I found the June article “Three Tips For Tough Times” by Steve Trollinger very interesting and informative. I specifically noted the segment addressing catalogers to get creative and tighten up a respective brand to increase sales — despite the cutbacks everyone is experiencing in catalog size and mailings.

As a photo stylist, I have been affected by the current economy, along with most of my colleagues in the visual field. The “bean counters” behind many catalogs are cutting the very people who are the interface between the company and its customers.

Many are opting to hire people who cost less and have little experience to handle the presentation of their product, so photographs are not as striking and informative as they could be. After seeing the result, one might wonder why a customer would spend, say, $80 on a mid-priced catalog product that looks no better than the $10 offering at the local discount store. The answer is that in most circumstances, they won’t.

An experienced, talented stylist, photographer and crew will know a brand’s customer and how to visually attract that customer to purchase. Understanding how to illustrate all of the product’s unique qualities in an attractive and consistent fashion will typically enhance sales. And higher sales should more than offset the cost of hiring seasoned professionals.

Many companies will blame their downturn in sales on the economy without thinking about the consequences of cutting the professionals who produce the images of their products. And this will make a difficult economic climate for catalogs decidedly worse.
Laura L. Hamblen
Independent stylist/photo art director


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E-mail: melissa.dowling@penton.com

Phone: 203-358-9900

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Letter: 11 River Bend Drive South, Stamford, CT 06907

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