Winterthur, NWF join BlueSky

BlueSky Brands, parent company of gifts catalogs The Paragon and Bits and Pieces, in November signed licensing agreements to manage the catalog and Internet merchandising businesses for a pair of not-for-profit groups: Wintherthur Museum & Country Estate and the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). Winterthur is dedicated to preserving the estate of antiques collector and horticulturist Henry Francis du Pont; the NWF supports conservation efforts.

“By taking the management of these businesses off their hands, they’ll be able to focus on their core missions,” says BlueSky CEO Richard Hebert. “We, in turn, can apply the economies of scale in marketing, creative, fulfillment, and merchandising that our business can bring to bear.” In addition to its catalogs, Allston, MA-based BlueSky owns fulfillment provider AB&C Group, which will now handle the back-end operations of Winterthur and NWF.

NWF had in fact started outsourcing its fulfillment with AB&C Group this summer, in hopes of cutting costs and selling its 244,500-sq.-ft. warehouse in Winchester, VA. About 100 NWF employees were laid off at that time, but some may be rehired, according to Ben McNitt, NWF’s senior director of program communications.

Winterthur also laid off employees — 61, or about 10% of its workforce — when it outsourced its operations last year. In addition, the organization suspended its underperforming gifts catalog in the spring, though it continued to mail its home furnishings book. BlueSky plans to reinstate the gifts catalog by next month.

BlueSky is intent on helping to expand sales for both Winterthur and NWF. “These are terrific brands that have not been fully exploited in the marketplace,” Hebert says. “We’re intending to invest considerably in both to grow them.” Among other things, he plans to increase the circulation of the catalogs “significantly.”

BlueSky will retain the remaining staff members of Winterthur’s and the NWF’s direct response businesses. The Winterthur employees will continue to work at the du Pont estate in Winterthur, DE; the NWF staff will remain in Reston, VA, but move to new offices.

Partner Content

Hincapie Sportswear Finds Omnichannel Success in the Cloud - Netsuite
For more and more companies, a cloud-based unified data solution is the way to make this happen. Custom cycling apparel maker Hincapie Sportswear has leveraged this capability to gain greater visibility into revenue streams, turning opportunities into sales more quickly while gaining overall operating efficiency. Download this ecommerce special report from Multichannel Merchant to more.
The Gift of Wow: Preparing your store for the holiday season - Netsuite
Being prepared for the holiday rush used to mean stocking shelves and making sure your associates were ready for the long hours. But the digital revolution has changed everything, most importantly, customer expectations. Retailers with a physical store presence should be asking themselves—what am I doing to wow the customer?
3 Critical Components to Achieving the Perfect Order - NetSuite
Explore the 3 critical components to delivering the perfect order.
Streamlining Unified Commerce Complexity - NetSuite
Explore how consolidating multiple systems through a cloud-based commerce platform provides a seamless experience for both you, and your customer.