A Chat With March’s Profile, Martin Smith, CEO of MindWare
Catalog Success: Where is the company headquartered?
Martin Smith: Minneapolis/St. Paul. Roseville to be more specific — just north of those two cities.
CS: What year was the catalog established?
MS: I believe Jeanne [Voigt, the founder of MindWare] started it in 1990. It’s certainly not earlier than that; it might have been 1991.
CS: What is the primary merchandise offered in your catalog?
MS: Toys and games, all of which have some educational or developmental attributes. This could be physical attributes, physical developmental skills, or it could be mental skills … it could be math, it could be more literary, it could be creative. The common thread that links all the products is that they have a benefit over-and-above enjoyment in the narrow sense.
CS: It really stresses an educational benefit to it?
MS: Yes it does. We wouldn’t carry something which was a straight mass-merchandiser product that was just a game or just a toy that had zero educational content.
CS: How many titles (books) does the company mail?
MS: Just the one title [MindWare].
CS: How mailings per year? Both what you did in 2007 and what the company has planned for 2008?
MS: We had seven major mailings last year and we’re still in the process of really reviewing what happened in the fall holiday season of last year, so things might change. But I would think the seven is likely to hold again for 2008.
CS: What’s the annual circulation of the catalog?
MS: We certainly don’t have a final figure for 2008, but I’d think it would be in the 12 million to 15 million range.
CS: Will this figure be based off of 2007?
MS: That will be upon ’07. In that bracket I’m kind of allowing for the possibility — because our ‘07 figures were generally encouraging — that there might be some modest growth in circulation.