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

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