Power-Packed Product Line: Focus on B-to-B Merchandising
Ron Mis sees Galeton as the Dell Computer of the work gear industry: manufacturing and marketing its own product line to a loyal fan base.
Mis, owner and president, likens Galeton’s business model to that of a true direct marketer, with cost advantages that a manufacturer enjoys when it sells its own goods direct to end-users.
By selling direct in this way, Mis explains, it “makes our business truer to the original concept of a direct marketer than many who call themselves that today. Many who say they’re direct marketers actually are distributors of other manufacturers’ products,” he explains.
Thus Massachusetts-based Galeton both makes and markets many of its own products, which include work gloves, footwear, eyewear, apparel, safety supplies and related merchandise.
Such a business model has served this business-to-business (b-to-b) cataloger well: Galeton is one of the few b-to-b catalogers to make the Catalog Success Top 200 list two consecutive years. This year it was ranked No. 152, with a 10 percent housefile-growth rate. And in 2004 Galeton was ranked No. 86 with a 27 percent customer growth rate.
Here’s the story of how this cataloger is using its merchandising mix to help grow its customer list.
In the Beginning
Galeton started as a glove-making business in 1908 by a Mr. Smith in Galeton, Pa. (His first name has been lost to history.) The company made and sold only work gloves until the 1980s.
The company, then known as Smith of Galeton, had a manufacturing facility in its original location in Galeton, until the 1990s, the same decade the company entered the catalog business.
Galeton had begun to expand into other product categories, but its new product tests were limited, and its expansion capacity was strained by both a lack of pages and funds. The company was producing a 30-page glove catalog when Mis bought it in 1997.