Input comes from the whole staff, including customer service representatives, shipping and fulfillment, the returns department, even human resources.
Art Director Maryalice Eckart relates an instance of the democratic, spontaneous spirit of creative participation at the catalog: “We were in a final proofing session for the Winter 2000 catalog. Our purchasing manager, Kerry Franz, who usually concentrates on the numbers … saw the holiday party image on the cover of the package stuffer and suggested we call it Holiday 2000,” which immediately made more sense to Eckart, and the idea was adopted.
Director of Marketing Stephanie Sanders Ferris followed a “gut feeling” in hiring Eckart, whose children go to school with Wright’s and Laufer’s in this college-filled area of Massachusetts.
“It’s her vision largely that makes us look like a bigger company than we are,” she says.
Surprisingly, this is the first catalog Eckart has designed. Like many employees, she nursed her first child, and says she “liked the idea of designing for a company that does things I think are worthwhile.”
Creative Is Queen
Wright and the team avoid a hard-sell approach: “Dealing with breastfeeding mothers, we feel we always need to be subtle … We want our Web site or catalog to be something that relaxes people and makes them feel comfortable and confident in themselves. We don’t want to tell people ‘buy, buy, buy’—we want people to nurse first,” Wright says.
The front of the Fall book (to page 8) contains editorial copy only, mainly instructional or testimonial in nature. By contrast, “most catalogs start selling in the first or at latest by the second spread,” notes Wright. Thus Motherwear is “more like a magalog than a catalog … We found it hard to mix that information in with selling copy. We felt that people really needed to know that information.”