EToys gives birth to spin-off

Building on its online Birthday Club reminder service, Denver-based eToys launched a 68-page catalog of children’s party supplies in January. The Birthday catalog mailed to an undisclosed number of eToys customers and prospects, says company spokesperson Sheliah Gilliland.

“It’s really a natural extension for us,” Gilliland says, since aside from Christmas purchases, the majority of sales made at eToys are birthday-related. The new catalog is designed to reap more revenue through the first three quarters of the year. About 80% of company sales occur during the last three months of the year, she says.

The catalog also extends eToys product line, since it includes invitations, decorations, and novelties for more than 30 party themes. It also highlights gift ideas for each theme, such as a Curious George Tickle ‘N Giggle doll and the Batman Deluxe Powering Laptop. Other party themes include Star Wars, Disney Princesses, and SpongeBob SquarePants.

Prices for the themed “party packs” — invitations, decorations, and goody bags for eight guests — range from $34.99 for Batman to $49.99 for the CareBears. The catalog offers free shipping on orders exceeding $75.

EToys launched the online Birthday Club feature in December 2004. The free service sends date reminders and gift ideas for boys and girls. Gilliland would not disclose the number of club members.

Ramping up its catalogs

The company mailed its first 28-page eToys to customers during the holiday 2003 season. Vice president of marketing Gary Lindsey says the original holiday catalog performed well beyond expectations, which spurred the company to boost page count in 2004 to 124 pages and to test prospecting.

Strong results from prospecting in 2004 led the company to mail another 124-page catalog last year. Holiday catalog sales rose 50% in 2005, although that was on a 500% circulation increase.

In addition to its flagship Website and catalog, eToys owns My Twinn, a print and online cataloger of personalized dolls.

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