In the two years since it introduced women’s wear in its catalogs and store, upscale men’s apparel marketer Ben Silver has expanded the line to more than 400 SKUs. To give the women’s line the space it needs, the Charleston, SC-based company opened a second store this spring, and in September it mailed a spin-off catalog that offers not a single item for men. Instead, the 48-page book, titled The Ben Silver Collection: Women & Children, sells women’s apparel and accessories, as well as products from its budding children’s clothing and gifts line, which the company launched in the spring.
In comparison to the 1 million circulation of the fall edition of the core catalog, the spin-off mailed to 275,000 recipients. Eighty percent of the names were prospects, with most pulled from co-op databases of upscale female buyers, says Ben Silver president/co-owner Sue Prenner. Currently men make up 80% of Ben Silver’s customer file.
In the previous Ben Silver catalog, which mailed in late spring, women’s and children’s products accounted for 20 of the book’s 100 pages. Had the cataloger continued to include women’s and children’s clothes in the main catalog, those products would have taken up at least 30 pages of the 108-page fall book, which Prenner says would have diverted too much attention from the company’s flagship men’s line. She projects that women’s and children’s products will capture 25% of the $10 million-plus company’s revenue over the next year.