Haute@Home Adds More Spice to Gourmet Food Catalog

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Haute@Home always had a stylish sophisticated look that elegantly displayed its high-end gourmet cuisine, says creator and president Florencia Palmaz. But at the beginning of the year, Palmaz realized she needed to revamp the gourmet foods catalog to enhance its appeal to gourmands and become more marketable. But she didn't want to lose its stylish look.


This summer, Palmaz hired AGA Catalog Marketing & Design, New York, to design three Haute@Home catalogs including a 40-page fall catalog, which was mailed Sept. 18, and upcoming fall/holiday and holiday catalogs.


Palmaz said the catalog, a division of GoodHeart Brand Specialty Meats, San Antonio, TX, wanted to take a different approach in marketing to showcase its high-end specialty cuisine of prepared and ready-to-prepare foods. The catalog caters to professionals who entertain but are too busy to cook gourmet meals.


Gillatt Paris, Dallas, previously had the Haute@Home account.


Palmaz believes the business grew to the point where it needed a larger firm to offer more guidance in marketing to upscale customers. Palmaz would not disclose the number of catalogs that were mailed.


"Before we had been working with smaller agencies [where] we had been very much controlling exactly what they did [and] not taking much advice from them," Palmaz said. "They had beautiful style and I loved what they did for us and they had wonderful aesthetics. But I never had the confidence of saying, 'Hey, I'm out there with someone who has been out there who can really advise me.' "


The catalog displays gourmet cuisine, including smoked duck tartlet, french deboned stuffed turkey, rabbit tart provencal, wild boar smoked sausage and shredded filo-stuffed shrimp. To add to the mixture, Haute@Home also dishes up featured foods from various films.


Donald Florence, vice president of development at AGA, said the agency's goal was to give Haute@Home a sophisticated and more modern look. Photography was shot using mostly natural light to give the catalog a more intimate atmosphere.


Florence was under a tight deadline in getting out the catalogs. Haute@Home did not sit down with AGA until the summer to discuss the catalog and its direction.


"From beginning to end, it [took] eight weeks," Florence said. "The norm is 12 [weeks] to 16 weeks. They had been looking around for an alternative agency. By the time they found us, we met with them and they were pretty comfortable with us. We were pretty close to the deadline where we needed to get the catalog out. What they wanted us to do was to bring them up a notch, make them a little more upscale and a little more modern. We felt that [since] we were going for this market, we needed to look like an upscale magazine, not your run-of-the-mill catalog."


Average customers tend to include couples in their 40s and 50s with annual incomes of $75,000 or more. The average order is $140.


Haute@Home has changed dramatically from the small retail catalog that it was when it was created more than four years ago, Palmaz said. The catalog primarily featured specialty meats. Palmaz slipped in a page of hors d'oeuvres into the first catalog. That page outsold the catalog.
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