THT Designs spins off kids’ catalog

Thanks in large part to catalogs such as Pottery Barn Kids and Company Kids, there’s a wealth of merchants selling furnishings for children. And Omaha, NE-based THT Designs has entered the fray. But the parent company of gifts titles Tender Heart Treasures and A Special Place is selling furnishings not to youngsters but rather to the merchants who sell to children and their parents.

THT in September mailed 35,000 copies of THT Kids to attendees of the ABC Kids Expo, a juvenile-merchandise trade show; compiled lists of children’s-furniture, baby-accessories, and clothing retailers; and the subscriber lists of children’s-products trade magazines Kids Today and Giftware News Baby. THT distributed another 500 copies of the 20-page catalog at its booth at September’s ABC Kids Expo in Las Vegas.

In addition to the consumer versions of Tender Heart Treasures and A Special Place, THT produces b-to-b editions of the books, as well as another wholesale title, Infusion. The b-to-b books target small, independent retailers.

Initial response to the THT Kids catalog as part of a complete marketing campaign was 50% ahead of budget, says chief marketing officer Bob Toth. The average order size has come in 65% ahead of expectations. What’s more, delegates at the ABC Kids Expo had placed 20% more orders at the THT booth than the company had forecast.

To promote THT Kids before the ABC show, the company in early September conducted an outbound telemarketing campaign, calling nearly 750 delegates. THT also sent permission-based e-mails to 1,000 attendees announcing the new catalog. It sent promotional faxes to another 1,000 who hadn’t opted in for e-mails and mailed postcards to about 5,000 other delegates.

Girl power

The products offered in the THT Kids catalog are primarily for babies and young girls. They include lamps, decorative pillows, wall art, and picture frames. The catalog features the Vintage Baby, Fairy Princess, and Ladybug Love brands that THT had launched two years ago in a small children’s section of its Tender Heart Treasures catalog. Those lines, Toth says, have performed well among both the targeted specialty retailers and the consumers who receive Tender Heart Treasures, which led to the spin-off.

THT Designs plans to produce a consumer edition of the THT Kids book that will mail in February to 500,000 Tender Heart customers and 250,000 prospects. It plans to mail the consumer book twice a year, compared with three or four times a year for the wholesale version.