Icarus Peterman

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

This month, we begin a new column devoted to introducing you to your colleagues in cataloging. Enjoy! Who did not love J. Peterman’s catalogs—dubbed “Owner’s Manuals”—and his wonderfully wafty copy that turned every SKU into an award-winning short story? But in the late 1990s, Peterman lived every cataloger’s worst nightmare: investors squeezing him to grow and be profitable, forcing him to spend his time chasing capital rather than chasing great product and making deals. In the end, he tried to open 70 retail stores, succeeded in opening 10, but then went bust, turning over the detritus of a magnificent dream to a

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