Ingredients for Success
How the catalog started: Demand from outside of its market for products from parent company King Arthur Flour, coupled with the company’s commitment to the American tradition of home baking, provided the impetus for the introduction of The Baker’s Catalogue in 1990.
“Calls were increasing from people who had previously lived in the New England area,” says Steve Voigt, president of King Arthur Flour, a 213-year-old company. “They’d ask us to send them some flour. It didn’t take too long to see there was a business there.”
Grew up in: Westport, CT
Education: After receiving bachelor’s degrees in mathematical
economics and German, Voigt obtained his Master of Business Administration from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.
Early experience: Voigt started out as an associate at McKinsey & Co., a management consulting company. He credits this experience with giving him knowledge in two primary business areas: detailed data analysis and strategic thinking. “Both of these are core to all direct marketing companies,” says Voigt.
Favorite catalogs: Voigt admits he mostly enjoys catalogs that feature outdoor products. “I like Pata-gonia; I read it like a magazine and the product is presented in an attractive way.” He also enjoys Orvis and L.L. Bean’s catalogs. “They bring the reader in … getting them excited about what they’ll do next.”
His primary characteristics: Voigt admits he holds the bar high. He also possesses a sense of balance between outside life and work. “It’s about good prioritization,” he says. “I like working smart and doing the right things — not just doing things right. If I nail those two things, I’m in pretty good shape.”
Responsibilities: Voigt oversees many team meetings and focuses on his annual planning role. “I ask, ‘What will we produce, and how do we get there?’ I look at things on a more strategic level.”