Ingredients for a Catalog Startup
Finding time to grow. An unanticipated challenge for a startup, says Spitalny, is trying to keep up with growth. “When you start out, you have no knowledge of manufacturing, direct marketing or catalogs. You’re learning so fast that you don’t have time to plan new projects.”
For example, she says, having a seasonal peak at the holidays has always meant gearing up in September for the rush and shelving any new projects until January. “That’s changing for the first time this year,” she says happily. “We’re just now at the level where we have a team in place and everything on the operations side is running smoothly enough so that the executive staff can continue to move ahead with planning.”
Opportunities await. Spitalny knows that a lot of opportunity exists in the corporate business. Key to stepping up the company’s b-to-b effort is finding the right person to head corporate sales. “We need a dedicated person in charge of that effort.”
Fairytale’s initial attempt at business-focused marketing will consist of a catalog featuring a separate cover depicting custom boxes, and on the back of that cover, information on volume discounts for corporate customers. The guts of the catalog will be the same as the consumer book. In the next one to two years, Spitalny hopes to have a separate business catalog and to be growing that business segment. “We always knew it was there,” she says. “It was just finding the right time to explore it.”
The Internet is the other area Fairytale hopes to leverage in the next year. “Online has become a big part of the business for us, ranging from 20 percent to 40 percent of sales in the off season. The goal is to have it year ‘round at about 30 percent,” Spitalny says, noting that the Web is a great tool for a small cataloger.