers to outdoor lighting. “The catalog has been a great branding vehicle,” says Mark Salek, director of catalog marketing, “allowing us to depict our products in more-natural settings.”

The initial catalog mailing exceeded expectations, Salek says, and Lamps Plus will likely mail at least three editions a year. It already mailed its second book, a 52-page edition, in April to nearly 1 million names. The mailings have increased both retail and Web traffic, with the average order coming in at slightly more than $200.

Product category: home lighting First mailing: January 2005 Size of distribution: 500,000 Target audience: primarily women, ages 30-50 with annual income of $75,000-$100,000 Frequency: three times a year Competitor: Shades of Light Average order size: $250 Trim size: 8-1/2″ × 10″ Telephone: 818-341-9555

Forensic Science Given the popularity of investigative crime dramas such as C.S.I and Cold Case, forensics is hot right now. That’s partly why Rochester, NY-based educational products mailer Ward’s Natural Science launched a forensics catalog.

The 48-page Forensic Science catalog mailed in March to 75,000 science teachers. According to catalog director Sean Hendrick, some of the names came from the Ward’s house file, with the rest from list service firm Market Data Retrieval. The catalog sells items such as instructional posters, materials for documenting crime scenes, and fingerprint kits.

Response has already been strong, Hendrick says. Ward’s anticipates a big spike in this category when the teachers return to the classroom in September.
John Fischer

Product category: educational products First mailing: March 2005 Size of distribution: 75,000 Target audience: science teachers Frequency: once a year Competitors: Kemtec, Sargent-Welch, Science Kit Average order size: $300-$600 Trim size: 8-3/8″ × 10-7/8″ Telephone: 585-321-9458


“Take it home. Don’t steal it.” That’s what the folks at Le Parker Meridien in New York are telling guests of the upscale hotel. In December it created BuyParker.Com, a 12-page catalog selling bedding, dinnerware, bath products, and home accents found in the hotel.

The hotel spent a lot of time selecting its furnishings, says Maureen O’Grady, vice president of accounts at Boxport, the San Francisco-based creative agency in charge of Le Parker Meridien’s catalog. “Guests notice that when they’re there, and they want to duplicate it at home.” Prices range from $10 for a calendar to $2,400 for The Parker Chair, a leather club chair alternative.

Le Parker Meridien placed copies of the catalog in each of its 730 guest rooms in addition to inserting a promotional card into each bill at Norma’s, the hotel’s restaurant for breakfast and lunch. It also offers a complete line of products on the Website. In addition, nonguests can call and request a catalog be mailed to them.

O’Grady won’t release sales but says they have met projections. A mention of the catalog in a USA Today article on Feb. 25 resulted in a sales spike.

Product category: home decor First mailing date: December 2004 Size of distribution: 730 Target audience: upscale consumers Competitors: Monarch Beach at Home, Park Avenue at Home, W Hotels The Store Number of pages: 12 Trim size: 5-1/2″ × 10″ Telephone: 866-328-9989

Shortie 1218

Can T-shirts, pants, and accessories empower teen girls? Clothing designer Honie Designs Unlimited believes so. It launched the Shortie 1218 catalog as a way to showcase its line of apparel emblazoned with socially conscious messages such as “Be Blessed” and “Girls Rule.”

The company distributed 5,000 copies of the 16-page “catazine” (part catalog, part magazine) in December to convenience stores, supermarkets, and video stores in six major urban areas. Kela Moran-Price, Shortie 1218 marketing director, says the Indianapolis-based company distributed the catazine through retail outlets because they are high-traffic locations for its target audience of girls ages 12-18.

In addition to merchandise, the catazine included editorial content with health and beauty tips and social empowerment messages.

Although Moran-Price won’t release sales figures, she says revenue increased 10% since the catazine hit stores. The merchandise was previously available only on the Honie Designs Unlimited Website. Most orders include at least two items, with T-shirts costing $15 and jewelry costing $15-$20.

At press time, the company planned to distribute 15,000 copies of a spring catalog in April. Moran-Price says mailing Shortie 1218 directly to customers and prospects is not out of the question, but no plans have been made.

Product category: clothing First mailing date: December 2004 Size of distribution: 5,000 Target audience: girls ages 12-18 Frequency: seasonally Competitors: ELLEgirl, Beacon Street Girls Average order size: $35 Number of pages: 16 Trim size: 5-1/8″ × 7-3/8″ Telephone: 800-601-7857

Shepard Jones

To bring American women a line of European skincare, New York-based Shepard Jones mailed its first catalog. Shepard Jones, which acquired the U.S. distribution license rights to the P8N8 product line in November, in January dropped 40,000 copies of the 16-page book.

Named for a key ingredient in the line (P8N8 is the atomic formula for oxygen — eight protons, eight neutrons), P8N8 also uses Japanese green tea and vitamins in products that promise to smooth aged and sun damaged skin.

Shepard Jones mailed the catalog to names rented from direct mail company ADVO, says vice president of business development Jerry Haines. Most recipients were women 45 and older with incomes of at least $75,000 and who lived in Los Angeles, New York, and West Palm Beach, FL — cities perceived to be centers of fashion and beauty.

Although Haines admits the results to the first mailing were not stellar, with response of 0.2%, he believes that the catalog will break even in the future. West Palm Beach had the highest response rate at 1%. For the company’s second drop of 21,000 catalogs in mid-March, Shepard Jones rented 7,000 hot-list buyers from apparel catalogs Boston Proper, Gorsuch, and TravelSmith, which yielded greater success. Haines says he learned that “you need to rent catalog lists if you want to be a catalog.”

Shepard Jones plans to test 6-10 catalog editions each quarter until it creates the correct formula; Haines hopes to ramp up circulation to 3 million in 2006.

Product category: skincare First mailing date: January 2005 Size of distribution: 40,000 Target audience: upscale women 45 and older Frequency: 6-10 tests per quarter Competitors: Kinerase, Perricone Average order size: $200 Number of pages: 16 Trim size: 5-1/2″ × 8-1/2″ Telephone: 866-355-7868


SimplySoles Finding designer shoes in rural areas — and sometimes even in cities — can be tough. Washington-based SimplySoles hopes to solve that problem with its Website and print catalog, both of which launched in August.

The 36-page catalog was sent to 30,000 women whose names were rented from department store lists and the list of one online merchant. SimplySoles’ product offering includes $140 Anne Klein wedge sandals, $210 Lily Holt flats, and $205 Marc Jacobs wedges; a few handbags are in the mix as well.

Senior manager Rebeccah Sensenbrenner says catalog sales met expectations. Average order size was $225, with most customers purchasing one pair of shoes. Sensenbrenner says she and SimplySoles founder Kassi Rempel were surprised that the average customer was actually from a city rather than a small town.

As a personal touch, each order from SimplySoles includes a handwritten note, “to let [customers] know we care,” Sensenbrenner says. Additionally, the company partners with Washington-based Suited for Change, a non-profit organization that provides suits and work clothes for women on welfare or recently released from jail. Customers who send SimplySoles a pair of old shoes, which are donated to Suited for Change, receive a coupon good for 10% off their next purchase.

A spring catalog with an extended product line, including stationery, lotions, and sole cushions, was mailed in late February to 60,000 customers and prospects. Names were rented from accessory catalogs and a catalog for expectant mothers. As of press time, the company was on target to triple its sales with the mailing.

Product category: women’s shoes and accessories First mailing date: August 2004 Size of distribution: 30,000 Target audience: women 30-60 Frequency: twice a year Competitors: Bloomingdale’s by Mail, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom Average order size: $225 Number of pages: 36 Trim size: 8″ × 9× Telephone: 800-909-3679

Whatta Crock Kim Lawrence’s business is a crock Whatta Crock, that is. Lawrence, who started the company in her El Dorado, KS, basement in 1999, hand-pours stoneware crocks and candles. The process of pouring the crocks (jar-shape candle holders), mixing the wax and incense for the candles, and hand-glazing each crock — 150 at a time — takes about four days.

After expanding Whatta Crock in 2002 to a larger building and a store in Eureka, KS, servicing both consumers and wholesale clients, Lawrence decided to focus on selling exclusively to retailers and corporate clients. This past September she mailed a four-page catalog to 300 retailers in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and Colorado.

Whatta Crock crocks come in three sizes — small, medium, and large — and are available in 101 designs. Lawrence has added corporate gifts to her register of products, fusing logo decals of banks and other institutions onto her crocks.

Although she won’t release sales figures, Lawrence says she receives two or three calls a day from retailers placing orders. The minimum first-time order is 50 crocks, with most retailers placing monthly orders.

Work is under way for a second catalog, which Lawrence plans to mail to 3,000 retailers this spring. Whatta Crock is also considering putting its catalog on a CD and redesigning its Website.

Product category: stoneware candle holders First mailing date: September 2004 Size of distribution: 300 Target audience: high-end retailers and corporations Frequency: undetermined Competitors: Mrs. Candles, Yankee Candle Co. Average order size: N/A Number of pages: 4 Trim size: 8″ × 11″ Telephone: 316-644-2098

Body Central Apparel retailer Body Shop of America has more than 160 stores in 19 states, but it only recently entered the world of direct marketing. Having launched a transactional Website last year, the Jacksonville, FL-based parent company of the Body Central, Body Shop, and Kat Man Du chains in February introduced a Body Central print catalog.

The 64-page book, selling apparel and accessories for young women and teens, mailed to 1 million retail customers and prospects. A second catalog is mailing this month to more than 1 million customers and prospects.

Sharon Igharas, Body Central’s catalog and Web merchandise planner, says sales are exceeding expectations, with an average order size of $120. Prices range from $5 for a piece of jewelry to $99 for a faux-suede coat. The price points are such that customers “don’t have to choose between outfits — they can buy both,” she says.

The company is planning four catalog mailings for the spring and summer; Body Central has not yet determined a strategy for fall and winter catalogs.

Product category: clothing First mailing date: February 2005 Size of distribution: 1 million Target audience: women 15-40 Frequency: undetermined Competitors: Venus Swimwear, Victoria’s Secret Average order size: $120 Number of pages: 64 Trim size: 8-1/2″ × 10-1/2″ Telephone: 800-746-1044


Modern Seed Modern design isn’t just for adults, believes graphic designer and mother of two Melissa Pfeiffer. That’s why Pfeiffer launched children’s decor Website Modern Seed in October 2003 and dropped the first Modern Seed print catalog this past November.

Oakland, CA-based Modern Seed was started to educate, inspire, and provide “the best-designed products for children in the market,” says Pfeiffer. The company dropped 20,000 copies of its catalog to customers and requesters. The 40-page catalog, which tags itself as “all things modern for the mini,” measures a compact 4-3/4″ × 6-1/4″. Products range from contemporary piggy banks to minimalist twin bed frames. Prices range from $24 to $1,275.

Pfeiffer says the catalog has “performed well” and is also driving traffic to the Modern Seed Website: Online orders are up 25% since the drop.

The company plans on mailing two or three catalog editions each year, with continual creative and merchandise changes.
Heather Retzlaff

Product category: children’s decor First mailing date: November 2004 Size of distribution: 20,000 Target audience: affluent new parents and grandparents Frequency: two or three times a year Competitors: MoMA, Ikea, Pottery Barn Kids Average order size: $125 Number of pages: 40 pages Trim size: 4-3/4″ × 6-1/4″ Telephone: 866-301-9635

SKMath Drawing on 50 years of selling educational science supplies, Tonawanda, NY-based Science Kit in August launched SKMath, a catalog of math supplies for teachers of kindergarten through eighth grade. Science Kit dropped 200,000 copies of the 48-page book to customers and prospects.

“Teachers are multi-disciplined with changing standards and requirements, and we saw a need to provide hands-on items in other markets,” says elementary catalog and marketing manager Brittany Thomas. Products include activities for learning skills in counting and sorting, telling time, measuring, and fractions. Prices range from a $1.75 tape measure to a $96.95 telling-time kit. Although she would not release numbers, Thomas says sales are meeting expectations.

A spring SKMath catalog mailed in mid-January. Science Kit in late January also launched SKReading, which focuses on literacy.

Product category: math teaching supplies First mailing date: August 2004 Size of distribution: 200,000 Target audience: educators Frequency: twice a year Competitors: ETA Cuisenaire, Delta Education, Nasco Number of pages: 48 pages Trim size: 10-1/2″ × 8-1/2″ Telephone: 800-828-7777

new catalogs

Danny’s Organic Marketplace

To make it easier for consumers to find organic products, Daniel Judy launched Danny’s Organic Marketplace last year. The catalog mailed to 80,000 prospects based in Ohio, New York, and Pennsylvania.

The Willoughby, OH-based catalog’s organic products, which range from vegetables to chocolates to coffee, are made from ingredients grown without the use of herbicides and insecticides and produced without artificial flavors and other additives. Prices range from $1.55 for a can of beans to $1,600 for a king-size mattress made of organic fibers. Judy, a former sales executive for a metal fittings manufacturer, says the organic-foods industry intrigued him “because it’s still small enough for growth potential.” He has a personal interest in the niche as well: “My wife and I have four children, and we were using organic products more and more.”

The company mailed its first edition only to prospects in three states because it wanted to keep shipping costs low during its first year. Prospects were culled from subscriber lists of organic-lifestyle magazines such as Organic Style as well as from compiled lists of individuals with a history of purchasing organic items by mail.

The 72-page catalog, which has since mailed every month to 500-1,000 of the initial 80,000 prospects, has a response rate of 1.5%, says Judy. He aims to produce four editions a year.

The company is considering creating a six- to eight-page supplement of its best-sellers to be inserted into the middle of the catalogs. What’s more, Danny’s Organic Marketplace might launch a line of branded products in the future.

Product category: organic products First mailing: November 2003 Size of distribution: 80,000 Target audience: women ages 28-54 with an interest in healthy living Frequency: monthly Competitors: Diamond Organics, The Mail Order Catalog for Healthy Eating Average price point: $50 Number of pages: 72 Size: 8-1/2″ × 11″ Telephone: 440-951-4846


MacKenzie-Childs, a manufacturer/retailer of whimsical ceramics, is now a cataloger as well. The Aurora, NY-based company dropped its first catalog in May to an undisclosed number of customers and rented names.

The 36-page catalog sells the company’s signature majolica tabletop ceramics, such as salad servers, platters, and large serving bowls. Prices range from $25 to $450. Vice president of marketing and product development Jennifer Ellsworth says the company in February launched a line of garden ceramics such as garden pots, urns, and tables, which will be available in future editions.

Founded in 1983 by Richard and Victoria MacKenzie-Childs, the company had filed for bankruptcy in November 2000. It came out of bankruptcy in June 2001, when Pleasant Rowland — founder of Middleton, WI-based dolls cataloger Pleasant Co. (now known as American Girl) — bought it. Rowland, who had sold Pleasant Co. to Mattel in 1998 and retired in 2000, paid about $5 million for MacKenzie-Childs.

The company mailed 750,000 copies of the second drop to customers and prospects in October. MacKenzie-Childs tentatively expects to mail the catalog four times in 2005.

Product category: ceramics First mailing: May 2004 Target audience: upscale consumers Frequency: at least twice a year Competitors: Design Toscano, Artistica, Duquella Tile & Clayworks Average order size: $250 Number of pages: 36 Size: 8-1/2″ × 11″ Telephone: 888-665-1999

Canine Loft

Two years after launching pet gifts and accessories Website, Pet Doors USA last November mailed the first Canine Loft print catalog.

A Bradenton, FL-based marketer of dog doors and cat flaps founded by brothers Joe and Richard Ambrose, Pet Doors USA had received numerous inquiries from customers about dog-related items, which inspired them to start in December 2001. “The catalog was launched to better serve the customer and inquiry list we had built up since launching the Website,” says Richard Ambrose. “We saw that there had been an increasing demand for dog-related gift merchandise.”

The 32-page debut issue mailed to 30,000 people who had requested the catalog from the CanineLoft Website. The slim-jim catalog sells clothing and gifts specific to more than 150 dog breeds. Items range in price from $20 to $350; the average order size is $85.

