Branching Out: Successful Spin-off Titles Expand Coldwater Creek’s Brand Territory
For example, after six years in the business with Northcountry, management started noticing a strength in sales on the apparel side, Shonk-Simmons explains.
That factor, coupled with the social trend toward a less formal yet tailored mode of work attire, led Coldwater Creek to the realization that there was an untapped market of customers who needed more sophisticated clothing for the workplace, but still hungered for the same appeal of the garments sold in Northcountry.
So in 1993, Coldwater Creek launched a new title called Spirit of the West, filled with more upscale fashions constructed of slightly more expensive fabrics but still tightly focused on the Northwestern theme.
Three years later, Coldwater Creek expanded its offerings again, this time hoping to make deeper inroads within each customer household with Milepost Four, a catalog of men’s fashions.
Opportunity came knocking one more time at the end of 1997, when a resurgence of consumer interest in home life created a flood of new catalogs. Coldwater Creek recognized this trend and began testing for its Bed & Bath spin-off in 1998. “The Bed & Bath book evolved from some analysis of the sales patterns on the soft home merchandise occasionally carried in Northcountry,” Shonk-Simmons explains.
The successful addition of more home furnishings to Northcountry proved this product line could stand on its own. The Bed & Bath spin-off rolled out in August 1998, and almost one year later, management has repositioned the title as Coldwater Creek Home. The first mailing dropped in July. Future campaigns for the Home book will add furniture to the current mix of linens, accent pieces and floor coverings, etc.
Shonk-Simmons believes in looking at popular culture for clues as to what will be the next big trend in merchandising. However, she cautions, you also have to pay careful attention to your brand.