Nap Time's Over: New Owner Gears Up for Biobottoms Relaunch

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After its latest ownership change, Biobottoms will be back in circulation in January with a 60-page spring catalog. Genesis Direct, Secaucus, NJ, sold the natural fiber baby products catalog in July to Groupe Vetibec Inc., Daveluyville, Quebec, which was a Biobottoms vendor before the sale.

Two million catalogs created by Design Base L.A., Marina Del Rey, CA, will go out to more than 1 million people in Biobottoms' customer base to arrive in homes by Jan. 15. The balance will be mailed to prospects.

"There is some list rental and some exchange with other catalogers," said Sylvain Montplaisir, president of Biobottoms.

Except for the ownership change, much of Biobottoms' operations stay the same. Design Base, a division of software technology company, which created the summer edition, will continue to handle catalog design, photography, copywriting and pre-press production; meanwhile, Biobottoms will handle color separation and printing. Four seasonal issues will be produced next year.

Merchandising will remain in Petaluma, CA, while manufacturing will reside in Quebec. The product offering isn't expected to change much either.

"Biobottoms' customers will see continuity," Montplaisir said. That's why it is important to get new catalogs out to loyal customers as soon as possible to maintain the brand. "Our first goal is to get the book out in January. There's no drastic change in the merchandise offering."

Jim Abrams, a catalog consultant in Columbus, OH, who has worked with Genesis Direct, was brought in to consult strategically on the project, according to Montplaisir, but Abrams declined to comment on the relationship. National Catalog Corp., which recently opened a new facility in Martinsville, VA, will house Biobottoms' customer service and fulfillment center., which came up with a three-dimensional display solution for selling apparel on the Internet two and a half years ago, will handle the launch of Biobottoms' e-commerce strategy as well. The site is expected to go live in January to coincide with the print catalog's relaunch.

Genesis Direct, which acquired Biobottoms from Diplomat Corp., Stony Point, New York, owned the catalog for a little over a year before selling it to Groupe Vetibec. Genesis Direct had been on an acquisition streak at the time, acquiring dozens of catalogs it divested almost as quickly. The company, renamed earlier this year, is currently reorganizing as an online sports equipment marketer under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Calls to Biobottoms' toll-free number are currently being routed to a voice-mail message in Secaucus, NJ, prompting customers who request a catalog to leave a name and address. That fulfillment will soon switch over to National Catalog.

Biobottoms is Groupe Vetibec's first foray into the catalog world, a move Montplaisir said is strategic and deliberate.

"We'll control the manufacturing down to the consumer level," he said. "There were retailers between us and the consumer, and now we'll have direct contact with customers."

The catalog's focus on natural fibers and 100 percent cotton quality materials will always be continued, Montplaisir said.

"We will maintain our commitment to what has built the reputation of Biobottoms," he said. "This is probably its greatest asset. We want to capitalize on that."

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