Catalogs are hip for Brooklyn

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Conveying a brand's hip quotient in a single-page ad isn't easy, as trendy apparel retailer Brooklyn Industries found out. However, a catalog filled with page after page of creative imagery and copy tells a compelling story.

Nine-year-old Brooklyn Industries creates limited-edition graphic T-shirts and other casual apparel and accessories for young creative professionals. It has seven stores around New York and a Web site. It dabbled in print advertising and, since last spring, puts out its own catalog.

"Advertising was not as effective a means [as the catalog] to convey the feel of the brand," said president Lexy Funk.

The company invested in its catalog this year by increasing the print run and redesigning it with a larger

ing it with a larger emphasis on lifestyle. The company also recently hired a marketing director, Karen Ngo, who has a catalog background at companies such as Alloy Inc.

The company put out four catalogs last year with the goal of driving traffic to Brooklyn Industries' stores and site. Ms. Funk said the retailer was pleased with the initial reaction to the catalog.

The catalogs were primarily distributed through stores, although copies were mailed to Brooklyn Industries' in-house list. For the first issue, the database held 7,000 names. List-building efforts, such as collecting names from contests, from its site and at point of sale, grew the list to 17,000 names by the beginning of 2007.

This year, Brooklyn Industries plans to bring the print run for the catalog up to around 50,000 to 60,000 copies for the spring issue, due out April 1. The print run for the holiday 2006 book was 28,000 copies.

In addition, the catalog is being redesigned to have a larger format and will include a mix of editorial content as well as product. Last year's offerings, while full of Brooklyn Industries' signature imagery and lifestyle photographs, were still traditional catalogs in which almost the entire collection was showcased and product was featured on nearly every page.

In contrast, the spring book will highlight pieces from the collection and show them in an interesting way, Ms. Funk said. It will also contain content about the new Brooklyn Industries Contemporary Art Center, which opens on Feb. 22.

The retailer is transforming its Broadway store in Brooklyn into a center for New York-based and international graphic artists. The first show centers around video and features six artists. The catalog will feature imagery from the show as well as content built around the center and the artists.

The Web site is also currently undergoing a redesign so that it, too, will have a stronger lifestyle message, said Christine Hooker, project manager at Brooklyn Industries. To keep up with the growing sales volume that the site is attracting, it will also be updated with a more efficient checkout process and other new features.

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