Irish Cataloger Tries Its Luck in the U.S.

Relying on more than the luck of the Irish, Dublin-based gifts retailer House of Ireland in November mailed its first catalog exclusively to the U.S.

“The Irish market is quite small—only 4 million people, who are not traditionally mail-order buyers,” says CEO Roger Galligan. “Our product mix is aimed at the U.S. person looking for quality gifts.” House of Ireland sells Waterford and Galway crystal, Belleek and Royal Tara china, and Celtic jewelry as well as Wedgwood, Lladro, and Hummel merchandise. Prices range from $10 to $1,350, with an average price point of $90. The average order is $130.

Roger’s parents, Andrew and Eileen Galligan, founded the company in 1976 as stores in Dublin and at Dublin Airport. The House of Ireland Website launched in 1995. “We had developed a good customer base through our Web business and our bricks-and-mortar stores,” Roger Galligan says. “These provide the platform we needed to launch the print catalog.”

The first 64-page catalog mailed to 125,000 names in the U.S. Approximately 40,000 names came from visitors to the firm’s stores and from site requests, with the remainder rented.

Since the catalog launch, the company’s nonretail business has increased 75%, Galligan says. The next catalog will mail in May, with additional books scheduled to mail in August and October. Beginning in 2004, Galligan plans to send out House of Ireland catalogs between four and six times each year.