New Catalogs

Mar 01, 1999 10:30 PM  By

Les Meubles de Provence South Side Imports, a Ft. Lauderdale, FL-based furniture importer, is using its Les Meubles de Provence catalog to develop relationships with customers as much as to generate orders. “When customers saw our furniture in the catalog, [even if they didn't make a purchase] they often wanted to know what other furniture we had available,” says owner Phillipe Hocquaux.

The catalog presents imported French Country furniture, with prices ranging from $500 to $5,000; the average order is $3,000.

To expand the company’s local import business, the initial catalog run targeted Florida interior designers and consumers responding to space ads in regional magazines such as Florida Design.

For the next catalog, scheduled to mail in April, Hocquaux plans to increase the circulation and to mail beyond Florida. “We’ve had good response,” he says, “so this year we’ll target the whole U.S.”

Product category: French Country furniture

First mailing date: March 1998

Size of mailing: 500

Target customer: consumers and interior designers

Competitors: French Country Living, Rue de France

Price range: $500-$5,000

Annual frequency: 1

Number of pages: 20

Size:8-1/4″ x 11″

Telephone: 954-567-0337

The Claude Monet Collection Our catalog targets the Monet lover,” says Tim Hennessy, president of Masterpiece Gardens, a Cincinnati-based wholesaler of high-end artificial floral arrangements. Hennessy obtained a license from The Claude Monet Museum in Giverny, France, to create faux floral arrangements inspired by Monet’s famous gardens, including the artist’s signature water lilies, for The Claude Monet Collection catalog.

The museum had been Monet’s home. “We actually stayed on the grounds to study his two gardens and design floral replicas,” Hennessy says. The catalog also offers replicas of vases and stepping stones from the grounds.

The catalog’s net response of 2.8% has exceeded expectations. “French is in,” says Hennessy, “so we’re adding a catalog this year of replicas from The Palace of Versailles,” which will be bound into The Claude Monet Collection catalog.

Product category: artificial flowers

First mailing date: May 1998

Size of mailing: 150,000

Target customer: mid- and upper-income homeowners, age 35 and up, mostly women

Competitors: Horchow, Neiman Marcus

Price range: $24-$349

Annual frequency: 2

Number of pages: 24

Size:8-1/2″ X 11″

Telephone: 513-771-5871

DSGN Aiming to envelop the masses in a designer environment, Totem Design Group’s DSGN catalog sells inexpensive home furnishings, lighting fixtures, and accessories by top designers. “Our goal is to make good design more accessible,” says Gail Schultz, marketing director of the New York-based furnishings wholesaler/retailer. Prices begin at $5 and go up to $3,500, with many items costing less than $100.

DSGN also includes editorial on design trends. “We want to educate people on design and designers,” says company president David Shearer. Simultaneously with the initial November mailing to Totem’s retail and publicity lists, the company launched a virtual catalog on its Website (

The average order is in the $100-$200 range, exceeding company expectations, says Shearer, “so we’re going to increase the size of the mailing. We’ll probably double it every couple of issues.”

Product category: designer home accessories

First mailing date: November 1998

Size of mailing: 20,000

Target customer: mid- and upper-income homeowners

Competitors: Museum of Modern Art, Room

Price range: $5-$3,500

Annual frequency: 4

Number of pages: 36

Size: 8-1/2″ x 11″


Alliant Energy Resources Home Products We present products that offer comfort, security, and productivity for the home,” says Michelle Meyer, who heads up the Home Products catalog of Alliant Energy, a public electric utility serving Wisconsin and Iowa. Products range from humidifiers to monoxide tests and alarms. “We selected products not readily available through retail outlets,” Meyer says.

In building a database of catalog buyers, the Madison, WI-based utility wasn’t legally allowed to use its own customer list for commercial purposes, so it rented lists of catalog buyers in its two-state territory for an initial mailing in November 1998 of 100,000. While Meyer won’t cite figures, she says that both response and average order were greater than anticipated. The catalog also meets the utility’s twofold objective: It advertises the utility’s services and creates an additional source of revenue.

Product category: home safety and comfort products

First mailing date: November 1998

Size of mailing: 100,000

Target customer: catalog buyers in Wisconsin and Iowa

Competitors: The Safety Zone, Real Goods Trading

Price range: $8-$450

Annual frequency: 4

Number of pages: 16

Size: 8-1/2″ x 11″

Telephone: 608-259-7321