Shortly after general merchandise cataloger Vermont Country Store mailed its Goods & Wares spin-off in early April, “I began getting calls from people wanting to know if it was taking the place of the core book,” says Linda Santaite, a list manager with Hackensack, NJ-based Mokrynski & Associates, which manages the catalog company’s file.
But devotees of the core catalog, the black-and-white Voice of the Mountains, need not worry. Instead of replacing the flagship title, the four-col or Goods & Wares, which mailed to an undisclosed number of house file and rented names, is meant to complement it by attracting a younger audience. “The spin-off provided us with an ideal way to look for an additional customer base and another way to sell our concept to a different audience,” says Larry Shaw, vice president of marketing for Weston, VT-based Vermont Country Store.
The average age of Vermont Country Store’s more than 523,000 12-month buyers is 55 years old. In contrast, Goods & Wares is targeting buyers in their 40s, largely with its creative approach. Instead of Voice of the Mountains’ black-and-white illustrations, Goods & Wares uses color photographs; it’s also printed on a heavier paper stock than the core catalog’s newsprint.
The merchandise varies somewhat as well. According to Shaw, “about half of the items in Goods & Wares are different from those in Voice of the Mountains.” Although both catalogs sell men’s and women’s apparel, bed and bath products, and cleaning supplies, the products in Goods & Wares are more fashionable, with new items such as hurricane lamps and French glass tumblers.