In September, Web pure-play entered the print catalog channel with a 36-page book. The Portland, OR-based women’s athletic apparel marketer mailed its first catalog to 1 million customers and prospects. The company followed the initial mailing in early November with a drop of 500,000 32-page holiday books.

Targeting women who exercise – and women who just want to wear athletic apparel – the book sells brand-name activewear such as sports bras and running shoes. Products are offered in a wide range of sizes to accommodate athletic, pregnant, boyish, and full figures.’s vice president of marketing, Vicki Reed, says the company launched a print catalog because “women weren’t sprinting to the Internet to shop. We were surprised at how many new customers make their first order from the catalog and subsequently place orders on the Website.”

Unlike the Website, which uses simple silhouetted product shots that are easy to download, the catalog enables the company to display the apparel on models, which emphasizes available colors and unique fit. Furthermore, Reed says, the catalog “proves that we are a viable retailer with multiple channels of distribution, not just a dot-com company,” a strategy particularly vital to gaining consumer confidence in an era when many pure-plays have failed. also plans to open a store in New York this month.

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