Maternity Web Site Delivers Its First Catalog
BellaBlu was launched in March 2004 by Jennifer Varner, who saw a void for slightly upscale, stylish maternity clothing for middle-America women. Varner describes the clothing as "basic with a touch a style" and "not too fashion forward." She obviously got something right, as the company's sales have grown more than 300 percent in the past two years.
Since a significant portion of BellaBlu's target market still isn't comfortable with shopping online or doesn't have access to a computer, Varner decided to commit the brand to paper and launch a catalog. The Cary, NC-based, company partnered with one of BellaBlu's best-selling lines, Serena Maternity, to create the catalog. Serena Maternity, which is manufacturing in Argentina, is producing an exclusive line of maternity clothing and accessories for BellaBlu's catalog.
The first 24-page issue was mailed in September and had a total circulation of 17,000. BellaBlu's existing customer base of 12,000 names all received the catalog as did the 7,000 people who had signed up on the Web site.
Initially, Varner said she thought about investing in prospecting, but once she saw how strong a tool the Web site is for signing up names, she changed her mind.
"Within a month and a half of putting up a sign on the Web site, we built a list of 7,000 names," she said, adding that an additional 50 new names are coming in daily through the Web site, telephone calls and e-mails. "We quickly learned that a distribution list wasn't essential."
In addition to mailing the catalog, BellaBlu also is distributing it to seven local ob/gyn offices, which are including it in the mom-to-be information packets they hand out to new patients. Every six weeks, BellaBlu will distribute an additional 1,000 catalogs to the offices.
The premiere issue of the BellaBlu catalog features 92 clothing and accessory items that range in price from $59 to $229 per item. It measures 5 inches by 7 inches. The company plans to mail the catalog every eight weeks and to produce a new catalog twice a year.
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