Stonewall Kitchen Jam-Packed With Ideas

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Jonathan King was selling jams and jellies nine years ago on a card table at farmers' markets along the coast of Maine just to make some extra money on Saturdays.


Now, Stonewall Kitchen, York, ME, is making a bid to go beyond specialty food with an expanded catalog product line that includes hard goods, a larger trim size and a significantly larger mailing.


The catalog division of the 8-year-old company King owns with Jim Stott, boasts a mailing of 200,000. That includes 130,000 holiday catalogs due in homes Nov. 29 and 70,000 autumn books, which began arriving in homes last week.


The two efforts are up significantly from last year's 45,000 mailing overall to Stonewall's house file. Seventy-five percent of the mailings are going to prospects, with the rest to the company's house file and its segmented "best buyer" file. The Millard Group, Peterborough, NH, is handling list rental, and printing was done by Andrews Printing, Bedford, MA.


"The goal is to grow our customer base and to grow Stonewall Kitchen's name," King said.


Similar to Talbots' business model, where retail and catalog marketing are closely linked, Stonewall Kitchen uses its catalog as a marketing tool, inserting copies in shopping bags at retail and inducing retail drop-ins by printing retail locations in the catalogs.


"We will probably always be first and foremost a wholesale provider, which represents about 80 percent of our sales," King said, "but we look at [the catalog] as a marketing tool, not just a mail-order catalog."


Both catalogs were expanded to 24 pages each vs. 20 pages for Stonewall's summer issue. The trim size also grew from 8 inches by 8 inches to a standard 8-inch-by-10-inch magazine size. New products being featured include hard goods, such as a Kitchen Aid professional mixer, coffee mugs, mixing bowls and an old-fashioned apple peeler.


"Rather than touching on food to complement hard goods like Williams-Sonoma, we're touching on hard goods to complement the food," King said.


Joan Walsh came on board two years ago and currently runs the catalog operation for Stonewall.


"We saw a demand for direct mail and brought in a catalog manager with a strong background," King said. "She's grown the catalog tremendously."


The catalogs are designed by Leslie Evans Design Associates, Portland, ME, which also handles color separation and print management, but the goal over the next two years is for the company to do it all.


"We're building a brand new 60,000-square-foot facility," King said, "and the 2001 goal is bringing the entire catalog inhouse."
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