Blair Makes Itself at Home with Big Book

Continuing its efforts to win over baby boomers, Warren, PA-based Blair Corp. mailed an expanded version of its home goods catalog on Jan. 5. Between 1 million and 2 million consumers, mostly house file names, received the catalog .

At 180 pages, the new Blair Home is nearly twice the size of the existing 100-page home book. The smaller catalog will continue to mail four times a year, says Patrick Kennedy, vice president/general manager of Blair Home. The expanded edition will mail twice annually, in the beginning of the year and in the fall.

The expanded catalog’s new offerings include bedding with bright, fashion-forward motifs and an expanded range of window treatments. The average price point is somewhat higher as well, Kennedy says. “There is a little more detail work, and more high-quality, natural fabrics,” he explains. About 30%-35% of the products in the expanded book are new to Blair.

“We wanted to offer a larger assortment of style and step up to that next level of price point,” says Kennedy. “We’re just now beginning to make inroads with baby boomers.”

Blair’s traditional customers have been senior women. During the past seven years, however, the cataloger has made a concerted effort to woo women and men ages 45-65. Several years ago, for instance, it successfully launched the Crossing Pointe women’s apparel catalog for boomers.

Kennedy says that Blair is experimenting with more-upscale selects as part of its prospecting efforts for the new book. The target audience of the larger home book has a median income roughly $10,000 higher than that the target customers of the smaller book. Blair is doing A/B split tests on the prospected names to determine how well the new catalog plays with the more-affluent shoppers.

Kennedy emphasizes that Blair isn’t turning its back on its older and lower-income customers. “We’re not abandoning our value story, and value doesn’t mean cheap to us,” he stresses. “You can’t make any sharp turns in the catalog business and abandon the customers you had. We’re trying to take what we currently have and bring it into the future.”

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