Break out the pom-poms: Baxter, MN-based dance cataloger Just for Kix is launching a cheerleading supplies title, Just for Cheer. The company was scheduled to drop 250,000 copies of the catalog in mid-August.
As of mid-July, the company had generated 60,000 names through inserts in magazines such as American Cheerleader and American Cheerleader Junior, and through Web requests, says Just for Kix co-owner Stephen Clough. Rented names of subscribers to cheer magazines accounted for the rest of the mailing.
Just for Cheer sells leisure apparel and accessories targeting cheerleaders in junior high school and high school. Products range from $12 T-shirts to $120 warm-up suits, the average price point is $30. In addition to carrying footwear and apparel from brands such as Nike and Kaepa, the book also sells gift items, such as shirts and shorts with “cheer” printed on them, bags and totes with cheerleading themes, and cheer-related charms for bracelets. The 32-page catalog carries approximately 500 products.
Cheering them on
Unlike competitors Varsity and NCA, which sell uniforms and market to high school cheerleading coaches buying supplies for an entire squad, Clough says that Just for Cheer is reaching out to the cheerleaders themselves: “Most companies are marketing through coaches and teams. We’re also going after the end-user.”
Just for Kix first mailed in 1989, seven years after Clough’s wife, Cindy, founded the company as a provider of children’s dance programs and dance camps for high school students. The Cloughs were inspired to launch Just for Cheer after noticing that the cheerleading market was thriving in response to the growth of cheerleading camps. “We thought there was a call for more products and items for the cheer industry,” Stephen Clough says.
The 100-page Just for Kix catalog, which has an annual circulation of 750,000, sells some cheer-specific merchandise. It also sells some cross-over items such as dance shoes. Currently cheer merchandise accounts for 8%-10% of the company’s overall sales. With the new title, Clough says, “we hope to see it grow to represent 25% of sales, maybe a little more.”
Just for Cheer will follow a mailing strategy similar to that of Just for Kix, with each drop distributed over six to eight weeks rather than in one fell swoop. Just for Cheer will mail biannually, in August and once in February, while Just for Kix is mailed quarterly. “There aren’t as many peaks and drops,” Clough says of the technique of gradually distributing each mailing. “It gives us a little more of an even pace along the year.”