A Cut Above
August 1, 2008

Eight years ago, Terri Alpert reacted to a serious “holy crap!” moment. It was a reaction that set her company, then known as Professional Cutlery Direct, on a far steadier course than it might have wound up. Alpert uttered the exclamation when she realized that, over a period of time, the high-end kitchenware catalog business she launched in 1993 with less than $10,000, which prided itself on exacting product detail and attentive customer service, was now being more or less duplicated by practically every large retailer from New Haven to Nevada. “Things were looking good at that point, too,” says Alpert, founder/CEO of

Catalog Success 200
March 1, 2007

Sur La Table 163,680 56,295 191 $85 cookware Mokrynskidirect 12/06 9/05 139,829 51,031 174 $115 pet supplies List Locators 9/06 5/05 & Managers Knit Picks 73,502 27,347 169 $60 crafts Walter Karl 6/06 6/05 Cutter & Buck 70,938 30,555 132 $147 men’s apparel Mokrynskidirect 1/07 1/06 Kinsman Co. 27,090 12,695 113 $83 gardening supplies D-J Associates 12/06 9/05 Fannie May Confections 72,173 34,794 107 $36 candy, chocolates Millard Group 11/06 10/05 Leichtung Workshops 20,312 9,958 104 $52 woodworking tools Names & 9/06 7/05 Addresses Orion Telescopes 33,445 16,849 99 $175 telescopes Millard Group and Binoculars 7/06 7/05 Time for Me 141,411 71,958 97 $95 women’s apparel Mokrynskidirect 1/07 10/05 Siegel Display Products 33,569 17,474 92 $300 promotional display products Direct Media 10/06 10/05 Smith & Hawken 140,722 74,971 88 $125 gardening supplies Belardi/Ostroy ALC 11/06 10/05 Redding Medical 13,689 7,642 79 $95 nursing supplies Fasano and 12/06 8/05 Associates Penn Herb Co. Ltd. 26,459 14,837 78 $54 natural remedies Walter Karl 4/06 5/05 MidWest Edwin Watts Golf 328,416 185,448 77 $250 golf equipment Venture Direct 8/06 5/05 Worldwide Staples 3,843,101 2,183,681 76 $250 office products Direct Media 12/06 11/05 Sporty’s Men’s Collection 12,926 7,368 75.4 N/A men’s recreational products Millard Group 1/07 5/05 New England Business 1,114,626 636,766 75 $120 office products MeritDirect Service (NEBS) 12/06 9/05

CRM: Offer Only the Best
November 7, 2006

Identify your best customers and send them offers to get them to buy again — rather than spending a lot of money on reactivating lapsed customers who will then wait for another offer every time they buy. Your best customers will take one offer and buy again and again and again. —Susan Isley, director of marketing, silk flowers and home accessories catalog Petals

Multichannel Marketing: Integrate E-mails With Catalog Mailings to Improve Results and Cut Circulation
October 31, 2006

When developing an e-mail contact strategy, define the purpose of e-mailing your customers, advises Chris Topping, chief executive officer for silk flower and accessories catalog Petals, in a recent whitepaper. While catalogs continue to be the primary driver of online sales for Petals, e-mails provide a more narrowly defined target strategy for the promotion of online sales While Petals mails print catalogs every three to four weeks, it sends e-mails slightly more often, about every two to three weeks depending on seasonality, Topping says. While the e-mails are sent in support of the catalog mailing, they usually incentivize customers in a way that the

Multichannel Marketing: Network to Save Money
October 13, 2006

Look for ways to market without spending the money. Can you swap links, do product swaps with other merchants or develop affiliate relationships that don’t cost you anything? —Susan Isley, director of marketing, silk flowers and home accessories catalog, Petals

Direct Marketing: 10 Key Strategies from List Vision’s 50 in 50
August 29, 2006

The best tips often are small actionable ideas that come in large doses. Such was the case at the “50 Direct Marketing Tips in 50 Minutes” session at the recent List Vision conference in New York. What follows is a highlight reel of some of the most applicable tips for catalogers. 1. Segment your search engine marketing (SEM) offers by geographic region. “People from different places often benefit from a different user experience,” said Kevin Lee, founder and executive chairman of search engine marketing firm There are a lot of customer characteristics that correlate with geography, such as income level or psychographics. The

Merchandising: Use the Web as a Price Proving Ground
April 26, 2005

Catalogers should consider using the Web for price testing, said Daniel Dorzback, chief merchandising officer at Petals, a silk flower and decorative accessories catalog, when he spoke at the Hudson Valley Direct Marketing Association’s”Meet the Catalogers” luncheon held in Greenwich, Conn., in early April. “In our paper catalogs, we may run a promotional price test, but not a test across our entire mailing segment,” he said. “We use our Web site as a testing ground -- like a lab to look at different Web exclusives to see how customers will buy into new product categories.” The beauty of online product testing is that the Web provides”a

Catalog Executive Panel: Multichannel Customers Reign Supreme
March 15, 2005

Multichannel marketing and customer relations were the primary business issues cited by three catalog executives speaking at the Hudson Valley Direct Marketing Association’s luncheon Feb. 23 in Rye, N.Y. Despite their diverse markets, Lillian Vernon President Jonathan Shapiro, CM Almy President Stephen Fendler, and Petals CEO Chris Topping agreed on the need for continuity among sales channels in order to grow their businesses. With 45 percent of its orders coming online during the holiday 2004 season, Lillian Vernon is particularly attentive to the rapid channel shift to online buying. “I call it ‘shift happens’,” Shapiro said. “It’s important for us, and everybody, to understand the