Peterman Really Does Ride Again

Lexington, KY–By now, John Peterman’s rise and fall in the catalog industry has been well documented. The entrepreneur started his offbeat catalog of high-ticket apparel and accessories in 1987, grew it to a $50 million mail order and Web business with 13 retail stores only to file for bankruptcy in 1999 and sell the company to retailer Paul Harris Stores-which filed for bankruptcy protection itself last October.

But you will have Peterman to kick around again: he’s already back in the mailbox. In January, Peterman bought back The J. Peterman Co., including the intellectual rights, trademarks, some inventory, the product development files for some 4,000-5,000 SKUs, and a 1 million-name house file from the Paul Harris liquidator.

Peterman mailed a four-page 11″ x 15″ newspaper format catalog called The J. Peterman Times to 60,000 names from the customer list in February. The publication announced his return to the business and offered eight products from the old J. Peterman catalog, as well as autographed copies of his autobiography “Peterman Rides Again.”

Moreover, Peterman said that he will relaunch a full-scale catalog at the end of May with the same “Owners Manual” title as the old business, after mailing two more of the low-cost newspaper catalogs. He may continue mailing the newspapers in between catalog mailings in the future. “I want to control the creative, the brand, the merchandise, and build it all back,” he says. “Then I may look at licensing out the catalog to an existing company that would provide the infrastructure and service while I’d provide the product and creative.”

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