Patrick James Starts Catalog

Better late than never. That’s the mantra for upscale men’s apparel retailer Patrick James. After 45 years, the Fresno, CA-based family business launched its inaugural catalog.

Vice president Patrick Mon Pere Jr. says the first 64-page catalog debuted at the end of August. “It was mailed to our house file, as well as names from the various list brokers that met our specific demographics and criteria,” he says.

The company dropped three fall books, and two holiday catalogs. “We’ll send spring ‘08 out in February, and then plan on dropping at least every month moving forward,” he says.

Along with the Patrick James Reserve Collection house brand, the book also offers other designer apparel such as Tommy Bahama and Allen Edmonds. The catalog includes such items as the Patrick James Reserve Cashmere Sport Coat ($795), the Agave Ribbed Half-Zip Front Pullover ($145), and the Robert Graham Sport Shirt ($178).

Mon Pere Jr. says many factors prompted Patrick James, which has 16 retail locations throughout the western U.S., to finally launch a catalog. “My father had always wanted to get into the catalog business and thought it would be a terrific vehicle for growth,” Mon Pere Jr. says. “We actually started researching the project about five years ago, but just weren’t ready to make the leap.”

In researching the business, he notes, “we became convinced that to reach our goals and survive as a growing family business, we needed to be able to brand ourselves and compete on a national level within our niche. We felt that our quality and unique selection of product as well as the pride we take in our customer service would make us attractive to new catalog customers.”

Customer feedback played a vital role, albeit indirectly, in the catalog launch, Mon Pere says. “Some did say ‘it would be great if you guys did a catalog,’ but the real feedback we received from them was more in the way we saw their shopping patterns changing.”

Many of Patrick James’ customers were buying from other catalogs while on a business trip or vacation. “We felt if we could be in front of them at their homes and offices, and make it as easy as possible for them to interact with us, we would be able to serve them better and strengthen our relationship,” says Mon Pere. If you listen to your customers, he adds, “they will tell you what they need, even if it is indirectly.”

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