Vermont Country Store
When it comes to controlling what should be on a catalog's cover, it seems like everyone gets into the act, even the company president's wife. When there's that much input, inevitable differences arise. This series on catalog covers will provide guidelines for handling those differences of opinion.
PATIENT: "Doc, our new owners want to change the catalog so it's more like a series of ads — aspirational, exciting, clean, with attention-grabbing headlines on each spread. They figure ads work to drive sales to their brick-and-mortar stores, so that proven formula will work for the catalog too."
Old brands don't die, they just retire to Vermont. The Vermont Country Store, that is, which bills itself as the "Purveyors of the Practical and Hard-to-Find." About 15 million U.S. households are hearing the thunk of its catalog hitting their mailboxes this Christmas, its pages packed with generations of venerable products from Jubliee kitchen wax and Lifebuoy soap to Turkish Taffy to Postum — even Fuller Brush products. A trip through its print or web pages is a trip down memory lane. Just check the comments section.
As a copywriter, you have copy tools at your disposal to increase copy scannability. More scannable copy means more folks read … and buy. Try these tips:
The Vermont Country Store is suing an Indiana catalog company for copying its trademarks, slogan, look, layout and the content of its unique catalog. In its lawsuit, Vermont Country Store claims that DRG Texas, L.P, which publishes Good Old Days Magazine, designed the catalog to confuse consumers to believe their products are associated with the Vermont Country Store.
The cross-channel retail industry is at a crossroads. For starters, due to the economic downturn, the past couple of years have been difficult for the retail sector. But that's changing. Retailers are starting to see signs of life and are breathing a sigh of relief. At press time, for example, it was announced that February retail sales increased 0.6 percent over January and 4.2 percent year-over-year, according to the National Retail Federation.
Mildred Ellen Orton, who co-founded the Vermont Country Store with her husband, has died. Orton died at her home in Weston, Vt. last week at the age of 99. Her son, Lyman Orton, who now owns the mail order company with his three sons, says she did the paperwork and bookkeeping for more than 30 years for the company she and her husband, Vrest, started in 1946.
In a session at last month's National Conference on Operations & Fulfillment in Orlando, Fla., a panel of cross-channel marketers spanning a wide array of product categories presented tips on how their companies survived the economic pressures of 2009 to see the promise of 2010.
New York, NY, February 4, 2010 — The Direct Marketing Association (DMA), the leading global trade association of businesses and nonprofit multichannel direct marketers, today named Robert (Bob) Allen, Interim President & CEO. Mr. Allen, an award winning direct marketing executive, is the former President & CEO of The Vermont Country Store, a multichannel retailer of hard-to-find products. He will assume the title of Interim President & CEO effective Friday, February 5, and be based in DMA's New York office.
PATIENT: Why aren’t catalogs prettier than they are? Isn’t a beautiful design the best thing for my catalog? CATALOG DOCTOR: It’s true that many catalogs aren’t as pretty as they could be. Most important, of course, is what lifts sales. Will beauty improve sales for you? Let’s try to answer that, then look at how to achieve beauty. Look at Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous “Mona Lisa,” acknowledged as beautiful art the world over. Whether from the colors, the proportions or the mysterious smile, it has the underlying elements that make people want to look at it and hang it on their walls.