The company would not reveal specific response rates, but the initial mailing was successful enough to lead to a second catalog edition, which mailed in May, also to 30,000 customers and requesters. The next edition is scheduled to drop in February; the company will mail four editions in 2005.

Product category: gifts for dog lovers First mailing: November 2003 Size of distribution: 30,000 Target audience: dog owners Frequency: quarterly Competitors: Planet Dog, Orvis Dog Book, PetsMart Direct Average order size: $85 Number of pages: 32 Size: 6″ × 11″ Telephone: 800-749-9609

Road Scholar

Elderhostel is looking for younger travelers. The Boston-based organization, which offers educational travel programs for adults ages 55 and over, is targeting consumers in their 40s and 50s with its Road Scholar catalog.

Road Scholar, which mailed in February to 130,000 house file names, offers trips similar to Elderhostel outings but less formal in structure, says spokesperson Cady Goldfield. The typical Road Scholar program, such as the $2,200 Footloose in Switzerland, a tour of the Swiss countryside via foot, bike, train, and cable car, allows more free time for personal exploration than an Elderhostel program would, says Goldfield. The 36-page catalog offers customers, organized in groups of a maximum of 24, both domestic and international travel programs, with eclectic accommodations ranging from upscale resorts to college guesthouses.

Programs range from the $1,290 New York: Behind the Velvet Curtain, which includes backstage visits with Broadway professionals, to the $3,500 A Spiritual Journey Through India, which focuses on the history and current practice of Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism, among India’s other faiths and philosophies. The average price point is $2,100.

“Response to the first catalog has been very good,” Goldfield says. “After mailing in late February, four programs of the 22 featured filled right away, and many other programs had healthy enrollments well in advance of their start dates.” Road Scholar mailed its 2005 catalog in late August to more than 141,000 customers and prospects. New programs include cultural immersion in Morocco and dog-sledding in Minnesota. The catalog will mail three times next year.

Product category: travel First mailing: February 2004 Size of distribution: 130,000 Target audience: adults in their 40s and 50s Frequency: three times a year Competitors: Wilderness Travel, Backroads, Mountain Travel Sobek Average price point: $2,100 Number of pages: 36 Size: 11″ × 8-1/2″ Telephone: 800-466-7762

new catalogs

Giggles & Gizmos

After a test mailing in October 2002, educational toy cataloger Young Explorers rolled out a spin-off catalog, Giggles & Gizmos, in fall 2003.

According to Young Explorers owner/chief operating officer Sally McMahon, “we wanted to grow in the children’s toy arena without disturbing the educational toy niche” currently occupied by Young Explorers. Targeting toddlers, young teens, and youngsters in between, Giggles & Gizmos sells products such as a mix-and-match bracelet kit for $34.95 and a kid’s yoga mat and game for $45.95. Most of the toys and games offered range in price from $15 to $65.

The 56-page debut edition mailed to more than 1 million customers and prospects in three drops during the holiday season, each with a different cover. Although she won’t reveal Giggles & Gizmos’ response rate, McMahon says that it met expectations. The average order size is $65.

The spin-off is set to mail again during the 2004 fall/holiday season. McMahon says she does not intend to make major changes in its creative or merchandising, although she may increase the page count.

Product category: children’s games and toys First mailing date: fall 2003 Size of distribution: more than 1 million Target audience: parents and grandparents Frequency: once a year Competitors: HearthSong, Spilsbury, Leaps and Bounds, Highlights Average order size: $65 Number of pages: 56 Size: 8″ × 10 1/2″ Telephone: 970-278-9660


Decorating is all in the details, believes furniture industry veteran Kelli Gierz. But it peeved Gierz when many of the decorative accessories complementing the furniture in catalogs were not available for sale, so she decided to start her own home decor catalog, Pique.

Having launched a Website,, in 2002, Gierz mailed the first Pique print catalog in October to contacts compiled from her 20 years in the furniture industry. Merchandise in the 14-page book includes a $20 set of African Porcupine Quills, handmade-Esperanto Pillows for $65, and wall art in the $2,000 range.

The Hudsonville, MI-based catalog also provides background about the artists and how particular pieces were made, as well as the best way to display them. “Pique offers art objects that have a spirit, a story; whether it is the process used to make the product or the materials or the vision of the designer, each carries a deeper connecting point,” Gierz says. “We focus on pieces that ‘complete’ your space.”

Pique’s response rate has met its projected goals, according to Gierz, and is generating a $700 average order. The next drop is not scheduled until fall, although Gierz plans to eventually mail the book quarterly.

One of the critical factors is finding product, says Gierz, because “the selection process for a piece is very controlled and must meet a set of requirements, which will drive publication time.” Each piece should enhance the others, she adds: “We’re not just picking stuff because it’s the most profitable, or because of how much we can move. Everybody has nice products; we want to expose more unique and individual products.”

Product category: home decor First mailing date: October 2003 Size of distribution: less than 100,000 Target audience: upscale, design-conscious consumers Frequency: once a year Competitors: Design Within Reach, Vivre, West Elm Average order size: $700 Number of pages: 14 Size: 10″ × 7″ Telephone: 866-747-8348

Inventive Solutions

After selling household items and gadgets to wholesalers, retailers, and mail order catalogs around the country for five years, Inventive Solutions has decided to go directly to consumers with its own catalog.

The first Inventive Solutions catalog mailed in February to 250,000 homes in nine western states, says John Gibney, who cofounded the company with his father in 1999. With the company’s fulfillment center and warehouse in Bend, OR, mailing exclusively to western states allows for them to keep an eye on their fulfillment process and work out any kinks before going nationwide. By the summer, however, Gibney expects to be distributing the catalog nationally.

Inventive Solutions’ products, which include tools and accessories for the home and garden and exercise equipment, range in price from around $5 up to $1,000. The average price point, Gibney says, “should hover right around $29.95.” The catalog’s response rate, he adds, has exceeded expectations.

To keep ahead of the catalog competition, Gibney says he and his father will continually search the globe for new, unique merchandise. “This will allow us to consistently provide variety to our customers,” says Gibney.

Inventive Solutions is set to mail twice a season for the rest of 2004, with perhaps three mailings during the holiday/winter season. At press time, the company was scheduled to launch a Website in March.

Product category: home, garden, and auto products First mailing date: February 2004 Size of distribution: 250,000 Target audience: suburban homeowners with household income of more than $50,000 Frequency: seven to eight times a year Competitors: Silvo Home, Solutions Catalog, Practica, AutoSport, Alstos Average order size: $29.95 Number of pages: 30 pages Size: 8″ × 10-1/2″ Telephone: 888-589-0690

Sigma Sportswear

As the former president of Plymouth, MI-based wholesaler Broder Bros., Todd Turkin knows the wholesale sportswear industry. He put this knowledge to use by launching Sigma Sportswear.

The Redford, MI-based catalog sells sportswear for screen-printing and embroidery. The product line includes T-shirts, golf hats, and sweatshirts; brands include Bella and Blake & Hollister as well as Sigma Sportswear’s own brand.

The first edition mailed to 20,000 embroiderers, screen-printers, and distributors of promotional products; the company rented most of the names from trade publications specializing in imprintable sportswear. Turkin kept the drop to 11 states, mostly in the Midwest along with a few on the East Coast, because he was familiar with distributors there.

The catalog’s response rate was three times greater than the company expected, says vice president of marketing Pam Turkin, Todd Turkin’s wife. The catalog’s average order is around $300. It helped that Sigma Sportswear promoted the mailing with an e-mail blast.

The catalog will mail only once this year, but Sigma Sportswear will send out a 2005 preview book in September to announce additions to its current list of 11 vendors. The preview will also showcase the company’s private line, which it plans on expanding next year. The Turkins hope to mail the catalog twice next year.

Product category: imprintable sportswear First mailing date: January Size of distribution: 20,000 Target audience: embroiderers, screen-printers, and promotional products distributors Frequency: once a year Competitors: Broder Bros., Alpha Shirt Co., S&S Active Wear, One Stop Average order size: $300 Number of pages: 72 Size: 8 1/2″ × 11″ Telephone: 888-642-0055

New Catalogs

Early Childhood Manufacturers’ Direct

Monterey, CA-based Early Childhood Manufacturers’ Direct (ECMD), a Web-only marketer for the past eight years, is giving its selection of furniture for children some new play with a print catalog. Excelligence Learning Corp., which acquired the company last February, launched the ECMD catalog in May with a mailing of 150,000 to previous ECMD and Excelligence customers, many of them preschools and day-care centers.

Excelligence’s Discount School Supply catalog sells its arts-and-crafts products to the same audience targeted by ECMD, notes Paul Estep, ECMD’s founder and Excelligence’s director of furniture and equipment. “We had the product expertise, and they had the catalog expertise,” says Estep.

Products include napping carpets, four-seat toddler tables, and storage units, with an average price point of $250-$300. So far, Estep says, the book is performing 25% above expectations, with an $800 average order value.

The company mailed an additional 300,000 copies of the same edition to prospects in July. This year, Excelligence is adding partitions and cafeteria seating to the product line.

Product category: children’s furnishings First mailing date: May 2003 Size of distribution: 150,000 Target audience: preschools and day-care centers Frequency: twice a year Competitors: Lakeshore Learning Corp., Kaplan Average order size: $800 Number of pages: 260 Size: 8″ × 10-1/2″ Telephone: 800-896-9951

Posh Tots

Believing that it’s never too early to introduce children to the finer things in life, Richmond, VA-based children’s furnishings and apparel Web marketer Posh Tots has mailed its first catalog.

The 120-page book, which dropped in September to 125,000 prospects and customers, sells unusual upscale furnishings for children’s rooms. How upscale? The cover item is a $39,000 Fantasy Coach Bed, a 7-ft.-tall custom-built canopy bed with a wooden staircase that resembles the pumpkin coach that carried Cinderella to the ball. Other products include the $3,745 Goldilocks Twin Four Poster Bed, $672 Colorado Cabin Bed Linens, and the $239 Aloha Citrus Cotton Flannel Rug.

Cofounders Andrea Edmunds and Karen Booth Adams started Posh Tots four years ago because they “saw a void in the market for custom and unique children’s decor” when decorating their own childrens’ rooms, says Edmunds, the company’s president. Two weeks after the catalog dropped, the number of phone calls coming in doubled, Edmunds says, and sales were up by 53%: “We saw that bump, and sales have been steady since then.” The average order size, says Edmunds, is $350. Best-sellers include the company’s line of iron cribs, including its $1,299 Bunny Iron Canopy Crib, as well as its line of hand-painted wooden cribs.

Edmunds says that Posh Tots plans to mail two or three editions of the catalog a year. The spring book, scheduled for March or April, will include more exclusive linen and apparel designs.

Product category: children’s furnishings and apparel First mailing date: September 2003 Size of distribution: 125,000 Target audience: pregnant women and upscale parents Frequency: two or three times annually Competitors: Pottery Barn Kids, Bombay Kids, Land of Nod Number of pages: 120 Size: 9″ × 11″ Telephone: 866-767-4868


Trying to choose between floor tiles and carpeting? Chicago-based Interfaceflor has your needs covered with its new Flor catalog. Launched in March 2003, Flor sells “modular carpeting” — carpet broken into tiles that can be mixed and matched, or made to resemble wall-to-wall carpeting.

Owned by Atlanta-based Interface, Interfaceflor launched its Website at the same time it mailed the 32-page debut catalog to 80,000 prospects, says vice president of marketing Chip DeGrace. The company believes its product line is a good candidate for mail order. “It’s very shippable and understandable, and it has no extra installation instructions,” DeGrace says. Used carpet tiles can also be sent back to the company to be recycled. Prices range from $6.99 to $9.99 per 19-1/2″ square. The average order is $200-$500; DeGrace says the response rate is 2%-4%.

The company dropped 80,000 copies of a second edition in late August and another 80,000 holiday catalogs in November; the latter edition mailed to about 10% more consumers than the previous two drops. Interfaceflor’s customer breakdown is now 65% professionals, 35% consumers. The company is considering mailing a consumer-specific catalog next year.

Product category: home furnishings First mailing date: March 2003 Size of distribution: 80,000 Target audience: interior designers and design enthusiasts, ages 30-55 Frequency: three times a year Competitors: PVH Carpet Tiles Average order size: $200-$500 Number of pages: 32 Size: 11-1/2″ × 19″ Telephone: 866-281-3567

Lighting for the Home

When East Chicago, IL-based business-to-business light bulb cataloger Top Bulb launched its Website in 2000, the 75-year-old company got a surprise: 40% of its online buyers turned out to be consumers buying for their home. With the needs of this new customer segment illuminated, the company mailed its first consumer catalog this past August.

Titled Lighting for the Home, the new book mailed to 50,000 customers and 50,000 prospects. “When our customer file changed, we likened ourselves to a 7-Eleven selling only milk,” president/CEO Philip Bonello says in explaining the company’s expansion into consumer items. The 72-page catalog features 300 lamps with an average price point of $200.

The company is placing a copy of Lighting for the Home in every outgoing Top Bulb package. The cataloger is also advertising in home decor publications as well as taking part in a cross-promotional package insert program with cataloger Professional Cutlery Direct: Copies of the latest Lighting for the Home catalog are placed in Professional Cutlery boxes, and that company’s catalog is placed in Lighting for the Home packages.

The second mailing is scheduled for March; the catalog will be sent to an additional 1 million prospects rented from other home decorating catalogs that sell to a similar demographic — upscale consumers, primarily women, ages 40-60.

For now, Bonello says, the catalog will have three drops a year. In two years, however, he may increase its mailings to monthly with “circulation spikes around key buying times.” The catalog will stick to lamps because that is what makes it unique, he emphasizes: “A lot of mailers sell lighting, but no one focuses exclusively on it.”

Product category: home lighting First mailing date: August 2003 Size of distribution: 100,000 Frequency: three times a year Competitors: Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Shades of Light Average price point: $200 Number of pages: 72 Size: 10″ × 7-7/8″ Telephone: 866-534-5267

New Catalogs


The DeSantis Collection, a cataloger of menswear suitable for the corner office, is now outfitting its audience for the weekends. Its HighRoads spin-off, launched in February, sells men’s casual apparel.

The debut edition mailed to 315,000 names from the DeSantis house file and rented lists. A Father’s Day edition mailed in May to 125,000 customers and prospects. A third drop, in June, mailed to 80,000 names. So far, says president Judi Fox, the title has pulled a 5% response, with an average order size of $100-$150.

With products such as $9.50 T-shirts, $34.50 rugby-style polo shirts, and $44 adjustable-waist pleated slacks, “the merchandise is a break for the man who wears his custom suit during the week,” Fox says. It’s also a break for his wallet, since all of the items in HighRoads are priced for less than $50, although Fox says that the fall catalog will sell sweaters from $50 to $100.

To promote HighRoads, Boca Raton, FL-based parent company Hassler Consortium placed blow-in promotional cards in The DeSantis Collection. launched in conjunction with the print edition. Fox says the catalog will mail 16 times annually, with five editions each year. Mailings will range in size from approximately 80,000 to 315,000.

Product category: men’s clothing First mailing date: February Target audience: middle- to-upper-income men ages 35-50 Frequency: 16 mailings, 5 editions a year Competitors: Lands End, Orvis, Territory Ahead Average order size: $100-$150 Number of pages: 36 Size: 8″ × 10-1/2″ Telephone: 800-790-3906


Active women need not run down to the mall to get specialty workout gear, now that Road Runner Sports has come out with a women’s fitness catalog.

Selling sport bras, tops, shorts, tights, running and walking shoes, and nutrition products, Activa is actually a new and improved version of My Sport Bra, a catalog tested in 2002. Road Runner Sports president Bill Ness says the company changed the catalog’s name to reflect its decision to broaden the selection and scope of the merchandise.

