new web catalogs

May 01, 2004 9:30 PM  By

Surf Mom

Mothers who like to hang 10 have a new online source for surf-themed goods for themselves and for their families. In March, Claire Bediamol launched Surf Mom, which she says is the first-ever Website dedicated to wives, mothers, and children who love to surf.

Bediamol, an avid surfer and a self-proclaimed “surf mom” to three young boys, found that the sport was largely tailored toward adventurous young men. “There was a hole in the industry,” says Bediamol. In its first day up, the site received 9,000 visits resulting in 10-15 actual purchases, thanks to an e-news release sent to 100 newspapers.

The site sells apparel, such as sarongs and sweatshirts, ocean-themed lithographs, and jewelry, ranging in price from $2 to $80. The average order is about $100, according to Bediamol.

Featured on the Website is a message board on which “surf families” can discuss travel, surfing news, and other topics. To further promote the site, Bediamol plans to purchase banner ads on other surf sites such as Surfline.com.

Web address: www.surfmom.com Product category: surfing-themed apparel and gifts Launched: March 2004 Target customer: female surfers ages 25-35 Phone: 714-964-0803 Competitors: SurfWareHawaii.com, Swell.com

Loop NYC

A retailer of trendy bags and accessories, Loop NYC debuted on the Web in 2002 with a site that provided little more than contact and product information. In response to overwhelming demand by site visitors, Loop’s head designer and founder, China Young, launched a commerce-enabled site in January.

Based in New York’s garment district, Loop sells items such as funky camera cases, satin jewelry boxes, and purses that you can clutch, roll up, or sling over your shoulder. Prices range from $6 to $144, with an average order size of $45.

“Our hit rate, prior to e-commerce, was 3,000-4,000 a month,” says Michael Jean, Loop’s chief operations officer of e-business. “Now we average 1,800-2,000 hits a day and climbing.”

Jean attributes much of the site’s success to the efforts of its public relations firm, New York-based Siren PR. “Having our product featured in magazines and given as promotional items at celebrity events is key exposure,” says Jean.

The company plans to update the site with new products about every two weeks. To increase sales and visits to the site, Loop would like to partner with some of the hundreds of stores that sell parts of its product line.

Web address: www.loopnyc.com Product category: handbags and accessories Launched: January 2004 Target customer: urban teens and adults ages 13-33 Phone: 800-278-9218 Competitors: Paul Frank, Purseboutique.com

Galasource

According to Brett Harris, former CEO of glassware and flatware wholesaler Ten Strawberry Street, the party-planning niche needed a Website that sold more than dishes, glasses, and cutlery. To that end, Harris founded Galasource last July.

Based in Denver, Galasource offers roughly 44,000 SKUs of food service wares, from commercial dishwashers and meat grinders to candelabras and ice cream machines. Prices range from $0.29 for a shot glass to $44,000 for a top-of-the-line oven. Customers include party planners, restaurants, caterers, and hotels.

The site boasts an average of 10,000 hits a day with a 3%-4% conversion rate, says vice president Blake Snowdon. Galasource bought what Snowdon refers to as “high-traffic keywords” such as “commercial dishwasher” and “commercial restaurant supplies” in online pay-per-click advertising programs. “We have a click-through conversion of 65%-70%, minimum,” says Snowdon. He estimates the average order size at about $900.

A print catalog is not a part of the bigger picture, says Snowdon. Although Galasource receives “tons of requests for a catalog all the time,” he says, “it just would not be conducive for us to print one.”

Web address: www.galasource.com Product category: catering supplies Launched: July 2003 Target customer: hotels, restaurants, event planners Phone: 888-521-4252 Competitors: Fun Foods Depo, Instawares.com, Zama Enterprises, Katom.com, Zesco.com

A by Andrea Barna

As a child, Andrea Barna loved to make jewelry from colorful beads and baubles. In 2002, after working in the magazine industry for a year and a half as assistant editor at Mode, Barna returned to her first love, launching a line of jewelry that she sold in New York showrooms and at trade shows.

After her jewelry began appearing in fashion magazines such as Marie Claire, Elle, and Glamour, “people started asking about where they could buy my stuff,” says Barna. Although the jewelry is sold in 50 stores nationwide and in Japan, this past February she launched the A by Andrea Barna Website.

The site sells handmade necklaces, earrings, and bracelets in 14K and 18K gold, or in sterling silver with semiprecious stones. The average order from the Website is $100-$150, with visitors usually purchasing two items at a time. More than 270,000 people visited the site in its first six weeks, Barna says.

It helps that fashion magazines continue to feature her pieces and now credit the site in their pages. Vogue magazine’s site will have a link to AbyAndreaBarna.com starting in September, and celebrities such as Britney Spears, Angelina Jolie, and Demi Moore have been photographed wearing her jewelry. “The celebrity attention is amazing!” Barna says.

Looking ahead, Barna plans to introduce a “make your own jewelry” page where visitors can choose from various stones, charms, and chains to customize their jewelry. Barna also expects to launch a print catalog in the next year.

Web address: AbyAndreaBarna.com Product category: jewelry Launched: February 2004 Target customer: women ages 20-35 Phone: 212-486-3357 Competitors: Melissa Joy Manning, Me and Ro, Miguel Ases