Tailoring Directly to Their Customers: A Chat With Sue & Robert Prenner
Catalog Success: What are your catalog’s customer demographics?
Sue Prenner: Professional men over the age of 45, but we’re trying to get younger.
Bob Prenner: We’re in sort of a niche market for people who like traditional clothing.
Sue: We like to say that it’s classic style and so for a long time the only people who recognized classic style were people who would be in that age demographic. But now it’s becoming fashionable, so they’re people who have never seen classic style before who are interested in it. But our price point is high so its going to appeal to the same fella who’s buying at Banana Republic or J. Crew. It may appeal to him, but he’s not going to be in a position to afford it as readily.
CS: Is it a goal of the company to drive down the demographic age?
BP: Well absolutely! You don’t change your clothes in the cemetery.
CS: What is your primary merchandise?
SP: We started with mens’ furnishings, particularly neckwear and shirts. Now we have a significant number of jackets and trousers.
BP: We’ve also introduced an eyeglass frame catalog. Ties are the largest segment followed by shirts, but believe it or not, shoes and eyeglasses come next.
SP: I would say eyeglasses are bigger than shirts. We’ve had spin-off catalogs on eyewear and shoes since 2003. Regimental neckwear, authentic British regimental neckties — stripes — have always been a strength for us. We can direct you from your shoes all the way up to your eyeglasses.
CS: What are the number of SKUs offered?
BP: Individual units? In the thousands. For example, these jewelry items that have a particular design for a school or just a generic design that could be available — it could be in brass, it could be in gold plate, in sterling silver, solid gold — are all a different SKU, and yet it’s the same design. It explodes out.