Activa, which sent out its first mailing in March to about 400,000 female Road Runner Sports customers and prospects, sells national brands such as Saucony, Champion, Nike, and Insport, as well as proprietary products. Merchandise includes $19.99 RRS Sportec Bras, $32.99 RRS Traveler Cargo Shorts, $59.99 Asics Gel 110 TR sneakers, and $89.99 Personal Body Fat Monitors. The average price point is nearly $45.

Ness envisions the typical Activa customer as an active woman who maintains a busy work and family schedule. “Providing a great selection of product to enhance their workouts through the convenience of catalog shopping saves the time and hassle of driving, parking, and searching for the right products,” he says.

Ness says that the catalog is performing 50% better than expectations. The average order size is more than $90. Throughout the rest of 2003, the company plans to expand Activa’s circulation to several million.

Product category: women’s athletic apparel First mailing date: March 2003 Size of distribution: 400,000 Frequency: eight times a year Competitors: Lady Foot Locker, Title 9 Sports Average order size: more than $90 Number of pages: 48 Size: 8″ × 10-1/4″ Telephone: 888-566-7792

Abbey Blessings

Believing that in turbulent and trying times, consumers often turn to sprituality, St. Meinrad, IN-based Abbey Press has unveiled Abbey Blessings, a catalog of inspirational gifts, books, and collectibles.

The catalog targets upper-income, educated women with children who are stressed juggling work and family life, says vice president of merchandising Jerry Knoll. “It seems like what the world needs now. People are looking for simplicity.” With prices ranging from $5 to $300, Abbey Blessings’ products are divided into categories such as “Slowing Down,” “Stillness,” “Hospitality,” “Spirituality,” and “Community.” Items include candle-holders with inspirational messages, a Zen Stone Garden, and a Serenity Prayer Reading Pillow.

Abbey Press, which mails four other catalogs — Abbey Press, Collections by Abbey Press, You & Yours, and Best of Abbey Press — launched Abbey Blessings last October. The catalog has a response rate of 3%-4%, consistent with those of the company’s other catalogs, says CEO Gerald Wilhite. The company plans to mail the Abbey Blessings title quarterly.

Product category: spiritual gifts First mailing date: October 2002 Target audience: educated, upper-income working women ages 35-55 Frequency: quarterly Competitors: New Frontier Marketplace, Peaceful Co., Charity’s Gifts of Faith Average order size: $80 Number of pages: 64 Size: 8-1/4″ × 10-1/2″ Telephone: 877-840-9305


Warm woolens, cozy cashmere, dapper Donegal tweeds… if your Irish eyes are smiling at the thought of such attire, Aireagal is your kind of catalog. Based in County Donegal, Ireland, this catalog aims to give American consumers Irish clothing with a twist. “It’s clothing that has a traditional feel with a bit of modern innovation,” says managing director James Gaffney.

Named for the highest mountain in County Donegal, Aireagal first mailed last October to 240,000 prospects. While the niche is specialty Irish clothing, Gaffney says the company is not specifically reaching out to the Irish-American community. Only about one-third of the catalog’s customers are of Irish descent; its target audience is upper-income, educated baby boomers.

Prices range from $9.99 for Celtic silver hat pins, a best seller, to $3,500 for custom-made Irish wedding gowns. Other products include $29.95 sterling silver Celtic crosses, $64.80 Irish Spring Stoles, and $58.50 Veronique Irish Silk Neckties.

The Aireagal catalog and Website, launched simultaneously, are performing 7% above expectations, Gaffney says, with the Internet accounting for 17% of sales. This fall the company plans to promote the catalog with a space ad program in a mix of Irish-American and mainstream publications. The company is also working with the Royal Mail in the U.K. to launch a British version of the catalog. In addition, Aireagal is looking into possibly opening factory-outlet-style stores in Ireland.

Product category: clothing and accessories First mailing date: October 2002 Target audience: middle-aged, upper-income Americans with a love of Irish products Frequency: seven annual editions Competitors: House of Ireland, Cashs of Ireland Number of pages: 68 Size: 10-1/2″ × 8-1/4″ Telephone: 800-838-9018

New Catalogs

Ultama Swimwear

Capitalizing on most women’s fear and loathing of trying on bathing suits in stores, Ultama Swimwear is delivering swimsuits to them via catalog.

Jacksonville, FL-based Ultama dropped 750,000 copies of its 48-page catalog in February and will publish three more editions between now and July, with specific dates to be determined, says executive vice president Jay Mann. A Website launched in February as well. To get the word out, Ultama invested in online keyword advertising and rented names from list service DRM.

Besides bathing suits, Ultama sells women’s casualwear at prices ranging from $50 to $92. One month after the launch, the average order size was $100.

The company plans to expand the catalog to 68 pages next year. Mann says the enhanced catalog will sell additional nonswimwear items, such as jeans, blouses, and dresses.
Margery Weinstein

Product category: women’s swimwear First mailing date: February 2003 Target customer: women 18-40 years old Frequency: four times a year Competitors: Venus Swimwear, Newport News Average order size: $100 Number of pages: 48 Size: 7-1/2″ × 11″ Phone: 904-268-0300

Paychex Employers’ Resource Directory

Human-resources services provider Paychex is hoping its new catalog will bring customers a big payoff in convenience. Targeting small businesses with an average of 14 employees, Rochester, NY-based Paychex in February mailed 440,000 copies of Paychex Employers’ Resource Direct.

Available only to Paychex clients, the catalog sells human-resources forms, software, and books. Prices range from $6.95 to $995, though the majority of products cost less than $50. Best-sellers include attendance systems, labor-law posters, and personnel forms. So far, the average order is more than $100, says business develop manager Michael Reed, who notes that Paychex created the catalog after listening to customers describe services they would like help with.

Reed says the company plans to simplify the organization of the catalog by placing merchandise in categories such as “hiring process” or “new employee.” Paychex will produce the catalog quarterly; the next drop is scheduled for this month.

Product category: human-resources products First mailing date: February 2003 Target customer: small-business owners Frequency: four times a year Competitors: G. Neil Co., HR Direct Average order size: more than $100 Number of pages: 24 Size: 10-1/2″ × 8″ Phone: 877-225-8207

Brooks Fine Jewelry

Until three years ago, Conway, AR-based jewelry designer Jeff Brooks sold his personalized designs exclusively to businesses. But once he launched a Website three years ago, consumers began ordering directly. To better reach consumers, in November he introduced the Brooks Fine Jewelry print catalog.

Prices range from $200 to $400. Items, which include pendants, rings, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings, are designed with durability in mind, Brooks says. He plans to begin selling jewelry pieces with interchangeable parts — for example, a ring with a removable gemstone that can be snapped onto a necklace.

So far Brooks is promoting the catalog exclusively via his Website and e-mail newsletter, which has a circulation of 6,000. He mails approximately 100 copies a month to requesters. The next edition of the 20-page catalog is planned for July, with another slated for October.

Product category: jewelry First mailing date: November 2002 Frequency: three or four times a year Competitors: Ross-Simons, Palm Beach Jewelers Average order size: $300-$500 Number of pages: 20 Size: 8-1/2″ × 11× Phone: 501-327-2686

House of Ireland

Relying on more than the luck of the Irish, Dublin-based gifts retailer House of Ireland in November mailed its first catalog exclusively to the U.S.

“The Irish market is quite small — only 4 million people, who are not traditionally mail-order buyers,” says CEO Roger Galligan. “Our product mix is aimed at the U.S. person looking for quality gifts.”

House of Ireland sells Waterford and Galway crystal, Belleek and Royal Tara china, and Celtic jewelry as well as Wedgwood, Lladro, and Hummel merchandise. Prices range from $10 to $1,350, with an average price point of $90. The average order is $130.

Galligan’s parents, Andrew and Eileen Galligan, founded the company in 1976 as stores in Dublin and at Dublin Airport. The House of Ireland Website launched in 1995. “We had developed a good customer base through our Web business and our bricks-and-mortar stores,” Roger Galligan says. “These provide the platform we needed to launch the print catalog.”

The first 64-page catalog mailed to 125,000 names in the U.S. Approximately 40,000 names came from visitors to the firm’s stores and from site requests, with the remainder rented.

Since the catalog launch, House of Ireland’s nonretail business has increased 75%, Galligan says. The next catalog will mail in May, with additional books scheduled to mail in August and October. Beginning in 2004, Galligan plans to send out catalogs four to six times a year. At the moment, the company is fulfilling all product from Ireland.
Peggy Bresnick Kendler

Product category: gifts First mailing date: November 2002 Target audience: mature gift buyers Frequency: three times a year Competitors: Cashs of Ireland, Woollen Mills Average order size: $130 Number of pages: 64 Size: 10-1/2″ × 8-1/4″ Telephone: 888-474-1366

New Catalogs

The Woolly Sheep

Rustic homes call for rustic decor. That’s the philosophy behind The Woolly Sheep, which sells rural-inspired home furnishings and gifts for owners of fishing cabins and country retreats.

The Woolly Sheep began as an Internet-only business in October 2000; in October 2002 it added a store at its Weed, CA-based headquarters. This past November, owner Chad Goldsmith launched a print catalog. “We saw a real need for the print piece for people who didn’t want to browse the Website but wanted to shop with a catalog,” he says.

The average catalog order is about $100; prices range from $3.95 for a wooden holiday ornament to $500 for a hickory rocking chair. The average price point is about $19.95.

The catalog first mailed to 7,000 people who had requested it on the Website. Goldsmith says that the company receives an average of 250 catalog requests each week; it currently has a house list of 10,000 names, all from customer requests. Response was impressive, Goldsmith says. The Woolly Sheep’s December sales alone were up 400% from the previous December, which he attributes mostly to the catalog.

The Woolly Sheep will follow up the initial 5-1/2″ × 8-1/2″ catalog with a full-size version, to be mailed in April to its house file. For future mailings, Goldsmith will consider renting lists from publications in which it advertises, such as Log Home Living magazine.

First mailing date: November 2002 Size of distribution: 7,000 Product category: home furnishings and gifts Target audience: vacation-home owners, rural decor fans Frequency: twice a year Competitors: Orvis, Norm Thompson Average order size: $100 Number of pages: 20 Size: 5-1/2″ × 8-1/2″ Telephone: 866-932-9665

Dan’s Chocolates

Randolph, MA-based Dan’s Chocolates mailed its first catalogs in November — just in time to tempt chocoholics for the holidays. Dan Cunningham started Dan’s Chocolates in November 1999 as a consumer Web-based business; the company also sells some of its handmade chocolates to specialty retailers nationwide.

Cunningham decided to branch out into print because “we saw other retailers finding success by leveraging print catalogs.” Although the company began including a catalog with outgoing orders in January 2002, it didn’t mail the book until late November. That first mailing went to 80,000 catalog requesters and customers.

Customer response to the initial catalog was brisk. “The month after the catalog was launched was the best sales month in company history,” Cunningham says. Holiday sales for 2002 were 38% higher than for holiday 2001. Catalog prices range from $19.99 for a half-pound box to $32.99 for a one-pound box; the average order size is $38.

Dan’s Chocolates donates 0.5% of each sale to charities chosen by Cunningham, including Teach for America, Care, America’s Second Harvest, and the New Orleans Musician’s Clinic.

Cunningham plans to mail a catalog three or four times a year, around key holidays including Christmas/Hanukkah, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s Day. He also plans to expand wholesale sales through the gourmet specialty retail channel.

First mailing date: November 2002 Size of distribution: 80,000 Product category: chocolates Target audience: chocolate lovers Frequency: three or four times a year Competitors: Godiva, Ethel M. Chocolates Average order size: $38 Number of pages: 24 Size: 8-1/2″ × 5-1/2″ Telephone: 800-800-3267

Tutti Bella/My Cowboy Baby

Calabasas, CA-based Web marketer Tutti Bella in August launched two print titles in one 16-page book. The 10-page Tutti Bella portion of the catalog sells bedding and furnishings for babies and toddlers, while the six-page My Cowboy Baby section sells similar baby accessories with a Western style, such as cowboy-themed bibs.

Kim Ciliberto founded Tutti Bella in 2000 as an online sales channel for her signature line of quilts and baby blankets, which she began making shortly after the birth of her son. A second online store,, followed in September 2001. Ciliberto says that she launched the print catalog to further spread the word about the company. “We believed a print catalog would also be passed along and have a bit of a shelf life with our customers,” she says. The book has boosted the company’s sales, but Ciliberto could not say by how much. The average catalog order is $70; prices range from $12 to $500.

Ciliberto mailed the initial catalog to 10,000 house file names. The file is now up to 20,000 names. She followed up the summer mailing with an oversize holiday postcard, mailed in October 2002.

The next catalog, scheduled to mail this month, will include merchandise from the new Tutti Bella Kids Website, which launched in February 2003 and sells items for children ages 3-8. Ciliberto says she plans to mail quarterly by 2004.

First mailing date: August 2002 Size of distribution: 10,000 Product category: baby furnishings and accessories Target audience: women 25-40 Frequency: quarterly by 2004 Competitors: Pottery Barn Kids, Babystyle Average order size: $70 Number of pages: 16 Size: 5″ × 7″ Telephone: 877-279-9391

Sino Treasures

From ceramics and puppets to handcrafted jewelry and tea accessories, Sino Treasures offers a wide variety of Chinese crafts and apparel. The Armonk, NY-based marketer mailed its debut catalog in September, the same time it launched its Website.

Dan Litwin, who founded the company with his wife, Georgia Chu, says they felt a print catalog was the best medium for conveying the quality of their merchandise. “Plus, there was no less-intrusive way of getting our stuff in front of potential customers. Banner ads, DRTV, telemarketing, print advertising, and e-mail marketing were either too annoying, too costly, or too slow,” Litwin says.

The first edition of Sino Treasures mailed to more than 100,000 names from rented lists. The company followed the initial mailing with a holiday remail of the first book in mid-November to the same lists. Sino Treasures, which targets Chinese-Americans, Sinophiles, and collectors, sells teapots, ceramics, and other items. Prices range from $25 to $700, with a median of just more than $100. Catalog orders average $175.

Sino Treasures plans to mail three or four times each year, increasing the number of mailings “once we’re comfortably in the black,” Litwin says. Its spring catalog, scheduled to mail in early April, will include a broader selection of handicrafts, which did well for the company, as well as additional apparel styles.

First mailing date: September 2002 Size of distribution: 100,000 Product category: Chinese crafts and apparel Target audience: Chinese-Americans, Sinophiles Frequency: three or four times a year Competitors: Gump’s, Horchow, China Sprout Average order size: $175 Number of pages: 32 Size: 8-1/2″ × 11″ Telephone: 866-746-6278

New Catalogs

Culture for Kids

Master Communications founder/CEO Selina Yoon aims to give children insight into the cultures of the world with the launch of Culture for Kids. The new catalog’s product line is similar to that of the Cincinnati-based company’s eight-year-old Asia for Kids title — books, CDs, toys, and apparel. But while Asia for Kids sells Asia-themed merchandise, Culture for Kids offers multilingual products in more than 30 languages and related to hundreds of countries.

Culture for Kids first mailed in October. Yoon had originally intended to introduce the title in autumn 2001, but she postponed the launch following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The 300,000-piece catalog mailing went to the entire mailing list of Asia for Kids as well as to prospects.

Though Yoon says it’s a little too soon to gauge results, “the overall response has been positive,” and the launch is on plan. The catalog’s average order is expected to be around $80; its price points vary widely from $1 to $450.

Yoon relied exclusively on staffers to launch Culture for Kids. In retrospect, she says that the company should have hired consultants to prepare itself for the operations issues involved with rolling out a spin-off. “We added more than 1,000 SKUs overnight, and we had a lot of people running around,” Yoon says, though she hastens to add, “That’s now in control.”

First mailing date: October 2002 Size of distribution: 300,000 Target audience: parents and teachers Frequency: twice a year Competitors: Chinaberry, Learning Resources, Imagine the Challenge Average order size: $80 Number of pages: 96 Size: 8″ × 10-1/2″ Telephone: 800-888-9589

Pedro’s Tamales

A steaming hot Tex-Mex meal is just a phone call away with the launch of Pedro’s Tamales. The new catalog delivers specialty foods packed in insulated cartons directly to your door.

