BlueSky Brands to Run Winterthur, National Wildlife Catalogs

BlueSky Brands, parent company of gifts catalogs The Paragon and Bits and Pieces, has signed licensing agreements to manage the catalog and Internet businesses for two nonprofit groups: Winterthur Museum & Country Estate and National Wildlife Federation (NWF).

“By taking the management of these businesses off their hands, they’ll be able to focus on their core missions,” says BlueSky CEO Richard Hebert. “We, in turn, can apply the economies of scale in marketing, creative, fulfillment, and merchandising that our business can bring to bear.” In addition to its catalogs, Allston, MA-based BlueSky owns fulfillment provider AB&C Group, which will now handle the catalogs’ back-end operations.

Winterthur, which is dedicated to preserving the estate of antiques collector and horticulturist Henry Francis du Pont, suspended its gifts catalog earlier this year (see ”Winterthur Puts Gifts Book on Hold”), though it continued to mail its home furnishings catalog. The National Wildlife catalog and Website support the conservation and education association. “These are terrific brands that have not been fully exploited in the marketplace,” Hebert says. “We’re intending to invest considerably in both to grow them.” Among other things, he plans to increase the circulation of the catalogs significantly.”

BlueSky will retain the staff members of Winterthur’s and the NWF’s direct response businesses. The Winterthur employees will continue to work at the estate in Winterthur, DE; the NWF staff will remain in Reston, VA, but move to new offices.

New York-based West Cos. acted as financial intermediary and advisor for BlueSky Brands for both deals. Washington-based DLA Piper acted as legal advisor to BlueSky. Weil Gotshal & Manges acted as legal advisor (independently) to both Winterthur and the NWF.