Galeton Book Stretches Out From Gloves

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Galeton Gloves is going ahead with plans to add pages to its winter catalog and add products beyond gloves in spite of the lackluster economy and slumping manufacturing sector.

The company, which primarily sells gloves for numerous work environments, increased the page count of its business-to-business catalog from 40 pages in its Spring 2001 book to 56 pages for its Winter books that go out in the fall.

"The driving force behind the increased page count is that we have customers who buy other products, such as hearing protection, hard hats, safety glasses and first aid," said Keith House, vice president of marketing at Galeton Gloves, Taunton, MA. "We're dealing with environments where this is necessary and even required by OSHA ... Our customers are using these other products. They had to go elsewhere to buy them. Now they can come to us at the same time that they're buying gloves.

"We looked at what those increased products will cost us in terms of space in the catalog and based the decision on projections of reasonable sales coming from those items," he said. "The economics worked out, and the testing we did showed that we could do it."

He would not reveal results of the product tests, the cost to produce the catalog or what its circulation will be.

Galeton not only added products, but worked with Applied Catalog Solutions, Enfield, NH, to redesign the 9-year-old catalog, which had undergone few changes in its history. House said it had contained "very wordy" product descriptions and "very little" images.

"There was a lot of knowledge of what gloves were made of, how they were made and things that the end-user would not care about," he said. "So we wanted to change it from the encyclopedia of gloves to being more friendly about the process. We never had anyone tell us that they gained much value from our copy-intensive catalog."

The most noticeable change was to the cover. Gone are the product shots of gloves along with their prices that lessened the impact of the main photo of a construction site.

"We wanted to do something [to catch] someone's eye," he said. "This will be a striking image rather than a collage of images."

Remaining on the cover will be the offer of free shipping on orders of more than $500.

The winter catalogs will feature four covers focusing on environments in which the gloves are used. Inside the catalogs are identical. The winter books' covers are identified with Roman numerals from one to four and are sent to different segments of Galeton's database. One cover, for example, will include a pair of boots along with Galeton's Rough Rider gloves.

"This is one of those basic shifts in product," House said. "People keep telling us they buy boots. We carry steel-toed and insulated boots. It becomes a natural extension for us. A lot of new products were based on people asking us, 'Do you carry ...?'"

Galeton used compiled and response lists for prospecting. MeritDirect, Stamford, CT, is the list broker.

The company's Web site is on the upper-right corner of the winter books' covers.

"Our Web site is one of the fastest-growing channels we have, but we're still predominantly driven by the phone," he said. "Web orders have had a double-digit increase over the past year."


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