Lubbock, TX-based Pedro’s Tamales started out as a manufacturer of tamales and other Tex-Mex products; it began drop-shipping items under a private label for a high-end cataloger in 1994. With the help of consultant Tony Cox, founder of Richardson, TX-based Catalog Solutions, in 1998 Pedro’s Tamales began mailing brochures and placing ads in Texas Monthly and Chili Pepper magazines. By 2001 the company was ringing up $250,000 annually in direct sales. All that was left, it seemed, was to introduce a catalog, which it did in November.

The initial 25,000-piece catalog drop was about a third of the size of Pedro’s Tamales’ previous brochure mailings, Cox says. But at press time, sales were trending 10% more than 2001 figures. Indeed, reports Pedro’s Tamales president/CEO Mike Hale, “we’re ahead of last year. We’re not hitting plan, but I’m still happy.” The average price point is $39.95.

Cox says he cut out all rented names for the catalog and stuck with mailing to house names. But he plans to increase circulation and eventually begin renting names.

First mailing date: November 2002 Size of distribution: 25,000 Target audience: Tex-Mex lovers Frequency: three times a year Competitors: Tex-Mex Gourmet, Salsa Express Average order size: $65 Number of pages: 16 Size: 8-3/8″ × 10-7/8″ Telephone: 800-522-9531

With the mailing of the catalog, 365 Inc. founder/president Bernard Frei aims to tap into the country’s growing interest in soccer following the U.S. team’s strong showing in last year’s World Cup.

365 Inc. was founded in 1998 as a rugby and soccer news Website; the online store was launched in February 2001, and the print catalog debuted in November 2002. Both the print and the online versions sell a host of jerseys, jackets, shirts, tracksuits, and caps from teams worldwide. Prices range from $10.99 to about $150.

The catalog targets passionate fans of soccer — largely European and South American immigrants. The Birmingham, AL-based company has built up a house file through its other Websites, such as and Though Frei had not measured response from’s first mailing, which was not fully complete at press time, he says, “It’s been a good reaction.”

At press time, Frei was still mailing the catalog but not actively promoting it, other than on his other Websites. But he plans to significantly build’s mail order business by buying software and hiring more employees within the next 12 months. Why? Frei says he believes the U.S. will win the World Cup in the next 10-15 years, and “we want to be an established part of the territory when that happens.”

First mailing date: November 2002 Size of distribution: 50,000 Target audience: soccer enthusiasts Frequency: twice a year Competitors: Eurosport, Epic Soccer Equipment Average order size: $80 Number of pages: 8 Size: 8-1/2″ × 11″ Telephone: 888-722-8365


Candles have long been a hot home product. Now new catalog Windflame aims to bring them into the garden. Windflame, launched by Minneapolis-based Luminosities, sells wind-resistant floating candles for patios, walkways, and other outdoor uses.

Although Windflame will target businesses and consumers, the audience at this time is exclusively wholesale, says sales director Linda Arnesen. The 12-page debut issue mailed to a house list of wholesale buyers in August.

Arnesen says prices were purposely omitted from the catalog to allow retailers to display the catalog in shops while setting their own prices. Response was “fantastic,” she says. “We got lots of orders from the catalog.” Aside from the catalog drop, Windflame also sells through trade shows and sales reps, Arnesen says. The catalog’s average order size is $700; the average wholesale price point is $7.

Arnesen says Luminosities plans to tweak the product selection of Windflame: “We’re going to add new products, we’re going to drop some. We’re constantly trying to change our product look.” To promote the catalog, Arnesen says Windflame has offered discounts on display items and free shipping.

First mailing date: August 2002 Size of distribution: 1,500 Target audience: retailers, female consumers Frequency: once a year Competitors: Aaron’s Outdoors Average order size: $700 Number of pages: 12 Size: 9″ × 9″ Telephone: 866-Windflame

New Catalogs


If faux fur is fabulous enough to wear, isn’t it also fab enough to scatter throughout the house? That’s the thinking behind Fabulous-Home, the second catalog from Covington, KY-based faux-fur apparel marketer Donna Salyers’ Fabulous-Furs.

Launched in April, Fabulous-Home sells animal-themed decorative items, such as an Elephant Tray and a Cheeta Coco Mat, for the home, garden, and patio. The catalog’s average price point is $119.

The 36-page catalog mailed to 150,000 prospects and house file names. Though Kevin Nickell, vice president for operations and strategic planning, won’t give specific figures, he says response and the average order size were “on plan.” Nickell says Fabulous-Home’s ideal customer is a 40- to 60-year-old woman who is a professional, a homeowner, married, and an empty-nester with plenty of discretionary income.

The initial mailing gave the company a solid idea as to what customers want, Nickell says. “We will focus our merchandising efforts more narrowly moving forward,” he says, “while adding more exclusive lines as well as more original inhouse designs to help maximize our earnings per book.”

Product category: home decor First mailing date: April 2002 Size of distribution: 150,000 Target audience: upscale women, ages 40-60 Frequency: three times a year Competitors: Ballard Designs, Horchow Number of pages: 36 Size: 8-3/8″ × 10-1/2″ Telephone: 800-848-4650

Gluten Free Market

Put down the unsalted rice cakes, food allergy sufferers. Gluten Free Market, a store in Buffalo Grove, IL, has launched a print catalog featuring gluten-free breads, pastas, cookies, and other goodies more palatable than the bland fare traditionally prescribed for sufferers of celiac ailments.

Gluten Free Market owner/founder Kelley Koeller launched the black-and-white print catalog in May in response to customers who wanted to buy the products without visiting the store but were unable or unwilling to shop over the Internet. (Gluten Free’s Website launched in February and became interactive in May.) The catalog has an average order of $100.

Koeller says that response to the book has been low: At press time Gluten Free had received only three phone orders. Then again, the catalog mailed only to requesters. One hundred books were dropped in May and another 400 in July.

Koeller initially planned to produce the catalog twice a year, but he is reevaluating the strategy now that the book appears to be primarily a traffic driver for the Gluten Free Website and store. Nonetheless, he is considering going to a four-color catalog presentation. For now, the next mailing is scheduled for early 2003, when Koeller expects to have 500-600 names on his list.

Product category: food First mailing date: May 2002 Size of distribution: 100 Target audience: people with food allergies Frequency: twice a year Competitors:, Gluten Solutions Number of pages: 28 Size: 8-1/2″ × 11″ Telephone: 847-419-9610

From Oreos to Ritz Crackers to Jell-O pudding, food brands giant Nabisco likely has a gift tin to please someone on your list. That’s why its Northfield, IL-based parent company, Kraft Foods, launched the catalog of munchies presented in an assortment of wicker baskets, tins, and specialty containers.

In May the company mailed 250,000 copies of the book, 80% to Kraft’s house file and the balance to prospects. Senior manager Michael J. Walker won’t give specific response rates, but says response “exceeded our projections.”’s expected average order size is $40-$50.

Nabisco had produced a food gifts catalog in the mid-’90s, but this new book is an offshoot of the company’s Website, which launched in fall 2001, rather than a resurrection of the earlier title. The new catalog, which will be published around Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and the fourth-quarter holidays, has a price range of $19.99-$99.99.

The company used a free shipping offer on the cover to encourage the use of promotion codes. This, Walker says, allows to track the performance of various test cells and will ultimately lead to better-targeted mailings.

Product category: gift baskets First mailing date: May 2002 Size of distribution: 250,000 Target audience: women gift-givers Frequency: two or three times a year Competitors: Popcorn Factory, Sweet Celebrations Average order size: $40-$50 Number of pages: 12 Size: 10-3/4″ × 6″ Telephone: 866-56-GIFTS

After 5

Cocktails, anyone? Santa Barbara, CA-based Surf to Summit, a retailer of thermal foam products, has introduced a catalog with the motto “Celebrating the art of celebrating.” Titled After 5, it sells a wide variety of dining, drinking, and entertaining accessories.

“Nothing is included just to hit a price point,” says Eric States, who with his wife, Julie, owns Surf to Summit. “If we would not give an item to our own family and friends, then it does not get in.” The catalog, which States will publish four times a year, sells items ranging from Martini Olive Socks for $9.95 to a portable bar for $1,860.

The first catalog, which went out during the holiday season to approximately 50,000 rented names, had a lower-than-expected response of 0.75%. “We have a lot of learning to do,” States admits. “We also did not have enough products.” The first book offered 80 items; the current book, which dropped in May, featured 200 items. Response to the May mailing was slightly more than 1%. States, who had expected a $60 average order, was pleased to receive an $80 average order instead.

States plans to increase the page count from 32 to 48 pages and to boost annual circulation to 1 million. After 5 will sell nearly 300 products in its next mailing, slated for October.

Product category: entertaining accessories First mailing date: November 2001 Size of distribution: 50,000 Target audience: retired upscale women Frequency: four times a year Competitors: Wine and All That Jazz, Wine Enthusiast Average order size: $80 Number of pages: 32 Size: 10-1/2″ × 7-1/2″ Telephone: 866-523-8375

New Catalogs

Helten, Best of Design

Did you ever enter the lobby of a posh skyscraper, sit down on its finely crafted European sofa, and wonder where you could get one of your own? Richmond, VA-based retailer Helten, Best of Design now sells a collection of upscale European furniture and accessories by catalog.

Helten targets both interior designers and consumers interested in high-end European furniture. The catalog sells home and office furnishings and accessories from 35 European vendors. Prices range from $9 for a key ring to $4,000 for a sofa. The first mailing, in February, went to 100,000 names, some rented and some from online catalog requests.

Response has been “a lot lower than expected,” admits chief financial officer/sales manager Kerstin Wuestefeld. “You can’t expect too much when you send the catalog out the first time. Nobody knows the name, and nobody knows the product, so it’s hard to tell before you send anything out.” The company is happy with the catalog’s $300 average order size, however.

Since its launch, the catalog has been tweaked to give the products a more user-friendly look. Previously, the book had an art-magazine look; products were featured in regal, museum-type settings. The second edition, published last August, displayed the merchandise in living rooms and office-type settings.

Product category: furniture First mailing date: February 2001 Size of distribution: 100,000 Target audience: interior designers and consumers Frequency: twice a year Competitors: Full Upright Position, Design Within Reach Number of pages: 24 Size: 6″ × 8-1/2″ Telephone: 866-4Helton

Kitchen & Much More

Paoli, PA-based Taylor Gifts doesn’t abide by the saying “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” The cataloger wants consumers to get in the kitchen, preferably with cooking products they bought from Kitchen & Much More, its newest title. (In addition to the gifts and home products Taylor Gifts catalog, the company also mails the Get Organized catalog of organizational and storage products.)

The debut edition of Kitchen & Much More mailed in December to the best names from the Taylor Gifts house file as well as to some rented names. According to catalog manager Carollynn Chisena, response was “double-digits better than we projected.” Buoyed by the response, the cataloger will increase the circulation of future mailings 43%. The next edition is scheduled for this month. The average order consists of two products; the average price point is $30.

Kitchen & Much More uses several promotions to entice customers to order, such as a free gift for orders of $35 or more. The catalog also offers customers deferred payment as another tool to boost sales.

Product category: kitchen products First mailing date: December 2001 Size of distribution: approximately 3 million Target audience: women 35-60 years old Frequency: three times a year Competitors: Home Marketplace, Brylane Kitchen Average order size: $60 Number of pages: 56 Size: 7″ × 10-1/2″ Telephone: 800-515-1165

My French Store

Parlez-vous français? Even if you don’t speak French, the Arlington, MA-based My French Store catalog can help you make your home look as if you do.

Launched this past September, the catalog sells French home goods, from Provencal table linens to ceramics from Rouen. The company, which has operated a Website for three years, mailed about 10,000 copies of the debut catalog, says marketing director Severine Fenez. Half of the catalogs went to online customers and the rest to prospects. Catalog customers received a 10% discount if they ordered online.

Although she won’t disclose specifics, Fenez says that response was “huge,” with consumers over the age of 40 the most receptive. The average order size is $100.

At press time, My French Store had postponed plans to produce a fall book. “We were going to publish a catalog in September, but we are postponing it because of the unstable economic situation,” Fenez says.” She did not know when the company will mail another book.

Product category: home accents First mailing date: September 2001 Size of distribution: 10,000 Target audience: upscale consumers Frequency: once a year Competitors: French Country Living, Rue de France Average order size: $100 Number of pages: 32 Size: 8-1/2″ × 11″ Telephone: 888-793-9200

Little Reader

The tagline of the Little Reader catalog says it all: “books for children ages 0-8.”

A division of Shawnee Mission, KS-based Varro Press, Little Reader first mailed in April to 5,000 rented names in the Midwest region of the U.S., from Illinois to Texas. Varro Press president Michael Nossaman says Little Reader did a “dual launch” of its print catalog and Website and is still looking to determine which channel is most effective. Response from the catalog, he says, is “about what we thought for a small run like that, probably 1.5%-2% above expectations.”

Little Reader has an average order size of $38; the average price point is $11. Nossaman plans to look for other lists in the future, with an eye to prospecting more in rural areas and among grandparents. He also intends to eventually launch a Young Reader catalog for children over the age of 8.

Varro Press, which publishes a self-titled catalog of books for public safety professionals, has been in the niche catalog business for about 10 years. The company’s promotional strategies for Little Reader include a free book with a first order and with any order of more than $40. Every purchase also generates “Little Reader dollars” that can be redeemed through the catalog or the Website.

Product category: children’s books First mailing date: April 2002 Size of distribution: 5,000 Target audience: affluent parents and grandparents Frequency: twice a year Competitors: Chinaberry, Bas Bleu, A Common Reader Average order size: $38 Number of pages: 48 Size: 8-1/2″ × 11″ Telephone: 888-208-1340

New Catalogs

Spa 2 Go

With its selection of aromatherapy products, oils, and soaps, Spa 2 Go is a highly relaxing business-to-business catalog. After two years of distribution in Canada, the manufacturer/marketer of personal care products entered the U.S., mailing 5,000 copies of its first catalog in January.

The catalog will “help us continue growing at our present rate — approximately 100% annually,” says president Sandy Nattress. Based in Collingwood, Ontario, Spa 2 Go targets retailers and catalogers, such as Bloomingdale’s and Anthropologie, that in turn target women ages 16-50. The catalog sells natural, cruelty-free products with names such as Skin Candy and Blushing Bride. Prices range from $10 to $25.

The initial circulation mix was 60% prospects, 30% inquirers, and 10% customers. The response has been “exceptionally good,” Nattress says, with a response rate of 5% and an average order size of $500.

After the first drop, Spa 2 Go mailed an additional 10,000 copies in March and plans to drop 10,000 more this month. Subsequent books will include new products such as a feng shui collection.

Product category: personal care products First mailing date: January 2002 Size of distribution: 5,000 Target audience: gifts retailers and catalogers Frequency: three times a year Competitors: Blue Q, Jacqua Girls Average order size: $500 Number of pages: 16 Size: 6″ × 11″ Telephone: 416-467-9852

Entertainment Earth

From Barbie dolls to Lord of the Rings miniatures, Entertainment Earth sells a wide range of collectibles. Established in 1996 as a Website, the North Hollywood, CA-based marketer mailed 75,000 copies of its debut print catalog in June 2001 to acquire customers and raise the company’s profile, says president Jason Labowitz.

The 16-page catalog targets males between the ages of 18 and 45. The circulation was an even mix of prospects, inquirers, and buyers. The catalog touts the Website’s top sellers and limited-edition items. Prices range from $10.99 for an action figure to $1,499.99 for a replica Darth Vader light saber.

The catalog achieved a 1.5% response rate and an average order size of $101. Labowitz plans to increase the page count to 48 and to boost the circulation to 175,000. The book will mail on a quarterly basis, with the next catalog due to arrive in homes in July. Entertainment Earth aims to increase repeat purchases and build its customer base through aggressive prospecting and insert programs.

