Potpourri Catalog

Merchandise, Talent, Inventory, Brand Extension, PR and More Highlight NEMOA Session
March 18, 2008

Merchandise is still king. That was only one of a handful of themes taken from a wide-ranging and spirited session at last week’s NEMOA Spring 2008 Conference in Cambridge, Mass. This particular session included Derrick Egbert, president of New Perspectives; Allen Abbott, EVP/COO of Paul Frederick MenStyle; Jonathan Fleischmann, president/ CEO of the Potpourri Group; and Dana Pappas, COO/CFO of Plow & Hearth. It focused on the pressures of managing a catalog business in today’s uncertain economic times. Below are some of the tips/observations taken from the panelists and audience members. * Merchandise: “It’s the starting point,” Fleischmann said. The need for collaboration

Jack Rosenfeld’s Take on 2008: Play Good Defense
February 5, 2008

During the Jan. 29 DMA Catalog on the Road conference in Cambridge, Mass., Jack Rosenfeld, chairman of the multititle gifts cataloger Potpourri Group and former CEO of Hanover Direct, offered several tips and his overall take on catalogers’ best approach to what’s shaping up to be a difficult year ahead. “There are times to be offensive and times to get defensive,” he said. “Right now’s the time to play defense and hang in there.” Among other tips, Rosenfeld suggested raising product prices, taking advantage of postal reform, backing off aggressive marketing by reeling in circulation, and looking for possible acquisitions or acquirers. Sharing experiences

Behind NEMOA’s Backing of New Catalog Group
February 1, 2008

In announcing its formal backing of the recently created American Catalog Mailers Association (ACMA) on Dec. 18, NEMOA board members are making a bold statement that the half-year-old organization can best represent their 110-plus catalog members’ interests, particularly in postal matters, going forward. Positioning itself as a catalogers-only group, ACMA is also focused on do-not-mail legislation and privacy. “ACMA will represent our specific needs relative to postal affairs, do-not-mail, privacy, environmental [policies] and whatever else comes our way over the coming year,” says Jon Fleischmann, president/CEO of the Potpourri Group and a NEMOA board member. Fleischmann believes potential benefits offered by the ACMA include

Prospecting: Teach an Old Trade New (and Not so New) Tricks
August 1, 2007

Imagine copying the names of doctors and lawyers from the phone book and mailing them a crude, black-and-white catalog. John Figi, founder of gift food cataloger Figi’s, did just this —and was rewarded with a response in excess of 10 percent! That was in the 1940s, when Americans were starved for retail options. Fast-forward to 2007. Companies have more than 20 square feet of retail space per capita. Customers and prospects have thousands of Web sites from which to order, as well as about 10 to 20 catalogs delivered weekly. Naturally, it’s small wonder that prospecting response rates are declining. So, just what techniques

The Year in Review
December 1, 2005

Each December I like to look back to see what the year brought, what news, trends and activities may have impacted the catalog/e-commerce industry. And 2005 was another eventful year. Mergers and acquisitions continued heating up. Kmart merged with Sears/Lands’ End. Private equity firm Bain Capital Partners bought multititle cataloger School Specialty. American Capital Strategies bought Potpourri Group. InterActive Corp. purchased Cornerstone Brands. In some ways this could be called the Year of the Private Investor. Private equity houses discovered something we already know: The catalog/e-commerce industry is dynamic and full of rich potential. My message to those private investors: “Welcome to

2002 Catalogers of the Year
July 1, 2002

The winners of the first-annual Catalog Success Catalogers of the Year awards have brought a wealth of experiences, knowledge and skills to the industry. On the following pages you’ll meet these impressive catalogers. We’re honored to recognize the contributions these five professionals have made to cataloging. “These are challenging times for catalogers,” said Peggy Hatch, group publisher, Catalog Success magazine. “What better time to stop and recognize four remarkable individuals and their extraordinary success? I know that catalogers will find these stories both inspirational and educational. Catalog Success is delighted to showcase these catalog professionals, and we heartily congratulate them on their awards.”