Q&A: BlueSky Brands’ Richard Hebert on Recent, Future Acquisitions, Goals
Having recently signed licensing agreements with the catalog brands from nonprofit organizations, Winterthur Museum and the National Wildlife Federation, Allston, Mass.-based catalog holding firm BlueSky Brands now operates five titles, including Paragon Gifts, Bits & Pieces and Bits & Pieces UK. BlueSky Brands CEO Richard Hebert discussed with Catalog Success his company’s recent acquisitions, business strategies and plans for the future.
Catalog Success: What are BlueSky Brands’ goals?
Richard Hebert: We’re looking to grow organically, as well as through acquisition. We’ve been pretty acquisitive so far, having obtained five retail direct-to-consumer brands in addition to the AB&C Group, our fulfillment company. And you will certainly see us continue to be active in acquiring retail, Web and catalog brands in the next year.
CS: Are you leveraging the AB&C Group to improve the catalog brands you’ve already acquired?
RH: We have two businesses at AB&C. One is our third-party fulfillment business, which is very important to us. We are investing significantly in that business. There are obvious economies of scale to be leveraged in the fulfillment area. We’re looking to leverage the third-party fulfillment business across the other brands.
CS: Regarding the licensing agreements with Winterthur and the National Wildlife Federation, what’s in it for BlueSky?
RH: We’re licensing the brands. We’re running the catalog businesses for them, operating them on their behalf. We gain all the benefits of operating those businesses as if we own them. But we don’t own them. These are licensing agreements with the sponsoring institutions and we work in close partnership so to the consumer it appears as if there’s no change.
CS: What are your immediate plans for those two licensed brands?
RH: We want to grow them. We’re investing in infrastructure, such as new e-commerce platforms and expanded e-marketing, in addition to expanding traditional catalog marketing. We’ll also test alternative direct marketing strategies.