Product category: collectibles First mailing date: June 2001 Size of distribution: 75,000 Target audience: toy collectors, males ages 18 to 45 Frequency: quarterly Competitors: Hot Topic, Noble Collection, Legend’s Toys & Hobbies Average order size: $101 Number of pages: 16 Size: 8″ × 10″ Telephone: 800-370-2320

Brand X Pictures

Graphic designers and other art buyers have a new source for royalty-free images: the Brand X Pictures catalog. Launched by Los Angeles-based graphics marketer PictureArts to build brand awareness and drive sales, the first issue of Brand X Pictures mailed in January to 130,000 graphic designers and art buyers. Approximately 70% of the circulation went to prospects, while the remaining 30% mailed to PictureArts clients.

The 36-page catalog offers a sampling of the parent company’s 15,000 graphics and photos. Prices range from $29 for a single image to $369 for a CD-ROM with multiple graphics. Customers can also download images from the Brand X Pictures Website. The company has had success promoting volume discounts for multiple CD-ROMs to increase the average order.

Brand X Pictures measures the responsiveness to its catalog in the number of new registrants to its Website. Marketing manager Jamie Greenberg says that the print catalog accounts for about 30% of the company’s new online registrants, making the catalog more effective than the marketer’s print advertisements.

Brand X Pictures is contemplating tweaking the catalog’s size and circulation, Greenberg says. Three or four issues are set to mail during the year, with the next scheduled for July.

Product category: royalty-free imagery First mailing date: January 2002 Size of distribution: 130,000 Target audience: graphic designers, art buyers Frequency: three or four times a year Competitors: Digital Vision, Comstock, Getty Images Number of pages: 36 Size: 8″ × 11″ Telephone: 866-427-2639

BBC America Shop

American viewers have long been hooked on British TV series such as Absolutely Fabulous and Fawlty Towers. Cable network BBC America, which airs U.K. programming exclusively, is one way such Anglophiles can get their fix. And for those who don’t receive BBC America, the network has introduced a print catalog selling videos and related gifts and books.

The BBC America Shop catalog debuted in September with a 300,000-piece mailing to prospects, inquirers, and buyers from ads on the BBC channel and Website. Prices range from $12.98 for a paperback copy of Wives and Daughters to $199.98 for the complete video collection of Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

BBC America Shop tested three covers, says Allison Haberman, director of BBC Direct: one with no offer, the second offering free shipping, and the third promoting dollars off a purchase. The free shipping offer performed the best.

Although specifics weren’t available, Haberman says the average order size was “significantly above” projections and response rates were “encouraging,” particularly in light of the mid-September mail date.

BBC America Shop mailed an additional 200,000 copies in November and another 300,000 in January. At least two more editions are slated for this year.

Product category: videos and gifts First mailing date: September 2001 Size of distribution: 300,000 Target audience: upscale consumers, Anglophiles Frequency: quarterly Competitors: Signals Number of pages: 12 Size: 10″ × 6″ Telephone: 800-216-1BBC

New Catalogs

Bear & Co.

Manufacturer The Boyd Collection decided that children’s books about the adventures of fictional bears would complement its line of teddy bears. Then it decided that the best way to sell the toys, accessories, and original stories would be to launch a catalog, Bear & Co.

The 24-page catalog debuted in October with a test mailing to 1 million households, most of them from rented lists. The catalog has four product lines: the Digby and Molly dolls and books for children ages three years old and up; My Home, for ages four and up; Duke the Detective, for those five and older; and Sebastian the Suitcase Bear, for ages six and up. The product lines (except for the My Home series, which consists only of plush toys) include several books, bears, and furniture and other accessories for the teddies. A bear-and-book set sells for $45; prices for other items range from $5 for an adjustable bear stand to $79 for a child’s costume.

Initial response and average order size figures were not available at press time, but the company plans six mailings for 2002, with an expanded merchandise offering. “There are 90 SKUs in the catalog, and we’re looking to add another 40 or 50 this year,” says Tara Houser, spokesperson for the Gettysburg, PA-based company. The books will also be available in bookstores by midyear.

Product category: children’s books and toys First mailing date: October 2001 Size of distribution: 1 million Target audience: children ages 3-10 Frequency: Six times a year Competitors: Disney, Pleasant Co. Number of pages: 24 Size: 10-1/4″ × 10-1/4″ Telephone: 800-596-4577

Hope & Cope Co.

Juliet Eaton’s experience as a cancer patient inspired her to start Hope & Cope Co., a 32-page catalog of cards and gifts designed to help others “practice kindness” toward ailing friends and family. When sick, “I noticed people didn’t know how to respond,” says Chillicothe, IL-based Eaton, whose cancer has been in remission since 1996.

The company mailed 4,100 copies of Hope & Cope in October to rented names from catalogs such as Abbey Press as well as to requesters from ads in cancer-care magazines such as Mamm. The catalog sells books, keepsakes, jewelry, and hats for those going through chemotherapy. Prices range from $6 for a tranquility door hanger to $54 for an Angel of Hope wall plaque. Many products are from suppliers, but a few, such as the Chemo Care Package, Eaton invented. The average order size is $60.

The company donates 10% of its profits to the American Cancer Society and provides free shipping to any hospital in the United States. Eaton hopes to increase circulation to 25,000-50,000 and will increase the number of SKUs from 100 to about 150 for the spring book, which is scheduled to mail in May.

Product category: inspirational gifts First mailing date: October 2001 Size of distribution: 4,100 Target audience: cancer patients, their friends and family Frequency: twice a year Competitors: Choose Hope Average order size: $60 Number of pages: 32 Size: 8-1/2″ × 11″ Telephone: 877-611-4673

River Reflections Sportswear

After working together on the Winona apparel catalog, Lynda Carothers and Dave Piro decided to launch their own women’s sportswear title.

“When the family that ran the [Winona] catalog decided to get out of the business, we developed an alliance with Winona Printing here in Winona, MN, and started River Reflections Sportswear in spring 2001,” says art director Piro. The 32-page debut edition mailed in late August to 175,000 rented names. A 48-page holiday book dropped in November.

The catalog sells products from many of the same vendors that had supplied the Winona title, including Alps Sportswear, Chuck Roast, and Woolrich. Among the approximately 1,000 SKUs are V-neck sweaters for $29.99, jumpers for $49.99, and frontier jackets for $59.99. Customers will also find a variety of exclusive embroidered designs.

The combined fall and holiday response rate was 1.5%, according to catalog director Carothers, exceeding the company’s expectations of a 1% response. The average order size is $120. Carothers hopes to produce four editions a year but in the meantime will continue to send out mailings every few weeks to keep the mailing list active.

Product category: women’s apparel First mailing date: August 2001 Size of distribution: 175,000 Target audience: women ages 24-54 Frequency: four times a year Competitors: Appleseed’s, Seasons Average order size: $120 Number of pages: 32 Size: 8-1/2″ × 10″ Telephone: 507-454-5743

Old Durham Road

Anglophiles have a new source for all things British: Old Durham Road. Launched by Norfolk Lavender catalog owner Pickering & Simmons, the 40-page Old Durham Road first mailed in September to 400,000 rented names of Anglophiles and consumers with an interest in British home decor and history.

“Many of our customers are British or of British heritage,” says Arline Friedman, co-owner of Edison, NJ-based Pickering & Simmons. Prices for the catalog’s English-inspired gifts and accessories range from $5 for a stenciled hand towel to $395 for a rattan sofa. The catalog’s average order size is $68.

Pickering & Simmons is also the exclusive U.S. distributor for The Royal Collection of commemorative items of Princess Diana and her family home, Althorp House. Old Durham Road’s Website offers links to sites on which customers can shop for items from the Royal Collection and products created exclusively for Althorp by Princess Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer.

“Considering it’s a new catalog and when it was launched [Sept. 10], we are very pleased with the response,” Friedman says. The company plans to drop 300,000 copies of a spring edition at the end of this month and will eventually mail four editions a year.

Product category: gifts and home decor First mailing date: September 2001 Size of distribution: 400,000 Target audience: Anglophiles Frequency: four times a year Competitors: Eximious, Creative Irish Gifts Average order size: $68 Number of pages: 40 Size: 8″ × 11″ Telephone: 866-298-1626

New Catalogs

To spread the word about its telephone headsets, three-and-a-half-year-old marketer mailed its first print catalog in August. The San Francisco-based company sent 90,000 copies to house file and rented names. targets offices and call centers with office, wireless, and cellular headsets from name brands such as Plantronics and GN Netcom; it also produces a proprietary line of headsets.

Overall, response has been slightly above plan, says president/CEO Mike Faith. “Response from some segments has been lower than what we expected, and some segments higher,” he says. “Some prefer a catalog, and some don’t.” The average order size is $250. included a coupon for $10 off the first purchase in 10,000 catalogs sent to people who had requested a copy online. The company has also sent out solo mail pieces, such as postcards, fliers, and inserts, to customers and prospects for the past three years, and it will continue such mailings between catalog drops.

Catalog mailings are planned for four to six times a year. The second mailing, in November, went to 200,000 customers and prospects. While the first edition of the catalog measured 9″ × 5-1/2″, this second edition was 8-3/8″ × 5-3/8″. Subsequent books will stick with the slightly smaller size. At press time, a third mailing of 500,000-1 million catalogs was set for January.

Product category: telephone headsets First mailing date: August 2001 Target audience: offices and call centers Frequency: 4-6 times a year Competitor: Hello Direct Average order size: $250 Number of pages: 48 Size: 9″ × 5-1/2″ Telephone: 800-450-7686


Want to zip up your Audi? New catalog Stratmosphere sells aftermarket parts for late-model Audis. After two years selling online, the Rush, NY-based company mailed 20,000 copies of its first catalog in December to customers and rented names.

Stratmosphere products include software to make the car go faster, suspension for shocks and springs, exhaust systems, brakes, car covers, and floor mats, from manufacturers in the U.S., the U.K., and Germany. The 12-page catalog offers only about one-third of what is available on the Website. The company will increase the amount of product for sale in the catalog over time, says Stratmosphere co-owner Peter Ryckaert.

At press time, it was too early to measure response, but the company is receiving 100 catalog requests a week on its site. Ryckaert expects the average order size to be the same as that of the Website, $400.

The company plans to hand out catalogs at summer trade shows for Audi products. Stratmosphere is also placing ads in European Car magazine and Audi Quattro Quarterly, and it runs promotions and participates in forums on sites such as It also sends e-mails to its house list at least once a month.

The next catalog mailing is planned for June, with a circulation of 28,000 and an increased page count of 20.

Product category: automotive parts First mailing date: December 2001 Size of distribution: 20,000 Target audience: Audi enthusiasts Frequency: twice a year Competitor: LLtek Motorsports Number of pages: 12 Size: 8-1/2″ × 11″ Telephone: 866-533-1777


Are you in the market for a wristwatch from World War II? Then you’ll be interested in WarTimers, a new catalog from San Diego-based Sunset Cliffs Merchandising Corp., which publishes the Deutsche Optik catalog of military optics and instruments. WarTimers launched this past October with a 100,000-piece mailing to house file and rented names.

The 16-page catalog sells military watches, clocks, and accoutrements from manufacturers such as Bullova and Elgin. Products include originals, re-creations, and vintage pieces, with some crossover with the Deutsche Optik catalog. The average order size is $300.

Response so far has been below plan, says marketing and advertising manager Pete Alexander, but it indicates a strong market for watches selling for less than $1,000, and solid demand for watches that cost more than $3,000. In the $1,000-$3,000 price range, however, “competition is severe, and the choices are myriad,” Alexander says.

WarTimers did a piggyback mailing with the November/December 2001 issue of International Wristwatch magazine, which has 10,000 subscribers. WarTimers will also run ads this spring in magazines such as American Time and Watch Time.

The next issue will mail in June. The company hopes to at least triple its circulation, adding more rented names. The next catalog will also have more products and run to 20 or 22 pages.

Product category: timepieces First mailing date: October 2001 Size of distribution: 100,000 Frequency: twice a year Competitor: Tourneau Average order size: $300 Number of pages: 16 Size: 8-1/2″ × 10-1/2″ Telephone: 800-225-9417


Frecklefarm, a Unionville, PA-based farm, is now also a home accessories catalog. The company printed 10,000 copies of its debut issue, 2,000 of which it mailed this past July to rented names in affluent zip codes. The rest were mailed to respondents to space ads in Victoria and Country Living magazines. Articles in those publications generated requests as well.

Frecklefarm sells handmade home accessories, such as lamps, bowls, baskets, and quilts. Prices in the 16-page catalog range from $36 to $400; the average order is $105. Frecklefarm owner Robin Sherwood writes the catalog in diary form, giving each edition a different theme and title. The first issue was called Settling In; the next edition, titled Beauty, will mail in March to 8,000 house file names.

The response rate from catalog requestors has been above plan, says Sherwood. The company does not do large mailings at one time but instead sends out catalogs as requests come in and mails its house file names each new edition.

The second issue will feature new products such as jewelry and gloves. Frecklefarm is considering doing a holiday decorating and gifts edition this year and may add furniture to its product line in the future.

Product category: home accessories First mailing date: July 2001 Size of distribution: 2,000 Target audience: affluent women ages 38-60 Frequency: twice a year Competitors: French Country Living, Plow & Hearth Average order size: $105 Number of pages: 16 Size: 8″ × 10″ Telephone: 800-481-6337

New Catalogs

After launching as a men’s apparel Website in April 2000, mailed its first print catalog in June. The San Diego-based company sent 50,000 copies to house file names (including 7,500 requesters) and rented names.

The catalog sells men’s sportswear to college-educated men with active lifestyles, mainly ages 25-35. The 32-page catalog does not sell all of the items available on the company’s site, says founder/CEO Cheryl Hudson. Instead, it offers new products and best-sellers, such as its Panel shirts and Palladium Pampa High Top shoes. Although Hudson won’t provide specifics, she says that the initial response rate was greater than anticipated; the average order size is $120.

The company advertised the catalog online, on portal among other sites, and ran ads in men’s magazines such as Men’s Fitness and Exercise for Men. The Website runs contests for gifts such as T-shirts to encourage visitors to sign up for the catalog or the e-newsletter.

For the next mailing, of up to 300,000 copies this quarter, Hudson is increasing the trim size from 4-1/4″ × 5-1/2″ to 8-1/2″ × 11″ to display more products and hopefully increase response, she says. The company also plans to increase the page count to 48 for its spring mailings.

Product category: men’s sportswear First mailing date: June 2001 Size of distribution: 50,000 Target audience: college-educated men ages 25-35 Frequency: four times a year (with additional monthly mailings in between) Competitors: International Male, The Territory Ahead Average order size: $120 Number of pages: 32 Size: 4-1/4″ × 5-1/2″ Telephone: 888-477-2625

Everything Baseball

Baseball lovers and fans can cheer for the Everything Baseball catalog, which launched in August. The Green Harbor, MA-based company mailed 8,400 copies to baseball enthusiasts.

The 52-page catalog, designed inhouse, sells 342 baseball-related items, including apparel, figurines, and furniture. Prices range from $1.49 for a bookmark to $1,799 for a bronze statue of a boy pitching; items are not team or player specific, says president/owner Mike Hurm.

The catalog targets current and past Major League Baseball players and umpires, as well as college coaches, parents of children who play baseball, and nonplaying fans. The company did not rent lists for the first mailing; instead it acquired names through contacts in the baseball industry and from extensive searches on the Internet for colleges and youth-baseball organizations.

At press time it was too soon to measure the catalog’s initial response rate, but Hurm is projecting a response rate of 2%-3%. So far, the average order size is $77.

The company plans three mailings for next year, with the next one of 20,000-25,000 copies scheduled for March — in time for spring training. The cataloger will rent lists for the next mailing. Everything Baseball also plans to launch a Website early next year.

