Scott Shrake

Scott Shrake
Haute@Home Delivers Delectables

At a dinner party, a chef must blend flavors and textures masterfully to create something that a group of diverse people will enjoy. Likewise, the Haute@Home catalog mixes different selling propositions to form a cohesive shopping experience for everyone from novice entertainers who can only boil water, to seasoned cooking and restaurant professionals. Florencia Palmaz, creator and president of Haute@Home, exemplifies the busy entertainer who wants casual elegance delivered quickly to the table. Her mother and business partner, Amalia Palmaz, comes from a more formal entertaining tradition in which the hostess prepares everything from scratch. Both women, who hail from Argentina, are experts on

Creative Cut: Motherwear

Mothers who nurse their babies do so for an average of two and a half months—so a catalog of specially designed garments for breastfeeding moms would seem to have a small window of opportunity in which to sell. But customers of Motherwear in Northampton, MA, nurse an average of 16 months. Why? Partly because they love the clothes so much, according to what they tell company President Jody Wright. In the first three-quarters of the year Wright and her husband Prakash Laufer started producing the catalog, sales growth topped 350 percent. Prior to taking over the helm of Motherwear in 1986, Wright had

Digital Printing Technology in Use

What comes after computer-to-plate (CTP) on the printing-technology horizon? That’s what Editor in Chief Alicia Orr asked you, our readers, in the September issue of Catalog Success. The answer we’ve heard from many quarters is direct-to-press (DTP), which means means the digital imaging of the plate on an offset press, whereas in CTP, the plate is done off press. As part of a digital workflow, both CTP and DTP eliminate film. Ira Gold, a digital workflow consultant in Rockaway, N.J., says that DTP has been slow to catch on, “We’re seeing a confluence of digital printing and digital imaging [DTP] technology.” A

Creative Cut: The Power of Type

The words you’re reading right now are printed in the New Baskerville typeface, at 11 points, with 12-point leading (spacing between lines). This point size and leading are considered just right for readability. Cyrus Highsmith, a type designer at the Font Bureau in Boston, says New Baskerville is popular because its “transitional” look blends the loopy traces of handwriting with the cold geometry of modern type styles. This font is a revival of a typeface originally drawn by English typesetter John Baskerville in the 18th century. Highsmith says Baskerville’s type looked crisper due to the paper he used. Some critics thought the

Alternate Media Other Catalogers Use and Why

Producing and mailing a catalog can be a most expensive undertaking. With alternate media you can achieve some of the same goals as with a print catalog: Testing, driving customers (new or existing) to your e--commerce site and building awareness/loyalty. Speaking at the Annual Catalog Conference in June, Kevin Kotowski, of Olson Kotowski & Co. in Los Angeles, named some top reasons catalogers use alternate media, or “non-catalog pieces:” 1) cheaper prospecting than with full-sized catalog drops, since most alternate media are cheaper to produce and mail; 2) building and strengthening your customer relationships with name and product awareness; 3)

Creative Cut- Godiva (1,113 words)

By Scott Shrake The name "Godiva" denotes first the mythical nude Lady, and second, a brand of luxury confections. To some, the order of association may even be reversed: The brand is that strong. Founded in Brussels, Belgium, by Joseph Draps in 1926, Godiva Chocolatier introduced its chocolates to Americans 40 years later. Godiva, now with world headquarters in New York City, has been credited with single-handedly creating the U.S. market for "super-premium chocolates." It now markets in three channels: retail, catalog and Web. Just like print, online catalogs are always evolving, taking advantage of new technology and fresh realizations about the character of

Creative Cut: Ross-Simons

Designers and marketers see both limitations and advantages in Web-site creative. The overarching limitation is a lack of control in the appearance of the end product because of differing technologies on consumers’ computers. On the flip side, Web sites can be altered “on the fly,” making them a more dynamic place for testing and learning about customer preferences. Deborah Kania is lead marketer at multichannel optical supplier Lens Express in Deerfield Beach, FL, co-author of “The Web Catalog Cookbook” and “The Internet World Guide to One-To-One Web Marketing,” and author of the upcoming book “” She observes, “Two of the biggest changes

Day with a Pro: Dick Marsel, Printing Manager, Quad/Graphics

In the quaint Hudson River Valley town of Saratoga Springs, NY, most everyone greets passersby with a hearty “How are you today?” When catalogers make an on-press visit to the Quad/Graphics printing plant here, their experience fits with the bonhomie of the town. After passing by the waving flags bearing the logos of the magazines and catalogs currently on press, the first person a visitor might see is plant manager Dick Marsel. A veteran of the printing industry, Marsel has been in charge of the Saratoga facility since 1985. “I was one of the first plant managers at Quad/Graphics, so it was

Launching a Maternity Catalog In Print and Online

It is happening more often—an interesting reverse trend. New e-commerce companies recognizing the need to create greater awareness are producing print catalogs to help accomplish that task. Flush with Internet success, the exciting reality of creating a Web site and actually attracting visitors from everywhere who browse and buy spurs these companies to create new categories of catalogs. The Naissance maternity catalog is typical of this phenomenon. Naissance began operations two years ago as a retail maternity shop in a prestigious mall in suburban Los Angeles. The Internet site,, was developed soon afterwards. While the retail shop new business from as

Revelations Through Data Mining (1,141 words)

By Scott Shrake How housefile analysis helps The Parable Group's Christian booksellers use catalogs to drive retail sales It was one of those "Aha!" moments, says Jim Seybert, vice president of marketing for The Parable Group, a company that 330 independent Christian booksellers nationwide turn to for catalog and retail marketing expertise. Seybert continues: "An early eye opener for me about the power of housefile analysis came several years ago when the folks at KnowledgeBase Marketing [then known as Dynamic Marketing] gave us some lifestyle summaries of who our stores' customers are and what they look like." Among

A Curriculum for Cross-media Cataloging (912 words)

By Scott Shrake A Curriculum for School Specialty Inc.'s operations integration begins with a course in digital content management for print and Web catalog production Nationwide, teachers and school systems must equip classrooms with educational tools from globes and glue sticks to building blocks and Bunsen burners. These educators might tip a collective cap to companies such as School Specialty Inc. (SSI), an Appleton, WI-based distributor of non-textbook school supplies and furniture for pre-kindergarten through secondary education. SSI offers more than 66,000 products to schools throughout the country using print and online catalogs. Having grown considerably through acquisition, the company currently comprises

How catalogers merchandise a once-in-a-lifetime product

Dom Perignon, on tasting the first glass of champagne ever poured, is said to have proclaimed, “I’m drinking stars.” Ever since that moment, bubbly has been on hand for most celebrations, and heaven knows it needs to be served in the proper vessel: a champagne flute. While glassware is often marked with brand names or other messages, this New Year a special opportunity presented itself. What better, and rarer, occasion than a millennium-flip to toast with champagne? Put the two together and you get Year 2000 flutes. This spotlight shows a representative sampling of the positioning strategies for flutes featuring the year