I spy a new catalog

Always dreamed of being a spy? The Washington-based International Spy Museum has made that dream a little easier to reach with the launch of a catalog selling high-tech gadgets, technical gear, and spy-themed toys, games, and lifestyle products for the home and office. The 16-page catalog debuted in September with a mailing to 200,000 Spy Museum house file names and prospects.

“We believe as the industry has proved that catalogs have a significant and positive impact on both Web and retail sales and that catalogs provide incremental revenue and advertising/marketing value in and of themselves,” says media relations manager Amanda Abrell.

The catalog was launched to expand the reach of the International Spy Museum brand to a national audience who may not have had the opportunity to visit the museum as well as to boost revenue. The museum already boasts a 5,000-sq.-ft. store with merchandise that ties in with the museum’s exhibits. Two million people have visited the International Spy Museum since it opened in July 2002.

Abrell anticipates catalog sales of $2 million annually with an average order of $75. Target customers are men and women 28-45 years old with income greater than $75,000. A second, 18-page holiday catalog is set to mail in early November to 300,000 customers and prospects. Abrell says the Spy Museum catalog will mail two or three times each year based on response. The museum also relaunched its Website this month to give it the same look and feel as the catalog.

In addition to name-brand merchandise such as night-vision cameras and monoculars from Bushnell and Riegel and classic Minox spy cameras, the Spy Museum catalog will feature branded apparel for men, women, and children. Other items include a Music to Spy By series of CDs, KGB flasks, and exclusive glassware. “Finding great merchandise with lifestyle appeal, mission content, and exclusivity is always a challenge, but a good challenge,” says Abrell.

Each edition of the catalog will include a letter from International Spy Museum executive director and former CIA intelligence officer Peter Earnest to set the tone for the “spy” lifestyle products offered. The catalog will also include information about the museum’s exhibits and special events, such as “Exploring Q’s World: Where Fact and Fiction Collide,” and “KidSpy Overnight: Operation Secret Slumber.”

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