Cataloger Puts Focus on House Brands

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NapaStyle, St. Helena, CA, plans to send the second mailing of its summer catalog after dropping 120,000 copies last month.


The gourmet food cataloger will mail a total of 500,000 summer books, with a final mailing planned for June.


"The number for each drop will vary," said Eileen Gordon, NapaStyle's vice president of marketing. "We're targeting the drops around big holidays such as Mother's Day and Father's Day and graduation, times when people tend to entertain a lot."


NapaStyle is owned by celebrity chef and TV host Michael Chiarello. The company dropped its first catalog in November to 100,000 consumers, targeting metropolitan areas where Chiarello's cooking show, "Season by Season," is seen on public broadcasting stations. The November book generated an average sales order of $75. No figures were available for the summer catalog.


The catalogs and a Web site, www.napastyle.com, feature specialty food items and utensils inspired by California's Napa Valley.


The most popular products in the November book were NapaStyle brands, and the company strengthened its emphasis on house products for the summer catalog.


"The NapaStyle line of specialty items seemed to [make up] the vast majority of our revenues, and we wanted to expand that category quite a bit. We brought in some new accessories and expanded our kitchen tool offering and our home decorative area," Gordon said. "We've also increased the items per page, going from two items to about four and six."


The summer book has 32 pages and 100 items, up from 20 pages and 35 items in November. The last few pages of the catalog are devoted to its home décor section and its newly created wine section, which was not featured in the previous book.


The home décor section carries three items -- an oak barrel stave, a barrel top tray and a riddling rack table -- while the wine section includes vintage California wines, wineglasses and champagne flutes. Gordon said the addition was a natural extension of the specialty food items offered in the book.


NapaStyle also continued weaving editorial throughout the catalog's pages describing product usage as well as the philosophy behind the items featured.


"We got many comments from customers from our first catalog about how enjoyable it was, and many read it from cover to cover," Gordon said. "We knew it was something that people appreciated, and we wanted to keep this element for the current catalog."


NapaStyle will use its house list for 10 percent of each drop, with the remaining 90 percent sent to prospects. The company targets people age 35 to 55 who are interested in food and wine. Rented lists are used, but Gordon would not say what list company NapaStyle rents from.


A fall catalog is expected to drop later in the summer followed by a holiday book. Circulation for the year is expected to total 1.5 million books.


Gordon said the cost to produce the summer book dropped by 20 percent from the previous book. Part of the cost reduction can be attributed to the reuse of photography from the previous book and a mix of paper weight that combines heavier and lighter stock.


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