Logos Are a Hot Add-On for Cataloger

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Corporate logo merchandise is the fastest-growing segment for cataloger T. Shipley, prompting the company to expand its logo accessory offerings.


T. Shipley, which sells high-end business accessories for professionals, projects that corporate logo accessories could make up 20 percent of its overall sales in 2001.


"It's a natural [addition] for us," CEO Thomas Shipley said. "Most of our customers are already purchasing gifts for clients, gifts for staff or gifts for CEOs that have a logo and are personalized. These are items that are great for rewards or recognition programs a company might have."


Most items in the catalog can be personalized with a corporation's logo, name or initials. Some of the more popular items that often carry logos are leather portfolios, umbrellas, pencil holders and desk clocks. Page 29 of the March book, which mailed the last week of February, focuses on corporate sales initiatives and offers discounts to buyers who order 10 units of one item totaling $500 or more.


Shipley said the company is searching for new merchandise to add to its offerings, but he declined to say what they could be.


Another area where the cataloger is looking to focus more attention is themed business essentials. The March book, which mailed to 330,000 households, debuted its Monopoly Game Board Business Essential line.


The line includes pewter paperweights, a coffee mug, a business cardholder and a roller ball pen. Prices for the line range from $14 for the "Get Out of Jail" mug to $49 for the pen. Shipley said the addition provides some lightness to stressful days. Themed accessories are becoming more common in offices, he said.


T. Shipley, Orlando, FL, targets professionals age 35 to 65. Sixty percent of customers are male. The average annual household income is $75,000, and the average sales order is $150.


The catalog is mailed once a month, mainly to prospects. About 80 percent of the March catalogs were mailed to prospects, while the remaining were mailed to its house file. The cataloger rents names from NRL, a New Jersey-based list company.


The current 56-page catalog features 300 unique SKUs, which is typical of most of its books, Shipley said. The mood of the catalog is warm, and it uses plenty of browns and leather pieces in the layout. Each page has three to four items, and some pages feature multiple items from a specific line.


Prices range from 95 cents for lead pencil refills to $875 for a three-piece leather luggage set.


Like many companies grappling with this year's postal rate increase, T. Shipley has looked for ways to cut costs. The cataloger eliminated the order blank envelope that usually is attached to its order form.


"The postal rate increase impacted a lot of catalogers," Shipley said. "Catalogs that got hurt were those who mail out under 1 million [books] a month. We had to do something to offset the cost, and doing this really helped us."


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