At Ross-Simons, it’s ready, aim, launch

May 01, 2006 9:30 PM  By

To appeal to new customers, Cranston, RI-based jewelry, tabletop, and home decor cataloger/retailer Ross-Simons unveiled two new catalogs this spring: Via, which sells fashion-forward jewelry and gifts, and Global Treasures, a collection of gifts and jewelry from around the world. At the same time it launched the titles, Ross-Simons killed two others: Gift Book Digest and Fashion Preview.

Via mailed in early March to 1.1 million customers and prospects, primarily women 30-50 years old who have an average annual income of $60,000. This audience is both younger and less affluent than the typical Ross-Simons customer, a 58-year-old woman with an average income of $120,000-$150,000. “We identified a new customer segment that we weren’t capturing,” says Ross-Simons director of merchandising Patricia Ginesky.

Ginesky describes Via as “chic, trendy, stylish, edgy, teetering on a little sexy.” With items such as Italian gold hoop earrings for $275 and multistoned necklaces from $225 to $395, Via moves away from Ross-Simons’s more traditional, conservative offerings of cultured pearl bracelets and rainbow butterfly pins.

The 64-page Via replaces Gift Book Digest, which was geared primarily for the company’s core demographic but underperformed, says senior marketing director John Buleza. Via’s trim size is 7″ by 10″, a larger format than the 6″ by 7-1/4″ Gift Book Digest. Based on early returns, Buleza says Via’s average order is $200, 10%-15% less than the average order from Gift Book Digest. Via will be a two-season book, with the next drop scheduled in September, Buleza says.

Going global

Just a month after the launch of Via, Ross-Simons dropped 865,000 copies of the Global Treasures spin-off. The company plans to follow up in mid-May with a mailing of 735,000 catalogs. So far the book is going primarily to customers, says Buleza.

The catalog’s merchandise ranges from hammered-silver cuff bracelets from Israel that sell for $127.50 to a pink-tourmaline-and-diamond necklace from India for $2,995. Global Treasures also features fine gemstones from Brazil, Thailand, and the China Sea, including ceremonial-inspired jewelry layered with jade, onyx, and pearls.

Global Treasures also includes a smattering of non-jewelry items for travelers, such as a $299.95 cashmere travel kit that includes a throw, a pillow cover, socks, and an eye mask. Buleza says that merchants for the 60-page catalog will regularly source goods worldwide.