Move over, Delia’s. Alloy, make way. Another marketer of trendy apparel for teens and young women is entering the catalog fray: East Northport, NY-based retailer Graffiti.
Gregg Altimari founded Graffiti as a store in 1991; six years later he launched Graffitionline.com. Now the company plans to debut a print catalog in October.
Why a catalog now? “Going back years, we were reluctant to print a catalog, because we saw the future as the Internet,” Altimari says. “As we grew, we wanted to increase our revenue, so we looked for another avenue of distribution. We felt that we would do a limited print catalog production at first, and get our feet wet.”
The catalog, like the store and Website, will target fashion-forward young women, ages 14-25. Graffiti has already developed an inhouse mailing list for the catalog and located list rental sources. Although Altimari declined to release circulation estimates for Graffiti’s first mailing, he plans to publish the catalog four times a year. The catalog’s average order size is projected to be $80-$120; the average price point is $80.
Altimari would not provide specific sales figures for Graffiti, but he says that although Web sales started slow, Graffitionline.com has experienced consistent month-by-month sales growth. “We really did not focus on the Web at first,” he says. “Our sales were mainly coming from our retail operation. As the user base of the Internet grew, we felt it important to pay more attention to our online property and expand our distribution.” The Website’s distribution center will serve the catalog as well.
The young and restless
Going after the fickle teen market is no small feat. Of late, larger youth-oriented fashion retailers such as The Gap have reported disappointing earnings. Altimari says that some companies’ woes can be blamed on aging executives who are out of sync with the fashion trends that drive their business. “The Gap has consistently missed the mark as far as fashion is concerned,” he says.
To capitalize on the teen segment of the population, you need to understand that demographic, Altimari says, and he believes Graffiti has a distinct advantage in that arena: youth. At 35, he notes, “I am the oldest person in the company.” Unlike some of Graffiti’s competitors, “we don’t have a 50-year-old board of directors, we don’t have older corporate leadership. We are guided, but it’s youth all the way.”