Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Retrospective: Special Occasions 2008

As we prepare to release Paperly’s Special Occasions catalog for 2011-12 (available on April 1, 2011), I thought it would be fun (and eye-opening) to write a retrospective on catalogs from Paperly’s past. Below is the second in the series. My first blog entry focused on Paperly’s original catalog, Everyday Collection 2007. The entry below discusses Paperly’s very first Special Occasions catalog.

While there were many positives that came out of this initial foray into a Special Occasions catalog, there were many mistakes we made and learned from, including:
  • In an effort to be cost conscious, we shrunk the size of the catalog to 8.5” x 5.5”. Big mistake! Unfortunately, it made this catalog seem inferior compared to the 8.5” x 11” Everyday Collection catalog. Lesson learned: Always make your catalogs the same size!
  • We introduced a gorgeous set of stationery that included 30 flat notes and envelopes, packaged within a sturdy, well-designed gift box. We loved it! Unfortunately, to make a reasonable margin on it, we needed to price the product at $75! Wow – lesson learned: There is a price point that cannot be exceeded. We now aim for all personalized gifts to fit within the $19.95 - $34.95 price range.
  • One of the catalogs most popular products was 300 memo sheets stored in a gorgeous linen holder for only $30. It was a hit! Actually, it was too big of a hit, because we quickly sold out and our manufacturer couldn’t replenish the product fast enough. For the first time, Paperly had to tell its Consultants that we were back-ordered. Yuck! From that point forward, I vowed to never let Paperly get into a foreseeable backorder situation like that again.
Whew – lots of mistakes, but lots of success too. We quickly learned of the market’s insatiable appetite for reasonably priced, personalized beverage napkins, guest towels, teacher gifts and notepads. All those items continue to be strong winners for Paperly.

I must admit, it is fun looking back at Paperly’s past catalogs. I can’t wait to write about Paperly’s next one.

Until then,
Jay Rudman, CEO * Co-Owner, Paperly

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bridget’s Paperly Party

Recently, I asked BridgetG - a Paperly Consultant who was traveling to her hometown to conduct two Paperly parties – to document her parties using Paperly’s Flip video camera. Below are a few video segments, taken by Bridget (although disappointedly we never see her in any of the shots!), intended to show how fun and easy a Paperly party is. Thank you Bridget for allowing us to peek into your parties.

Sample Table
I love this shot of Bridget’s sample table. It is so densely displayed… you certainly get the feel that Paperly offers tons of options from personalized stationery (e.g. flat notes, folded notes, memo sheets, note pads, etc.) to personalized gifts (e.g. clipboards, placemats, wine tags, etc.). I especially love the creative use of the tennis ball as a sample holder. Wish I had thought of that!

By the way, I’ve heard from Paperly Consultants that they love that Paperly’s samples are easy to tote from one party to the next. Guess that’s one of the beautiful things about paper: it’s lightweight!

Below, I’ve included video of customers from both of Bridget’s parties. Why? Because I love that one party takes place around the kitchen table and the other takes place in the living room. The two scenes prove that there is no “perfect” or “right” party. Instead, it’s whatever works for the Consultant and Hostesses. Equally as important, both of these videos provide a brief glimpse at the energy inherent in a Paperly party. Yea!

Hostess Rewards
I must admit, this is my favorite of Bridget’s videos. I love hearing what the Hostess plans to spend her Rewards on: personalized stationery (the blue Grecian Band folded note is one of my favorites too!), a self-inking stamp and luggage/bag tags. Furthermore, I couldn’t have said it better: This has been "definitely the most fun and the most successful" party the Hostess has been a part of. I’m so happy to hear it!

Thank you, thank you, thank you Bridget for sharing your Paperly parties with us. If you're interested in hosting a party for Bridget, you can find her at http://www.mypaperly.com/Bridget.

And of course, like all good movies, we’re already preparing the sequel. The Flip recorder is on its way to another Paperly Consultant. I can’t wait to see what her party is like!

Jay Rudman, CEO, Paperly

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Retrospective: Everyday Collection 2007

As we prepare to release Paperly’s Special Occasions catalog for 2011-12 (available on April 1, 2011), I thought it would be fun to start a retrospective series on catalogs from Paperly’s past. So let’s dial the time machine way, way, way back to Paperly’s very first catalog, Everyday Collection 2007.

Being our very first catalog, boy did we make a lot of mistakes with it! Here are just a few key learnings we discovered:
  • The catalog had no pricing! How is that possible, you ask? Well, we envisioned the catalog to be a mere complement to a 3-ring album we had put together, so we put pricing in the album but not in the catalog. Big mistake! We quickly learned that the catalog needed to stand on its own… and soon, we ditched the album altogether.
  • There were no exclusive products! Instead, Paperly used other company’s designs and passed along orders to those companies. Big mistake! Without exclusive designs, customers asked why purchase from Paperly as opposed to the designers directly. Plus, without owning the designs, there isn’t enough margin to pay our Consultants the commissions they deserve.
  • We showcased the designs, but not the product! For example, we’d show an icon of ballet shoes, but we wouldn’t show that icon on a flat note, folded note, luggage tag, address label, etc. We learned that customers need to see the product in use, as a flat note – for example – and preferably in a photo, so depth, contrast and scale were all readily evident.
I could probably go on and on about other mistakes we made with this first catalog, but the important thing is we quickly learned from our mistakes and our catalogs have continued to get better and better.

My next blog entry will discuss Paperly’s first Special Occasions catalog!

Until then, 
Jay Rudman, CEO * Co-Owner, Paperly