Scheepers Switches to Slim-Jim

Like many catalogers, garden bulb specialist John Scheepers has recently moved to a slim-jim size book for one of its titles. But rather than going down in size, the company actually increased the trim size of its prospecting book to make it a slim-jim.

“The smaller book used to be digest size, and we ‘upgraded’ to a slim-jim this year,” says company president Jo-Anne van den Berg-Ohms.

Why? Scheepers made the adjustments after last year’s significant postal increase, in order to cut costs and pave the way for comailing opportunities.

The “unprecedented” 2007 rake hike, which boosted postal costs 20% to 40% for many catalogers, was a blow to the bulbs mailer. “We were appalled at the lack of advance warning,” van den Berg-Ohms says.

Founded more than 90 years ago, John Scheepers is one of the oldest flower bulb importers. The company offers 700 varieties of the best tulips, narcissi, lilies, amaryllis and rare Dutch bulbs.

The company still mails a full-sized consumer book in addition to the smaller prospecting title, as well as its full-sized Van Engelen wholesale catalog in the spring and fall.

John Scheepers’ fall catalogs mailed after Labor Day. Other than size, what’s the main difference between the 88-page full-size and the 44-page slim-jim catalogs, both of which are titled Beauty From Bulbs Fall 2008?

“The full-sized catalog is organized from a horticultural perspective, and the small one is organized from a bloom time perspective,” van den Berg-Ohms says. “It’s a more manageable collection.”

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