Capitalizing on most women’s fear and loathing of trying on bathing suits in stores, Ultama Swimwear is delivering swimsuits to them via catalog.
Jacksonville, FL-based Ultama dropped 750,000 copies of its 48-page catalog in February and will publish three more editions between now and July, with specific dates to be determined, says executive vice president Jay Mann. A Website launched in February as well. To get the word out, Ultama invested in online keyword advertising and rented names from list service DRM.
Besides bathing suits, Ultama sells women’s casualwear at prices ranging from $50 to $92. One month after the launch, the average order size was $100.
The company plans to expand the catalog to 68 pages next year. Mann says the enhanced catalog will sell additional nonswimwear items, such as jeans, blouses, and dresses.
— Margery Weinstein
Product category: women’s swimwear First mailing date: February 2003 Target customer: women 18-40 years old Frequency: four times a year Competitors: Venus Swimwear, Newport News Average order size: $100 Number of pages: 48 Size: 7-1/2″ × 11″ Phone: 904-268-0300
Paychex Employers’ Resource Directory
Human-resources services provider Paychex is hoping its new catalog will bring customers a big payoff in convenience. Targeting small businesses with an average of 14 employees, Rochester, NY-based Paychex in February mailed 440,000 copies of Paychex Employers’ Resource Direct.
Available only to Paychex clients, the catalog sells human-resources forms, software, and books. Prices range from $6.95 to $995, though the majority of products cost less than $50. Best-sellers include attendance systems, labor-law posters, and personnel forms. So far, the average order is more than $100, says business develop manager Michael Reed, who notes that Paychex created the catalog after listening to customers describe services they would like help with.
Reed says the company plans to simplify the organization of the catalog by placing merchandise in categories such as “hiring process” or “new employee.” Paychex will produce the catalog quarterly; the next drop is scheduled for this month.
Product category: human-resources products First mailing date: February 2003 Target customer: small-business owners Frequency: four times a year Competitors: G. Neil Co., HR Direct Average order size: more than $100 Number of pages: 24 Size: 10-1/2″ × 8″ Phone: 877-225-8207
Brooks Fine Jewelry
Until three years ago, Conway, AR-based jewelry designer Jeff Brooks sold his personalized designs exclusively to businesses. But once he launched a Website three years ago, consumers began ordering directly. To better reach consumers, in November he introduced the Brooks Fine Jewelry print catalog.
Prices range from $200 to $400. Items, which include pendants, rings, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings, are designed with durability in mind, Brooks says. He plans to begin selling jewelry pieces with interchangeable parts — for example, a ring with a removable gemstone that can be snapped onto a necklace.
So far Brooks is promoting the catalog exclusively via his Website and e-mail newsletter, which has a circulation of 6,000. He mails approximately 100 copies a month to requesters. The next edition of the 20-page catalog is planned for July, with another slated for October.
Product category: jewelry First mailing date: November 2002 Frequency: three or four times a year Competitors: Ross-Simons, Palm Beach Jewelers Average order size: $300-$500 Number of pages: 20 Size: 8-1/2″ × 11× Phone: 501-327-2686
House of Ireland
Relying on more than the luck of the Irish, Dublin-based gifts retailer House of Ireland in November mailed its first catalog exclusively to the U.S.
“The Irish market is quite small — only 4 million people, who are not traditionally mail-order buyers,” says CEO Roger Galligan. “Our product mix is aimed at the U.S. person looking for quality gifts.”
House of Ireland sells Waterford and Galway crystal, Belleek and Royal Tara china, and Celtic jewelry as well as Wedgwood, Lladro, and Hummel merchandise. Prices range from $10 to $1,350, with an average price point of $90. The average order is $130.
Galligan’s parents, Andrew and Eileen Galligan, founded the company in 1976 as stores in Dublin and at Dublin Airport. The House of Ireland Website launched in 1995. “We had developed a good customer base through our Web business and our bricks-and-mortar stores,” Roger Galligan says. “These provide the platform we needed to launch the print catalog.”
The first 64-page catalog mailed to 125,000 names in the U.S. Approximately 40,000 names came from visitors to the firm’s stores and from site requests, with the remainder rented.
Since the catalog launch, House of Ireland’s nonretail business has increased 75%, Galligan says. The next catalog will mail in May, with additional books scheduled to mail in August and October. Beginning in 2004, Galligan plans to send out catalogs four to six times a year. At the moment, the company is fulfilling all product from Ireland.
— Peggy Bresnick Kendler
Product category: gifts First mailing date: November 2002 Target audience: mature gift buyers Frequency: three times a year Competitors: Cashs of Ireland, Woollen Mills Average order size: $130 Number of pages: 64 Size: 10-1/2″ × 8-1/4″ Telephone: 888-474-1366