Product category: baseball-related gifts First mailing date: August 2001 Size of distribution: 8,400 Target audience: baseball players and fans Frequency: three times a year Competitors: Baseball Express, Star Struck, Baseball Hall of Fame Average order size: $77 Number of pages: 52 Size: 8-1/2″ × 11″ Telephone: 800-634-9960

Terry SportSkorts

Ever try to ride a bicycle wearing a skirt? Betting that many women have and were frustrated by the effort, Terry Precision Bicycles sells the SportSkort, a combination shorts/skirt that is the core product in its new catalog.

The Macedon, NY-based manufacturer/marketer, which sells bikes and cycling apparel and accessories through its Terry Precision Cycling catalog and Website, tested the skort catalog in January, says vice president of marketing Paula Dyba. About 39% of the initial 105,000 copies went to house file names and the rest to prospects. The company mailed another 200,000 catalogs in May.

The 5-1/4″ square, 24-page catalog sells SportSkort performance wear in a variety of sizes (including plus sizes) for activities such as golf, tennis, and running. The catalog also sells some sport tops. “The new catalog broadens our apparel line and target audience, reaching a lot of active, sporty women,” says Dyba.

The initial catalog response rate was 0.8%, though including online orders the total initial response rate was 1.2%. Now, 45% of orders are placed through the Web, says Dyba. The average order size is $115.

Terry plans three mailings for next year, with the next drop, of 200,000 copies, scheduled for January.

Product category: women’s apparel First mailing date: January 2001 Size of distribution: 105,000 Target customer: women sports enthusiasts Frequency: three times a year Competitors: Title 9, Athleta, L.L. Bean Women’s Outdoor Average order size: $115 Number of pages: 24 Size: 5-1/4″ × 5-1/4″ Telephone: 800-289-8379

Gifted Child

Rather than trendy clothes or video games, ‘tweens — children ages 7 to 12 — need products that stimulate their minds, says Gerald McKee. That’s why McKee started Gifted Child, a Harrisburg, PA-based catalog of educational toys and crafts kits for children.

McKee mailed the first Gifted Child in November 2000 to 190,000 affluent parents and grandparents whose names it rented from such marketers as Bloomingdale’s by Mail; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and Pottery Barn Kids. Within three weeks, the book generated nearly a 1% response rate, with an average order size of $128 — above the projected $110.

The 32-page catalog sells 125 SKUs, primarily kits and products aimed at engaging children in creativity or exploration, such as the Young Astronomer Package for $218, and the Young Sculptor Package for $134. McKee hopes to increase the number of products in the catalog and on the Website, which launched in October 2000, to more than 200 SKUs.

The fall catalog, which mailed in October, had an order form — something missing from the first book. “When we launched, we were prepared to take only credit-card orders, not check orders,” McKee says. “We didn’t want to test too many variables with the first book.” McKee had hoped to increase circulation for the Gifted Child fall catalog to 1 million, but he mailed only 250,000 copies instead, because the company had difficulty getting additional funding in light of the ailing economy.

For spring, the company will mail a catalog that sells activity kits for use in warmer weather. And for holiday 2002, McKee hopes to mail 1.5 million catalogs.

Product category: toys First mailing date: November 2000 Size of distribution: 190,000 Target audience: upscale parents and grandparents Frequency: four times a year Competitor: Grandparents Toy Connection Average order size: $128 Number of pages: 32 Size: 8-1/2″ × 11″ Telephone: 866-Gifted-1

New Catalogs

Mothers in Motion

Just because a woman is pregnant doesn’t mean she can’t work out. The new catalog Mothers in Motion sells activewear designed to enable pregnant women to exercise comfortably.

Round Rock, TX-based Mothers in Motion launched its 16-page catalog this past September. Between 50,000 and 60,000 copies were mailed since then. About half of the mailing went to requesters who had seen the company’s ads in Fit Pregnancy and American Baby and Pregnancy magazines, had seen its Website (launched in 1999), or had heard of the marketer from prenatal fitness centers or ob-gyns. Mothers in Motion targets both pregnant women and healthcare professionals, says owner Beth Hilpert, so that healthcare workers can recommend its patented support-system maternity product line, such as running shorts and a sports bra, to patients.

The catalog is also driving traffic to its Website, which has seen a 300% increase in sales since its 1999 launch, says Hilpert. Along with the catalog, discount coupons are sent to customers to be used for orders placed.

Two new catalogs, which expand the Mothers in Motion product line to include activewear for full-figured women and for women over 40, were to launch in July.

Product category: maternity activewear First mailing date: September 2000 Size of distribution: 50,000-60,000 (in all since launch) Target customer: pregnant women Frequency: once a year Competitor: eStyle Average order size: $115 Number of pages: 16 Size: 9″ × 11″ Telephone: 877-512-8800

She Works

Are you a working woman in need of a combination purse, portfolio, and briefcase? Or maybe a dual time-zone watch? You’ll find these items and many others geared to working women in the new catalog She Works.

The Kenniwick, WA-based company mailed 300,000 copies of the 32-page catalog in November 2000 to rented names. The product line of 300-400 SKUs includes office accessories and travel items. “Our female audience, ages 30-55, has more money than time,” says CEO Sharon Atkin. Prices range from $11 to $40; the average order size is $90.

Atkin says the initial response rate was better than projected certainly high enough to encourage her to move forward. The company ran a two-page spread in the January issue of inflight catalog SkyMall, which helped drive traffic to the She Works Website. An ad in the June issue of Working Woman magazine also generated catalog requests and Web traffic. So far, 30% of sales are from the Website, which also launched in November.

In May, She Works mailed nearly 100,000 copies of its second edition, a 36-page book offering 60 products in addition to those in the debut catalog. Another catalog mailing, of 300,000 copies, is scheduled for September. The company plans to publish the catalog four times a year.

Product category: office and travel accessories First mailing date: November 2000 Size of distribution: 300,000 Target customer: women professionals ages 30-55 Frequency: four times a year Competitors: T. Shipley, eBags Average order size: $90 Number of pages: 32 Size: 8-1/2″ × 11″ Telephone: 800-201-3669

PrAna Yoga

PrAna is a Sanskrit word meaning “life and energy”; it’s also a brand of yoga and climbing apparel sold in 600 stores and yoga studios nationwide in more than 23 countries. Now, PrAna Yoga is a new catalog that the manufacturer dropped in April.

The San Diego-based PrAna, which also produces the Odyssey catalog of climbing apparel, mailed 50,000 copies of the 24-page yoga products catalog to its house file of yoga-apparel customers, yoga studios, and names of respondents from space ads in yoga journals and the magazines Climbing and Rock & Ice. In addition to selling men’s and women’s yoga apparel, PrAna Yoga offers yoga mats and other accessories.

The average order size from consumers is about $100, says marketing manager Mike Hill. And since the catalog was sent primarily to requesters, nearly every recipient placed an order, he says, leading to a greater-than-projected response rate.

The catalog, designed by studio, can be also be seen in Flash format on the company’s Website, which is not e-commerce enabled. PrAna will publish a new yoga catalog each spring. Each edition will offer new products and photographs, as well as feature a unique design, including different catalog dimensions.

Product category: yoga apparel and accessories First mailing date: April 2001 Size of distribution: 50,000 Target customer: yoga practitioners Frequency: once a year Competitor: Yoga Zone Number of pages: 24 Size: 9″ × 9″ Telephone: 800-557-7262

Clasen Home

To help consumers feather fine nests, bedding and home furnishings manufacturer Clasen has created a catalog.

The Madison, WI-based company mailed 200,000 copies of the first edition of Clasen Home in February 2001. Names came primarily from list rentals, but also from space ads in such upscale shelter magazines as Victoria and House & Garden. The target audience is educated women ages 25-55 with active lifestyles.

Clasen Home’s merchandise line includes duvet, candelabras, upholstered headboards, chairs, and ottomans. The products are also available on the company’s Website, which launched in February as well.

Citing the slowing economy, general manager Alan Shepard says the initial response rate was lower than expected but good enough to continue with the catalog. The average order size $220 was higher than the $200 anticipated, he adds. To adjust its offering for the more austere economy, Clasen will add more lower-priced accessories to the next edition of the catalog, set to mail in September. These items will drop the catalog’s average price point from $250 to $150-$175; the average order size is expected to decrease as well, says Shepard.

Clasen will mail about 300,000 copies of the fall edition, approximately 25,000 of them to house-file names. The company plans to mail the catalog three times next year.

Product category: home decor First mailing date: February 2001 Size of distribution: 200,000 Target customer: active, educated women ages 25-55 Frequency: three times a year Competitors: Horchow, Ballard Designs, Gump’s by Mail Average order size: $220 Number of pages: 28 Size: 9″ × 10-1/2″ Telephone: 800-366-4443

New Catalogs

This month’s selection of new catalogs are committed to good food, good service, exotic antiques, and European treasures.

Elevate Your Image

To help lodging and food-service companies better outfit their personnel, healthcare apparel cataloger Angelica Image Apparel (AIA) introduced Elevate Your Image. The business-to-business catalog, which sells a full range of apparel for front-desk, housekeeping, and wait staff, among others, replaces AIA’s previous hospitality catalog, Confirming Your Arrival.

St. Louis-based AIA mailed 15,000 copies of the 224-page perfect-bound catalog in April, half to house file names and the rest to rented names. The catalog is also distributed to requesters from the company’s Website and through sales representatives who travel to businesses nationwide, says Amal Mansuri, manager of marketing communications and public relations.

So far, the new catalog’s average order size is approximately $350, Mansuri says. The catalog was designed to have a shelf life of 18 months, so the company does not yet have another drop scheduled right now, although a tentative drop for mid-2002 is planned.

Product category: hospitality apparel First mailing date: April 2001 Size of distribution: 15,000 Target customer: lodging and food-service providers Frequency: less than once a year Competitors: Fashion Seal, Uniforms to You Average order size: $350 Number of pages: 224 Size: 10″ × 12″ Telephone: 800-222-3112


After running a five-page advertising insert in the previous three issues of the upscale magazine Veranda, antiques and home decor marketer Wisteria launched its catalog in April.

The Dallas-based company mailed 150,000 copies of the 24-page catalog primarily to women ages 30-40 who are interested in home decor, arts, and antiques. The company rented the names from a variety of lists, says owner Andrew Newsom.

Newsom projects about a 1% response rate from Wisteria’s first mailing and an average order size of $200 — similar to the response from the Veranda inserts. The approximately 60 products, which range in price from $18 to $379, change constantly, since the antiques are limited in quantity and sell out quickly, says Newsom. Customers can also order through Wisteria’s Website, which launched in January.

Wisteria plans to mail the catalog three or four times a year, depending on response from its first drop.

Product category: home and garden decor First mailing date: April 2001 Size of distribution: 150,000 Target customer: women ages 30-40 Frequency: three or four times a year Competitors: Ballard Designs, Horchow Average order size: $200 Number of pages: 24 Size: 11-1/4″ × 8-3/4″ Telephone: 800-320-9757

Treasures from a Bygone Era

Sovietski Collection, a cataloger of merchandise from Eastern Europe, is expanding its horizons with Treasures from a Bygone Era. The new catalog, which sells tabletop items, apparel, and home decor, first mailed to 500,000 house file and rented names in March.

The San Diego-based company launched Treasures to reach a broader female audience than the Sovietski Collection catalog does. Selling products that are targeted to both men and women “makes merchandising and circulation challenging,” says president Mitch Siegler.

About half of the products sold in the 52-page Treasures catalog, including Russian porcelain, Eastern European crystal, and wool shawls, are also available from the Sovietski book. Treasures’ remaining items, such as a British phone booth and a French bistro table, are from outside Eastern Europe. “We are not limited geographically” with merchandise in the Treasures catalog as with the Sovietski catalog, Siegler says. The catalog’s average price point is in the $35-$40 range; Siegler expects the average order size to be $100.

The Treasures catalog will be published twice this year, with remails in between; the next edition is scheduled to come out this fall/holiday. Next year, Siegler is planning to mail three editions.

Product category: home decor and collectibles First mailing date: March 2001 Size of distribution: 500,000 Target customer: women ages 35-55 Frequency: three times a year Competitors: Past Times, Art & Artifact Average order size: $100 Number of pages: 52 Size: 8″ × 10-3/4″ Telephone: 800-482-4179


Inspired by response from his TV and radio shows, chef Michael Chiarello cooked up the NapaStyle catalog of his favorite pantry basics, cooking tools, and organic products from in and around California’s Napa Valley.

The St. Helena, CA-based NapaStyle mailed 100,000 copies of the 20-page catalog in November as a test run. In January and March, the company mailed an additional 120,000 copies collectively. A new 32-page edition was to be mailed in three consecutive drops, totaling 550,000, in April, May, and June.

About 10% of the original catalog recipients were viewers and listeners of Chiarello’s programs who registered on the company’s initial Website,, to receive e-mail newsletters and catalogs. The remaining names came from rented lists of food, wine, and cooking enthusiasts ages 30-60. NapaStyle especially targets prospects in areas where Chariello’s TV show is aired, including Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and San Francisco.

In the months since the catalog’s test mailings, the house file has doubled, says vice president of marketing Eileen Gordon. The first mailing exceeded expectations, with a response rate three times greater than projected, and a $70 average order that was twice the amount anticipated. Response from the house file was 10 times higher than from the prospects. The price range for the test was $8-$200, and $8-$800 for the spring/summer edition.

Two new editions are planned for August and October, Gordon says. Next year, four new editions are planned.

Product category: kitchen and food products First mailing date: November 2000 Size of distribution: 100,000 Target customer: food enthusiasts ages 30-60 Frequency: four times a year Competitor: Dean & DeLuca Number of pages: 20 Size: 8-3/4″ × 9-1/2″ Telephone: 866-776-6272

New Catalogs

Oriac Design

German cataloger Cairo has invaded the U.S. with the launch of Oriac Design, a designer furnishings catalog. Newton, MA-based Oriac (“Cairo” spelled backward) is an independent spin-off of Grosse Umstadt-based Cairo.

The company mailed 300,000 copies of the 100-page catalog in November, primarily to rented names in the Northeast — a region with a high concentration of the target audience of professionals, such as doctors and lawyers, says Oriac president Warren Sukernek. Oriac also wanted to focus on a specific region for the launch so that it could deliver on its philosophy of “ordered today, shipped tomorrow.”

The catalog sells contemporary European designer furniture and accessories for the home and office, with prices ranging from $8 to $5,000. The catalog targets style- and design-conscious individuals, typically 35-50 years old. With an average order size of $400, Sukernek says the company is “pleased” with the response to the first catalog drop.

The company dropped 300,000 copies of the second edition last month to major U.S. cities, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami. Sukernek plans to publish Oriac Design four times a year.

Product category: designer furniture and accessories First mailing date: November 2000 Size of distribution: 300,000 Target customer: style-savvy individuals ages 35-50 Frequency: four times a year Competitors: MOMA catalog, Design Within Reach Average order size: $400 Number of pages: 100 Size: 8-1/2″ × 11″ Telephone: 866-466-7422


After 25 years of selling gourmet teas wholesale to retailers and catalogers, manufacturer Davidson’s is targeting consumers through a catalog.

Based in Sparks, NV, the company mailed an eight-panel foldout catalog — each with sample tea bag — in October 2000. A second edition mailed in January. The catalog sells Davidson’s line of teas, accessories, and gifts, such as tea holder tins. Prices range from $10 to $60; the average order size is $30-$40.

Owner John Davidson says the company had amassed a house file of the names of 3,000 consumers who had ordered or made inquiries about the products in retail stores. In addition to mailing to its house file, Davidson’s sent the book to 10,000 rented names.

The next edition is a summer promotional piece — an “iced tea” mailing with sample iced tea bag that will drop this month to 4,500 customers, primarily from its house file. The company would like to mail the catalog four times a year, Davidson says. Future catalogs will include more products, pages, and photography. Davidson also hopes to boost circulation and order size.

