O’Brien Brothers: Life In High Gear for some, cars aren’t simply a means of transportation, but a way of life. Brothers George and Sean O’Brien love cars so much-particularly Porsches-that they created a catalog to sell car accessories to like-minded fanatics.
The first edition of O’Brien Brothers: Life in High Gear mailed in August to 125,000 individuals, including retail customers from the O’Briens’ Marietta, GA, store and house file names from the company’s now-defunct auto parts catalog, Automotive Atlanta.
Products range from tire gauges to a $58,000 custom-made Panoz Roadster. The average order was about $100; the initial response rate “probably met our expectations,” says O’Brien Brothers marketing director Greg Treadway. The catalog is scheduled to mail quarterly, he says. This is the O’Briens’ first attempt at targeting the high-end auto market. Plans for the catalog include focusing on even more upscale merchandise. N
Wagwear humans aren’t the only species to suffer fashion crises. That’s why Amy Kizer, owner/designer of Wagwear, a New York-based catalog of high-end outerwear for dogs, is betting that dog lovers will buy canine couture.
Mailed in November to about 1,000 requesters who had seen the merchandise in other catalogs and in stores, Wagwear sells unusual pet items, from suede and shearling collars to neoprene scuba suits with reflective trim. “We offer only what I call pet gear,” Kizer says, rather than supplies like food bowls and shampoos. “We’ll do a bowl when there’s a great bowl to do. But right now, it’s more important for the catalog to create its own identity.”
Kizer plans to eventually widen the audience by offering a broader range of doggy duds, including some less expensive items. Other plans include launching a Website (www.wagwear.com) and designing a Wagwear line for cats. The first mailing is expected to pull an average order of $120. N
Debbie Mumm Catalog for wholesale and retail quilt patterns, quilting books, and stationery, Mumm’s the word, literally. The Spokane, WA-based Mumm’s the Word has been manufacturing its products for 12 years, selling through single-sheet order forms. “But we wanted a new look to reflect the quality of the product,” says vice president Steve Mumm.
To that end, the Debbie Mumm Catalog launched in April 1998, mailing to 3,000 individuals from the company’s house file. But the mailing list is growing rapidly. “We receive about 400 requests a week on our Website [www.debbiemumm.com],” Mumm claims. While he couldn’t give a percentage, he describes the initial response rate as “very good.”
The catalog targets wholesale and retail customers with different price lists. “Ultimately we like to do business with the stores,” Mumm says. “We’re thrilled to sell directly to our customers, but our first goal is to support the retailers.” Plans include an increased print run for the April 1999 catalog. N
NM Child Children love to be spoiled, and Neiman Marcus Direct has found a new way to help affluent parents indulge their offspring. This past September, the upscale cataloger/ retailer launched NM Child, its first catalog of strictly children’s merchandise, to 1 million names from the Neiman Marcus database. According to a company statement, the decision to launch the catalog was based on customers’ desire to buy upscale furnishings and linens for their children.
In an NM Direct first, the new catalog sells children’s designer apparel, including Helena and Harry IV Co. and Ralph Lauren, which had been available through Neiman Marcus stores and retail catalogs. Other products range from quilts and monogrammed towels to bedroom sets and sterling silver gift items. The company would not disclose response figures for NM Child. n