A Chat with Steve Singer, president, Hartford York
© Profile of Success, Catalog Success magazine, April 2006
Interview by Matt Griffin
Catalog Success: When was the catalog established?
Steve Singer: It was established in the mid-1990s, but it was a very small venture. I came to it in 2000.
CS: Where are the headquarters located?
Singer: I run the business from my home in Yearington, Nev., but the physical plant is in Stockton, Calif.
CS: And your primary merchandise?
Singer: Men's hats and accessories.
CS: What's your annual circulation?
Singer: This year is 1.6 million.
CS: How did the catalog get started?
Singer: It was started ... by the original owners, Dorfman Pacific, a large hat and cap wholesaler. I bought the company from Dorfman Pacific in 2000.
CS: Had you had any experience in cataloging when you bought the company?
Singer: Yes, I was co-founder/owner of a company called Lilliput Motor Co., which we started in 1990.
CS: Tell me a little bit about that experience, starting that catalog.
Singer: Lilliput was a great, little company. My partner and I started it in 1990, after a failed retail store — a toy store in San Francisco. At the time we were selling a very narrow product mix that was entirely mechanical toy cars. Kid's mechanical, toy cars. The company product palette expanded rapidly during the 1990s, and it was a great little venture. We started the company on credit cards, and we prospered from the very beginning. We sold the company in 1996 to Genesis Direct, and bought it back from them a few years later when they failed. That company is still very much in business. I left it in 1999.
CS: When you came over to Harford York, what was your biggest challenge the first few years?
Singer: My biggest challenge was to figure out how to get a customer the right size hat, minimizing returns and exchanges. We accomplished that by devising a bind-in