Product category: tea First mailing date: October 2000 Size of distribution: 13,000 Target customer: females ages 40-60 Frequency: three times a year Competitors: Stash Tea, Republic of Tea Average order size: $30-$40 Number of pages: 8 Size: 7″ × 11″ Telephone: 800-882-5888

Galls Military

Law enforcement equipment cataloger Galls has enlisted a new market with the launch of Galls Military. The Lexington, KY-based catalog targets individuals in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard, selling apparel, field gear, and other equipment for military professionals and government procurement personnel. Prices range from $2.99 to $1,500.

The company mailed 70,000 copies of the first edition of Galls Military in July 2000, 50% to house file names and 50% to list rentals. Although vice president of advertising Tim O’Malley won’t give exact numbers, he says that the response to the first mailing was “fair, but successful” and that the average order size exceeded expectations and was higher than the average order size of Galls’s core catalog.

The company plans to mail Galls Military twice a year, O’Malley says, but the seasons for the drops have yet to be determined.

Product category: military products First mailing date: July 2000 Size of distribution: 70,000 Target customer: military professionals Frequency: two times a year Competitors: Ranger Joe’s, U.S. Cavalry Number of pages: 68 Size: 7-3/4″ × 10-1/4″ Telephone: 800-477-7766


Swell is riding the wave of demand for surfer gear and accessories by launching a catalog. The 68-page book first mailed in November to 300,000 customers and prospects on both coasts.

Swell started in spring 2000 as a Website that offered visitors who registered the chance to win vacations. An e-commerce site debuted in October, a month before the catalog mailed, says John Broderick, Swell’s executive vice president of commerce operations. The San Juan Capistrano, CA-based company targets consumers 14-26 years old who are interested in the surf lifestyle, including surf apparel and gear. Nearly 35% of Swell customers are women.

Broderick says the cataloger is pleased with the 2% response to the first mailing. The average order size of the catalog is $85, and the average price point is $50. The second mailing dropped in February, with circulation increased to 400,000 and the page count increased to 84. Customers can also order from Swell’s Website (, which provides links through which customers can view surf conditions and receive weather reports.

As part of its prospecting efforts, Swell has placed reply cards in Surfing Magazine to drive consumers to its Website or request a catalog. In return, Swell has bound Surfing reply cards into its catalog.

Swell plans to mail the catalog four times a year: February, May, August, and November. Broderick says the company also plans to spin off specialty catalogs, such as one specializing in swimwear, during the year.

Product category: surfing gear First mailing date: November 2000 Size of distribution: 300,000 Target customer: 14- to 26-year-old surfers Frequency: four times a year Competitors: Big Yank Average order size: $85 Number of pages: 68 Size: 7-3/4″ × 10-1/2″ Telephone: 866-255-7873

new catalogs

In what has become a trend, all of our new catalogs this month started as Websites.

Twins Help

Shortly after Marsha and John Zimmerman became the happy parents of twins in 1998, they realized they had few options for products and services geared to multiple-birth parents. To take some of the struggle out of being parents of twins, the couple launched a Twins Help Website ( in October 1999, followed by a 24-page print catalog in June 2000.

The catalog sells products such as coordinated clothing for children and diaper bags that hold enough gear for two tykes. It also features hints and tips on parenting multiples.

“Probably our biggest challenge has been finding suitable mailing lists,” John Zimmerman says. The cataloger depends heavily on the Twins magazine subscriber file and the lists of regional organizations devoted to multiple births. But finding a list company to help target this niche has been difficult, he says — despite the fact that 2.6% of all U.S. births are twins.

The Zimmermans, who run operations under their firm, Miller Zimmerman Ltd., were impressed with the catalog’s response rate of more than 3%. Orders averaged $50-$100, with silk-screened T-shirts being the most popular items. The company plans four mailings in 2001, of at least 30,000 books each, and more if they can find additional sources of names.

Product category: products for multiples First mailing date: June 2000 Size of mailing: 30,000 Target customer: parents, friends, and families of multiples Price range: $2-$500 Competitors: Multiple Trends Frequency: four times a year Number of pages: 24 Size: 8-3/8″ × 10-7/8″ Telephone: 888-440-8946

Next Monet

In hopes to help more consumers find that next Monet — or Renoir, or Picasso — Web marketer Next Monet launched a print catalog. The company has more than 10,000 original works of fine art available on its Website; the 56-page catalog that dropped in November sells more than 130 images, both framed and unframed, with prices ranging from $150 to $25,000.

The first mailing went to 350,000 names, 95% of which were rented, says founder/CEO Myrna Nickelsen. The catalog targeted previous art consumers ages 27-47 with an annual income of more than $75,0000.

Nickelsen says she was pleasantly surprised at the initial results. The average order size during the first week was $3,500; at press time, further analysis had not yet been done.

The catalog’s performance made Nickelsen a believer in direct mail: “It was a less-expensive way to let people know that we exist than traditional advertising, and we could target it more readily with rented names.” The company tentatively plans to mail the catalog quarterly.

Product category: original art First mailing date: November 2000 Size of mailing: 350,000 Target customer: upscale consumers ages 27-47 Price range: $150-$25,000 Competitors: Art and Artifact Frequency: four times a year Number of pages: 56 Size: 9″ × 11″ Telephone: 877-696-6638


Hoping to put a glow on the faces of upscale consumers, high-end cosmetics marketer Glo launched a 34-page catalog in November 2000. The catalog sells beauty products such as Sud Pacifique fragrances and Therapy Systems skin care, with prices ranging from $8 to $195.

In addition to serving as a sales channel, the book is part of Glo’s aggressive brand-building campaign, says spokesperson Kelley Kovak. Glo believes the catalog is less expensive and has greater revenue potential than traditional advertising. “It’s the strongest marketing vehicle we have and it reaches the most people,” Kovak says. The company also has three stores and a Website (

Of the 210,000 women who received the initial mailing, 90% came from rented lists. The others were Glo customers or requesters. The company targets women 25 and older who wear designer clothing. “The merchandise appeals to active working women with a certain amount of disposable income,” Kovak says.

The catalog’s initial results met company expectations, netting an average order of $111 and a response rate of approximately 1.5%. The next mailing, a drop of 350,000, is scheduled for this month.

Product category: cosmetics First mailing date: November 2000 Size of mailing: 210,000 Target customer: affluent women ages 25 and up Price range: $8-$195 Competitors: Bliss, Beehive Botanicals Frequency: four times a year Number of pages: 34 Size: 6-1/2″ × 9″ Telephone: 800-462-5790

As an upscale gifts Web marketer, casts a wide net. In November, the company increased its reach with a 1 million-piece mailing of its debut print catalog.

“About half of the addresses for the mailing came from the database of Reader’s Digest, which owns 80% of,” says president Ralph Pinto. The other 20% of names came from rented lists. Selection for the mailing was broad, reflecting the company’s aim to appeal to a wide range of gift buyers and gift-giving situations, he says.

Results from the November mailing have been satisfactory, “with an average order of $200 and a response rate of approximately 5%,” Pinto says. The average order may have been driven up by the fact that the most popular item was also one of the most expensive: a Panasonic video camera priced at more than $900. Other products range from a sushi-making kit for $39 to authentic gold Liberty coins for $999.

Pinto found that Web and catalog customers’ buying patterns differ. “People ended up buying more gifts for themselves from the catalog,” he says. “But it was also a Web driver. And when customers went to the Web, they tended to buy gifts for other people.” mailed 1 million copies of a Valentine’s Day catalog in January and plans to drop another 1 million catalogs in April. It also has a back-to-school mailing and three holiday mailings slated for 2001.

Product category: gifts First mailing date: November 2000 Size of mailing: 1 million Target customer: gift buyers Price range: $100-$1,000 Competitors: Ross-Simons, Red Envelope Frequency: six times a year Number of pages: 48 Size: 8″ × 10-1/2″ Telephone: 877-455-4438


`Chicken Soup’ Goes Gourmet Reading Etc. tested its new catalog locally `so that we could make mistakes on a small scale.’

Publishing company HCI Communications is best known for its Chicken Soup for the Soul series of books. But you wouldn’t know it from the company’s new catalog and store.

HCI launched the Reading Etc. catalog in August, around the same time it opened its first Reading Etc. store, next to its Deerfield Beach, FL-based headquarters. Both the catalog and the store sell upscale accoutrements such as fountain pens, desk accessories and furniture, and organic coffee. Prices range from $10 for a bookmark to $6,500 for an armoire home-office work station. Only the reverse side of the catalog’s order form promotes the Chicken Soup books.

The 32-page debut edition of the Reading Etc. catalog mailed to 105,000 prospects in South Florida who lived within a “reasonable” radius of the store, says director of consumer marketing Karen Ornstein. Names were rented from compiled lists that provided demographic information about income and discretionary spending. For holiday, HCI mailed a 40-page edition in early October to another 150,000 local names rented from compiled lists and other catalog companies. The first drop for 2001 will be Feb. 15 to a national pool of prospects.

Ornstein won’t specify which catalog lists Reading Etc. uses, but she says the names come from a mix of department store mailers, museum catalogers, and home decor books. She believes these more targeted catalog lists will result in a higher conversion rate of buyers than compiled lists.

Already, the response rate to the second mailing is “considerably higher,” and the average order size has doubled with the addition of names from catalog lists, Ornstein says. The catalog seems to be generating more store traffic as well. HCI monitors traffic by enclosing a coupon for a free coffee at the store’s cafe in each catalog and tracking coupon redemptions.

As a book publisher, HCI’s infrastructure enables the Reading Etc. catalog to be created, produced, and printed inhouse. Fulfillment is done inhouse as well. Ornstein says that since the warehouse is adjacent to the store and the catalog’s corporate offices, communications between the front end and the back end have been almost seamless: “We purposely tested this venture in a small area so that we could make our mistakes on a small scale, learn from them, and make corrections before the full, national launch – and we think this strategy is going to pay off.”

new catalogs

Magellan’s Women’s Edition to better serve its substantial portion of female customers, travel gear cataloger Magellan’s has launched a title especially for women. The Santa Barbara, CA-based company mailed Magellan’s Women’s Edition in February to 750,000 prospects and house file names.

“We have realized over the years that a majority of our buyers are women,” says marketing manager Jack Kotowski. “So we wanted to give them a greater variety of items to choose from.” Many of the items sold in the spin-off, such as the woman’s travel journal and luggage and strollers for children, are not available in the core book. Kotowski says that it is too early to determine the response rate, but the average order size is $70.

For now, Magellan’s plans to publish the women’s catalog only once a year. “We decided this was a good time to test ways in which to grow,” Kotowski says. N

Richardson Electronics industrial maintenance professionals have another catalog source for parts and components, thanks to the February launch from Lafox, IL-based industrial parts distributor Richardson Electronics. The debut catalog edition mailed to more than 20,000 names from the company’s house file, says David Ross, director of marketing communications.

The book sells electronic components, equipment, and assemblies for industrial, communications, medical, scientific, and security applications. “We launched the catalog to provide more personal service to our current customers and to target customers that we haven’t been able to reach through our conventional outside sales force,” Ross says.

The company is still analyzing results and won’t disclose the average order size or price range of products in the catalog. N

Refresh feeling good and looking great “is big business,” says Sharen Jester Turney, president/CEO of Dallas-based NM Direct. “And competition in the beauty and spa products field is going to get fierce.” To establish a foothold in the niche, the $284 million catalog division of high-end marketer Neiman Marcus launched Refresh, a catalog selling spa products, in October.

The catalog sells high-end skincare products from brands such as Keihl’s, Chanel, and Natura Bisse, as well as aromatherapy candles, brushes, manicure tools, and loose-fitting, spa-appropriate apparel. Turney says the catalog, which mailed to more than 1 million Neiman Marcus customers, has exceeded expectations, though she won’t disclose sales or response. N

Mxyplyzyk new York gifts and home decor retailer Mxyplyzyk has put its hard-to-spell name in print with the launch of a catalog. Often confused with Mr. Mxyzptlk, a villainous “Superman” comics character, the name Mxyplyzyk (pronounced “miz-eh-pliz-ik”) is something the company’s founders made up, says Terry Wendell, manager of catalog operations.

The catalog debuted in May with a mailing to 10,000 names from the Greenwich Village store’s house file. Prices for the merchandise, which ranges from rice paper lamps to shiny tricycles for toddlers, run from $16 to $325.

“One of the reasons we launched the catalog is because a portion of our customers-it could be as much as 30%-are from other parts of the country and visit the store when in New York,” Wendell notes. “They’ll also call us from home with orders. So our customer base is out there.” Mxyplyzyk also plans to launch an Internet catalog.

new catalogs

Peerless Family Album of Coffee Competition in the specialty coffee catalog market is hot, but that hasn’t stopped Peerless Coffee from tapping the niche. “Our retail customers kept asking us to mail them our coffee, so we decided there was probably a market out there for us,” says Sonja Vukasin, owner/executive vice president of the Oakland, CA-based Peerless Coffee marketer.

The catalog, which launched last August, sells high-end coffee products, as well as teas and spices. The company’s niche is matching premium estate coffee bean blends and roasting styles. “We select a specific roasting style for each of our coffees to bring out the optimum flavor,” Vukasin says. The book targets gourmet catalog buyers between 35 and 65 years old.

The response to the first mailing was between 1% and 2%, in line with the company’s expectations. Peerless plans to double the catalog’s circulation to 100,000 for mailings planned for fall and holiday.

Maravilla World Furniture Importers In addition to selling furniture and other home decor items, the not-for-profit Maravilla World Furniture Importers is trying to help countries such as Nicaragua. “We buy our furniture and accessories from poor Latin American countries, such as Brazil and Venezuela, and give the proceeds to even poorer countries,” says Sandra Behrens, president of Behrens, a Kirkwood, MO-based for-profit architecture, design, restoration, and construction firm. Behrens also runs Mission de Los Ninos, a nonprofit group that benefits children in Latin America.

Maravilla’s products include iron, wicker and hardwood furniture with a Latin American flair, as well as pottery and other accessories. The catalog mailed to Behrens customers and names of upper-income female mail order buyers rented from other furniture catalogs. The goal for Maravilla was 1% response with an average order of $190; results exceeded expectations, with a 1.5% response rate and average orders hitting $250. Behrens plans to expand the catalog’s frequency and circulation, as well as its product line, for future mailings.

Fun Stuff Ever wonder where arcades and amusement parks get their prize toys? Play By Play in San Antonio, TX, manufactures these items, and is now selling them direct to consumers in its Fun Stuff catalog, which debuted in March.

The company, which launched in 1992, mailed 45,000 catalogs direct to consumers, with the remaining 255,000 going to teachers, daycare centers, and medical and dental offices. Response came in at a shade more than 1%. “We’re encouraged by the numbers,” says director of operations James Paulsen.

For the future, Paulsen expects to sign more licensing agreements, like the deal the company now has with Looney Tunes, to offer a wider range of plush toys, trinkets, and gifts.

People Places Things ‘We put clothes on J. Jill, and now we’re furnishing her home,” says Chris Fawcett, director of marketing analysis for DM Management, the Hingham, MA-based catalog company (soon to be known as J. Jill Group) that publishes the J. Jill and Nicole Summers apparel catalogs.

People Places Things sells an eclectic collection of home furnishings, accessories, and bed and bath items in contemporary and Southwestern styles targeting the J. Jill customer-upscale females with a relaxed style. “We tested some home items in our J. Jill apparel catalog, and they went over well. Plus, there’s growth in the home furnishings market, so we decided to test the market with People Places Things,” says Fawcett. The cataloger mailed the book to J. Jill customers, as well as to names from other apparel and home goods catalog lists. “The response is going according to plan,” he says.

New Catalogs

Equine Discount USA The former owner of PetSmart’s Equine Supply catalog is back in the mail order saddle. In February, Vern Wiese launched Equine Discount USA, an Eldon, MO-based consumer catalog that sells English and Western saddles, tack, fly sprays, supplements, blankets, and other horse-related products.

