It’s a relatively small change, but it signifies the growing strength of the company’s brand: Victorian Trading Co. has renamed its Victoria Greetings business-to-business division Victorian Trading Co. Wholesale.
The company’s wholesale division sells Victorian-themed stationery, gifts, jewelry, and home furnishings to about 3,000 active customers. But the Lenexa, KS-based company also mails five business-to-consumer catalogs: the Victorian Trading Co. master catalog; Castle & Cottage, specializing in home decor; women’s apparel book Hopeless Romantic; stationery catalog Victorian Papers; and the newest title, Old Flame, which launched last November and sells lighting and home accessories.
“We have such a presence on the direct-to-consumer side that it gives us more clout with our b-to-b clients,” says owner Randy Rolston. Therefore aligning the b-to-b division’s name with that of the company as a whole provides “countless advantages, the greatest being that of strong branding of the product,” Rolston says.
The company’s strength as a b-to-c cataloger also poses a potential weakness for its b-to-b division. The hardest part of selling to end users as well as to resellers, says Rolston, “is doing it without cannibalizing each business. Our b-to-b customers generally are not happy when we are competing against them.”
To keep the wholesale and retail divisions complementary rather than competitive, Victorian Trading tries not to sell the exact products to both markets. Generally the merchandise in the b-to-c catalogs are different, though similar, to those sold to b-to-b clients.
Rolston and his wife, Melissa, founded the company in 1987, as stationery cataloger Victorian Paper Co. The wholesale division was launched in 1992. Eight years later the company changed its name, and that of its core catalog, to Victoria Trading Co., to reflect the shift in merchandise to gift items, which now make up about 80% of its b-to-c sales.