Great to Be Back
I'm writing this, my first column for Catalog Success, on a train from New York to Philadelphia, a day before formally joining the magazine. Although I'll focus my future Editor's Takes solely on the catalog business, please bear with me this go-round as I reintroduce myself to you all.
I started covering the catalog business as a journalist back in 1986. Over the years, I reported on various goings-on in the field, such as the mainstream use of 800 numbers, credit cards, and express delivery; the advent of co-op databases; the rise of Williams-Sonoma, CDW and The Sharper Image; the stunning collapse of Foster & Gallagher and the demise of the old Sears Wishbook; the rise, fall and rebirth of countless catalogers such as Spiegel, Boston Proper, Fingerhut and Tiger Direct; and the stunning acquisitions of Lands' End, Quill and Viking.
Of course, there was rarely a shortage of postal and use-tax to cover — two necessary evils no mailer can get enough of, right? But on to new things. After years of reporting on "as the catalog world turns," I'm excited to start working more closely with you. In some respects, I'd like to do what catalogers do best: to help customers come up with solutions. Likewise, Catalog Success exists to help catalogers succeed, to be your strategic partner.
In its seven-year existence, Catalog Success has thrived by bringing readers useful, actionable ideas. Plain and simple, nothing fancy. The results have been remarkable, considering the catalog market's relatively small size and maturity. And I intend to build on this thriving platform.
I equate this magazine's mantra to what I've often heard from mailers at industry conferences over the years: "If I can come away from this event with one or two really useful ideas, the trip will have paid for itself." I'd like every issue to yield a whole lot more than that, but if you get one or two million-dollar ideas out of a particular edition, then I'd say we've done our jobs.
But, as I get my feet wet here, I need some help. What do you want to know more about? Has response slipped, and you can't figure out why? Are shipping or distribution costs getting out of line? Too many shopping carts being left abandoned? Let me know, and I'll look to address it.
I'm not the only one who wants to know. If you have a success story to share with your peers, an article to contribute or just an idea to explore, talk to me.
If you asked me what I found most frustrating in my prior work in this business, it's that beyond a core few, catalogers rarely contact us. Think of Catalog Success as your catalog idea exchange. Give a little; take a lot.
As I settle into my new office in Somers, N.Y., in Westchester County, I look forward to hearing from you, and seeing all of you again at upcoming conferences!