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!
Jay Rudman, CEO * Co-Owner, Paperly