“We have everything a horse owner needs, including some riding apparel,” Wiese says. The catalog’s average order exceeds $100; the response rate was too early to call at press time.

To obtain names, Wiese swaps lists with suppliers, rents compiled lists of horse owners, and solicits catalog requests from his Website ( He says he has also tested all the horse magazine subscriber lists on the market.

Wiese has been mailing 30,000 catalogs on the first of each month. He expects to take a short break after May to revamp the book and will then increase monthly mailings. The former cataloger says he returned to mail order after selling his company seven years ago because “I missed the business.”

Imagine the Challenge As a parent and former teacher, Bonnie Savage takes a personal interest in marketing educational products. That’s why Savage-whose husband owns the Sid Savage Auto Dealer catalog of auto parts-started Imagine the Challenge, a catalog of “smart” toys, games, and books that targets the parents and grandparents of young children.

Adam Carrick, vice president of the Taylor, MI-based catalog, says that Imagine the Challenge tried a number of lists, including compiled lists, publications, and exchanges with other catalogs. “We were disappointed in the compiled and publication lists, but we did well when we exchanged names with [co-op databases] Abacus and SmartBase.”

After initially mailing 250,000 catalogs last September, the company plans to increase circulation, largely by relying more on list exchanges. “We did a good job of estimating our response,” Carrick says, though he won’t cite specific figures. The catalog’s average order is $75.

Alloy Here’s a switch: While many print catalogers are launching Websites, online teen apparel marketer has mailed its first print catalog. Using the names of registered Website visitors, Alloy first mailed 150,000 catalogs in November 1998. Matt Diamond, CEO of the New York-based company, says the catalog continues to go out about every five weeks. Like the Website, the print catalog sell clothes and accessories for teenage boys and girls.

Although he declines to give numbers, Diamond says the test response “exceeded expectations.” While the company is generating names from its Website in order to grow the catalog, it is also using the book to promote the online catalog. As online sales grow, Alloy will mail fewer catalogs, Diamond says.

Cyrk’s C3 he “C3” stands for “Cyrk Clothing Co.” in the title of a new catalog from the Gloucester, MA-based promotions marketing company Cyrk.

C3, which sells promotional clothing for men and women, was developed primarily to introduce quality women’s wear into the promotional clothing market, which has long been dominated by men’s clothing manufactured with heavy fabrics. “Our customers were asking for a women’s line,” says Ruth Hagopian, Cyrk’s merchandising director. “Previously customers were unhappy with the fit and styling of corporate wear offered by other promotional companies.”

The response has been positive, says Anne Crowe, marketing manager of Cyrk’s corporate promotions group. “It’s beating our expectations.”

New Catalogs

Les Meubles de Provence South Side Imports, a Ft. Lauderdale, FL-based furniture importer, is using its Les Meubles de Provence catalog to develop relationships with customers as much as to generate orders. “When customers saw our furniture in the catalog, [even if they didn’t make a purchase] they often wanted to know what other furniture we had available,” says owner Phillipe Hocquaux.

The catalog presents imported French Country furniture, with prices ranging from $500 to $5,000; the average order is $3,000.

To expand the company’s local import business, the initial catalog run targeted Florida interior designers and consumers responding to space ads in regional magazines such as Florida Design.

For the next catalog, scheduled to mail in April, Hocquaux plans to increase the circulation and to mail beyond Florida. “We’ve had good response,” he says, “so this year we’ll target the whole U.S.”

Product category: French Country furniture

First mailing date: March 1998

Size of mailing: 500

Target customer: consumers and interior designers

Competitors: French Country Living, Rue de France

Price range: $500-$5,000

Annual frequency: 1

Number of pages: 20

Size:8-1/4″ x 11″

Telephone: 954-567-0337

The Claude Monet Collection Our catalog targets the Monet lover,” says Tim Hennessy, president of Masterpiece Gardens, a Cincinnati-based wholesaler of high-end artificial floral arrangements. Hennessy obtained a license from The Claude Monet Museum in Giverny, France, to create faux floral arrangements inspired by Monet’s famous gardens, including the artist’s signature water lilies, for The Claude Monet Collection catalog.

The museum had been Monet’s home. “We actually stayed on the grounds to study his two gardens and design floral replicas,” Hennessy says. The catalog also offers replicas of vases and stepping stones from the grounds.

The catalog’s net response of 2.8% has exceeded expectations. “French is in,” says Hennessy, “so we’re adding a catalog this year of replicas from The Palace of Versailles,” which will be bound into The Claude Monet Collection catalog.

Product category: artificial flowers

First mailing date: May 1998

Size of mailing: 150,000

Target customer: mid- and upper-income homeowners, age 35 and up, mostly women

Competitors: Horchow, Neiman Marcus

Price range: $24-$349

Annual frequency: 2

Number of pages: 24

Size:8-1/2″ X 11″

Telephone: 513-771-5871

DSGN Aiming to envelop the masses in a designer environment, Totem Design Group’s DSGN catalog sells inexpensive home furnishings, lighting fixtures, and accessories by top designers. “Our goal is to make good design more accessible,” says Gail Schultz, marketing director of the New York-based furnishings wholesaler/retailer. Prices begin at $5 and go up to $3,500, with many items costing less than $100.

DSGN also includes editorial on design trends. “We want to educate people on design and designers,” says company president David Shearer. Simultaneously with the initial November mailing to Totem’s retail and publicity lists, the company launched a virtual catalog on its Website (

The average order is in the $100-$200 range, exceeding company expectations, says Shearer, “so we’re going to increase the size of the mailing. We’ll probably double it every couple of issues.”

Product category: designer home accessories

First mailing date: November 1998

Size of mailing: 20,000

Target customer: mid- and upper-income homeowners

Competitors: Museum of Modern Art, Room

Price range: $5-$3,500

Annual frequency: 4

Number of pages: 36

Size: 8-1/2″ x 11″


Alliant Energy Resources Home Products We present products that offer comfort, security, and productivity for the home,” says Michelle Meyer, who heads up the Home Products catalog of Alliant Energy, a public electric utility serving Wisconsin and Iowa. Products range from humidifiers to monoxide tests and alarms. “We selected products not readily available through retail outlets,” Meyer says.

In building a database of catalog buyers, the Madison, WI-based utility wasn’t legally allowed to use its own customer list for commercial purposes, so it rented lists of catalog buyers in its two-state territory for an initial mailing in November 1998 of 100,000. While Meyer won’t cite figures, she says that both response and average order were greater than anticipated. The catalog also meets the utility’s twofold objective: It advertises the utility’s services and creates an additional source of revenue.

Product category: home safety and comfort products

First mailing date: November 1998

Size of mailing: 100,000

Target customer: catalog buyers in Wisconsin and Iowa

Competitors: The Safety Zone, Real Goods Trading

Price range: $8-$450

Annual frequency: 4

Number of pages: 16

Size: 8-1/2″ x 11″

Telephone: 608-259-7321

new catalogs

O’Brien Brothers: Life In High Gear for some, cars aren’t simply a means of transportation, but a way of life. Brothers George and Sean O’Brien love cars so much-particularly Porsches-that they created a catalog to sell car accessories to like-minded fanatics.

The first edition of O’Brien Brothers: Life in High Gear mailed in August to 125,000 individuals, including retail customers from the O’Briens’ Marietta, GA, store and house file names from the company’s now-defunct auto parts catalog, Automotive Atlanta.

Products range from tire gauges to a $58,000 custom-made Panoz Roadster. The average order was about $100; the initial response rate “probably met our expectations,” says O’Brien Brothers marketing director Greg Treadway. The catalog is scheduled to mail quarterly, he says. This is the O’Briens’ first attempt at targeting the high-end auto market. Plans for the catalog include focusing on even more upscale merchandise. N

Wagwear humans aren’t the only species to suffer fashion crises. That’s why Amy Kizer, owner/designer of Wagwear, a New York-based catalog of high-end outerwear for dogs, is betting that dog lovers will buy canine couture.

Mailed in November to about 1,000 requesters who had seen the merchandise in other catalogs and in stores, Wagwear sells unusual pet items, from suede and shearling collars to neoprene scuba suits with reflective trim. “We offer only what I call pet gear,” Kizer says, rather than supplies like food bowls and shampoos. “We’ll do a bowl when there’s a great bowl to do. But right now, it’s more important for the catalog to create its own identity.”

Kizer plans to eventually widen the audience by offering a broader range of doggy duds, including some less expensive items. Other plans include launching a Website ( and designing a Wagwear line for cats. The first mailing is expected to pull an average order of $120. N

Debbie Mumm Catalog for wholesale and retail quilt patterns, quilting books, and stationery, Mumm’s the word, literally. The Spokane, WA-based Mumm’s the Word has been manufacturing its products for 12 years, selling through single-sheet order forms. “But we wanted a new look to reflect the quality of the product,” says vice president Steve Mumm.

To that end, the Debbie Mumm Catalog launched in April 1998, mailing to 3,000 individuals from the company’s house file. But the mailing list is growing rapidly. “We receive about 400 requests a week on our Website [],” Mumm claims. While he couldn’t give a percentage, he describes the initial response rate as “very good.”

The catalog targets wholesale and retail customers with different price lists. “Ultimately we like to do business with the stores,” Mumm says. “We’re thrilled to sell directly to our customers, but our first goal is to support the retailers.” Plans include an increased print run for the April 1999 catalog. N

NM Child Children love to be spoiled, and Neiman Marcus Direct has found a new way to help affluent parents indulge their offspring. This past September, the upscale cataloger/ retailer launched NM Child, its first catalog of strictly children’s merchandise, to 1 million names from the Neiman Marcus database. According to a company statement, the decision to launch the catalog was based on customers’ desire to buy upscale furnishings and linens for their children.

In an NM Direct first, the new catalog sells children’s designer apparel, including Helena and Harry IV Co. and Ralph Lauren, which had been available through Neiman Marcus stores and retail catalogs. Other products range from quilts and monogrammed towels to bedroom sets and sterling silver gift items. The company would not disclose response figures for NM Child. n

New Catalogs

Mimi a la Mode If you think shower caps are boring and ugly, you haven’t seen the Mimi a la Mode catalog of decorative shower caps. “Shower caps are our specialty, but pampering is what we focus on,” says Mimi Basseri, president/designer of the San Francisco-based company.

The catalog features five styles of caps with about 50 choices of designs (from pink polka dots to purple pansies), as well as sleep masks and bath wraps. The initial mailing in October went to 25,000 names rented from lists such as Bloomingdale’s By Mail and La Costa Spa. Though the initial target was women between the ages of 40 and 60, Basseri intends to redesign the book this fall to appeal to a younger audience.

The response rate of 1.5%-3% for each of the three editions released so far has met expectations, while the average order of $60 has exceeded them. Instead of purchasing just one cap, to Basseri’s surprise, customers “have been buying a few. One for themselves, and two as gifts.”

Magic and Vanity After being diagnosed with cancer in 1989, Lisa Melnick promised herself that if she lived four or five more years she would “do something that gave back to cancer patients and survivors,” she says. From that promise, Magic and Vanity, a Chicago store of apparel, hats, and accessories for cancer patients and survivors, was born, and in April, a Magic and Vanity catalog hit mailboxes.

The first mailing went to 20,000 names from the store house file, requests, and referrals. A mention in the Chicago Tribune in May also spawned a “tremendous number” of requests, Melnick says.

Prices range from $6 for a pink ribbon pin to $325 for a breast prosthesis. Although the book’s response rate wasn’t available, Melnick says the average or der is $100, which is in line with expectations. The next edition is scheduled to drop in September.

Adobe Studios Calgary, Canada-based design software manufacturer Adobe Systems has added catalogs to its marketing arsenal with the January launch of Adobe Studios. The catalog is “designed to encompass all the applications needed in a graphics studio,” says Brock Bohonos, director of catalog marketing for Adobe Systems. Products include CD-ROMs of royalty-free stock photography, type, and video, in addition to books and upgrades to Adobe applications.

The initial mailing went to more than 500,000 art directors, multimedia designers, and other graphics professionals from the house file of registered users who had bought Adobe software and upgrades, either from a reseller or directly from the company. Most of the catalogs mailed to business addresses, but a significant portion of the house file are home addresses, because of the large number of freelance designers who work from home.

Although Bohonos won’t cite response or sales figures, he does say that the next edition of Adobe Studios is due in September.

A marketer of custom imprinted and embroidered sportswear to businesses and institutions for the past 25 years, Wearhouse wanted to sell to corporate offices as well as to manufacturers and the like. So with the launch of its Friday Casuals apparel catalog last September, Wearhouse has expanded its merchandise focus from T-shirts and sweatshirts to more upscale items such as golf shirts and sweaters.

Friday Casuals mailed to 50,000 businesses gleaned from compiled lists. The target audience includes corporate gift buyers, advertising agencies, hotels and restaurants, and real estate agencies.

Without giving specifics, Sam Waterworth, general manager of the Beltsville, MD-based apparel marketer, says he is pleased with the results of the catalog mailings so far. The next edition of Friday Casuals will mail next month.

New Catalogs

The Clayton Catalog A cigar is more than just a smoke these days. The $6 billion cigar industry includes accessories such as lighters, cutters, and humidors-items found in the Haverhill, MA-based Clayton Catalog of cigars and related accessories.

Founders Scott Richards and Gary Pituck-who also run a wholesale cigar products business-first mailed The Clayton Catalog in October. The 98,000 names used came from the house files of wholesale clients, rented lists of magazines such as GQ, The Robb Report, and Golf Digest, and a private list of cigar smokers from a former cigar industry executive.

The book targets professionals, most of whom are men 20-40 years old who are “trying to assimilate themselves into the status of being successful,” Richards says.

The $125 average order was higher than expected, but the 3%-4% response was lower because the magazine lists did not perform up to par, Richards claims. The next book will mail this summer.

Moon Song The personal and professional stress in her own life inspired Judith Light to create Moon Song, a catalog of relaxation products. “It’s not always possible to take off for Bermuda,” Light notes, so products such as massage oils, herbal teas, and nature-inspired music can help individuals deal with stress “in the moment,” she says.

The first edition of the Martinez, CA-based catalog mailed in March to 26,000 consumers in California, Oregon, and Washington; the names were rented from health-related magazines and music and gift catalogs. The target audience is professional women, many of whom are mothers, Light says, but “I’m also getting orders from men.”

Light is happy with the 2% response rate and $55 average order. The second edition, due in September, will have an expanded circulation of 250,000 and will be mailed to individuals in the Midwest as well as to people in the Northwest.

The Cookboook Rita Ali’s love of cookbooks led her to create The CookBook Catalog. The Peoria, IL-based catalog sells cookbooks in eight categories, including niches such as diabetic and vegetarian. “I don’t consider myself a famous cook,” she says. “I thought I’d put out a catalog that specialized in cookbooks.”

The first mailing, in October, went to 5,000 names. This was followed by drops each month through February of this year for a total of 30,000 pieces. Ali selected the names of credit cardholders and buyers of books via mail order from Database America, the primary source of the names. She also advertised in The Cookbook Collector’s Exchange, a publication for cookbook collectors.

The average order of $34 and the 2.5% response rate were in line with expectations. Response was “higher before the holidays than after the holidays,” Ali says. “Many people purchase cookbooks as gifts.” The next edition will be mailed in the fall.

The Southern Food Co. When Susan Batten, an ex-Southerner and actress on the soap opera One Life to Live, combined the Southern foods she grew up with and her “love of writing about the colorful people of the South,” she came up with The Southern Food Co., a catalog of Southern delicacies.

Featuring foods such as pecan crisps and cheese straws, the catalog mailed in May to about 5,000 names from Batten’s One Life to Live fan club; contacts in her hometown of Clayton, NC; and friends in the theater community. Batten says she’s targeting anyone with “an inclination toward Southern food.”

The $70 average order is higher than Batten had expected. For the next edition, due out in the fall, the circulation will increase by 15,000, to include subscribers of Southern Living.