Magazine publisher grows a Sterling catalog

‘People buy decorating magazines because they are getting ready to redecorate or remodel, and at that point, they are looking to buy,” says Don L. Nichol, creative director for Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications (SIP). With that in mind, Des Moines, IA-based SIP launched Sterling Creek Collection, a catalog of indoor and outdoor furnishings, by binding the 40-page premier issue inside 300,000 copies of the spring 1998 issue of its quarterly Decorating magazine.

This year, SIP decided to expand the catalog’s reach. In addition to binding the second issue of Sterling Creek inside 300,000 copies of Decorating, in February it mailed another 200,000 copies to names rented from home decor catalogers Home Decorator’s Collection, Charles Keith, Pottery Barn, and Camilla & Maine. While he won’t disclose exact sales figures, Nichol says Sterling Creek is meeting expectations, with an average order of $120.

SIP hopes it can grow Sterling Creek as it did Garden Shed, a magalog that launched in 1996. Following the success of Garden Shed, now a quarterly, the company also launched home decorating magalogs Country Style in spring 1997 and Traditional Style in spring 1998. The three magalogs are roughly 60% editorial and 40% catalog, according to John Himelfarb, president of Dallas-based Badge Marketing, which has helped SIP source the titles. Unlike the magalogs, Sterling Creek does not include editorial content.

As for plans for Sterling Creek, Nichol says that “1999 will be a big year for us.” With back-to-back mailings slated for fall and holiday 1999, “Sterling Creek will hopefully have some name recognition.” Depending on performance, Nichol is considering adding eight pages to the catalog for fall 1999.-MDF

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