Not just for children anymore

Portland, OR-based children’s apparel mailer Hanna Andersson has gone beyond offering grown-ups a limited selection of what some company executives refer to as “matchie-matchie” clothing (matching mother-daughter sets). The cataloger of cotton apparel is pumping up its product offerings for women in its 74-page spring book by expanding women’s clothing to an eight-page section.

“In fall 1997 we introduced two pages of easy knits for women,” says Rene Corapi, director of marketing. For the spring catalog, she says, Hanna Andersson “pulled out all the women’s apparel, added to it, and put it in one section.” Approximately 2 million spring catalogs were mailed to customers and prospects, in two drops-one in January and the second in February.

The eight pages of women’s clothing are a mixture of several mother-daughter sets and single offerings of casual knit tops, dresses, pants, and loungewear. The emphasis is not on glamour or high fashion but on versatility and comfort.

So far, so good Hanna Andersson, which is testing covers with and without a promotion for the new section on women’s apparel, has had a “favorable” response to the beefing up of the women’s line, Corapi says. “We’re selling the women’s well. Definitely customers who know our merchandise love our fabric.”

While she admits that the first mailing of the spring book was “soft,” response started to pick up in mid-March. And as of early May, according to Corapi, the cataloger was “doing really well” with the women’s apparel.

As for the future, “we’ll always be a children’s apparel catalog first,” Corapi says. The mailer will continue to run the women’s offerings, but it has no plans to launch any women’s clothing catalog spin-offs, she asserts. Currently Hanna Andersson mails five catalogs annually, plus two sale books.

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