Home & Garden Catalog Chooses Art, Not Product, for First Cover

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From the cover, it's hard to tell that the premiere issue of Jayson Home & Garden catalog is a direct marketing vehicle since there's not a single product in sight.

"We really wanted this to be a coffee-table catalog, and the minute you put product on the cover, it's a catalog," said Goltz Group CEO/president Jay Goltz, who noted that he struggled with the unusual decision.

The cover is a trendy grass green color on which the store's logo appears in white.

Goltz Group, Chicago, owns the 7-year-old upscale home décor store Jayson Home & Garden as well as two other local businesses: Artists' Frame Service and Chicago Art Source. The company produced a catalog because Jayson Home & Garden's customers repeatedly asked for one, Goltz said.

"Customers have been so conditioned [by chains like Pottery Barn] that they expect you to have a catalog," he said. Goltz also thought it could drive business into the store.

However, the store's positioning and selection are nothing like Pottery Barn's. According to Goltz, the merchandise consists of hard-to-find, unique items such as restored 100-year-old Asian cupboards and newer items that are available in limited quantities.

"We try to fill the gap between people who go to a merchandise mart, where you work with a designer, and the mass market," he said.

Goltz wanted to give the catalog a similar "artsy" feel, so he hired a high-end photographer to produce something other than ordinary product shots. When it came time to lay out the catalog, he made sure it had plenty of breathing room.

"It's really a catalog disguised as an art book," Goltz said.

The 24-page book showcases about 40 sofas, chairs, antiques and tabletop items, a small selection of what's carried in the store.

"We picked things that were interesting, that photograph well and that we could get enough stock of, but that you couldn't get in a typical catalog," Goltz said. Prices range from $7 for a spoon up to $3,500 for a sectional sofa.

The premiere issue mailed the first week of May to 50,000 names in the Chicago area. Goltz Group has a 30,000-name house file compiled by Artists' Frame Service, a framing business next door to Jayson Home & Garden. The catalog mailed to this list as well as to 20,000 rented names from shelter magazines.

"Our customer is very much a fan of the shelter magazine," Goltz said. "Home design is their hobby."

Results have been promising, with "a lot of people" coming into the store holding the catalog, Goltz said. He expects to mail the book again but has no date scheduled.

"We are basically using this as another channel to have a conversation with our customers -- past, present and potential," he said. "We see this as a long-term investment."

Chantal Todé covers catalog and retail news and BTB marketing for DM News and DM News.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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