new catalogs

Jun 01, 1999 9:30 PM  By

Peerless Family Album of Coffee Competition in the specialty coffee catalog market is hot, but that hasn’t stopped Peerless Coffee from tapping the niche. “Our retail customers kept asking us to mail them our coffee, so we decided there was probably a market out there for us,” says Sonja Vukasin, owner/executive vice president of the Oakland, CA-based Peerless Coffee marketer.

The catalog, which launched last August, sells high-end coffee products, as well as teas and spices. The company’s niche is matching premium estate coffee bean blends and roasting styles. “We select a specific roasting style for each of our coffees to bring out the optimum flavor,” Vukasin says. The book targets gourmet catalog buyers between 35 and 65 years old.

The response to the first mailing was between 1% and 2%, in line with the company’s expectations. Peerless plans to double the catalog’s circulation to 100,000 for mailings planned for fall and holiday.

Maravilla World Furniture Importers In addition to selling furniture and other home decor items, the not-for-profit Maravilla World Furniture Importers is trying to help countries such as Nicaragua. “We buy our furniture and accessories from poor Latin American countries, such as Brazil and Venezuela, and give the proceeds to even poorer countries,” says Sandra Behrens, president of Behrens, a Kirkwood, MO-based for-profit architecture, design, restoration, and construction firm. Behrens also runs Mission de Los Ninos, a nonprofit group that benefits children in Latin America.

Maravilla’s products include iron, wicker and hardwood furniture with a Latin American flair, as well as pottery and other accessories. The catalog mailed to Behrens customers and names of upper-income female mail order buyers rented from other furniture catalogs. The goal for Maravilla was 1% response with an average order of $190; results exceeded expectations, with a 1.5% response rate and average orders hitting $250. Behrens plans to expand the catalog’s frequency and circulation, as well as its product line, for future mailings.

Fun Stuff Ever wonder where arcades and amusement parks get their prize toys? Play By Play in San Antonio, TX, manufactures these items, and is now selling them direct to consumers in its Fun Stuff catalog, which debuted in March.

The company, which launched in 1992, mailed 45,000 catalogs direct to consumers, with the remaining 255,000 going to teachers, daycare centers, and medical and dental offices. Response came in at a shade more than 1%. “We’re encouraged by the numbers,” says director of operations James Paulsen.

For the future, Paulsen expects to sign more licensing agreements, like the deal the company now has with Looney Tunes, to offer a wider range of plush toys, trinkets, and gifts.

People Places Things ‘We put clothes on J. Jill, and now we’re furnishing her home,” says Chris Fawcett, director of marketing analysis for DM Management, the Hingham, MA-based catalog company (soon to be known as J. Jill Group) that publishes the J. Jill and Nicole Summers apparel catalogs.

People Places Things sells an eclectic collection of home furnishings, accessories, and bed and bath items in contemporary and Southwestern styles targeting the J. Jill customer-upscale females with a relaxed style. “We tested some home items in our J. Jill apparel catalog, and they went over well. Plus, there’s growth in the home furnishings market, so we decided to test the market with People Places Things,” says Fawcett. The cataloger mailed the book to J. Jill customers, as well as to names from other apparel and home goods catalog lists. “The response is going according to plan,” he says.