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No Place Like 'Home' for OurHouse

A partnership between L.L. Bean and OurHouse.com reached full stride with OurHouse.com receiving prominent exposure in L.L. Bean Home's summer home furnishings catalog.

“What is important for us is to partner with leading brands in the home-related space. The L.L. Bean Home business, we thought, will mesh with OurHouse.com, given the similarity of people that patronize both businesses,” said Philip Airey, CEO of OurHouse.com, which is owned by privately held OurHouse Inc., Evanston, IL. “They look at what we represent as a complement to their product selection and, in return, introduce us to consumers they target through their catalog.”

Mary Ann Bradford, marketing manager for the L.L. Bean Home division, Freeport, ME, said OurHouse.com's placement was part of its test mailing that dropped in April and May. She would not say how many catalogs had the placement or how many catalogs were mailed.

“This has been our test partnership this spring, and we're still in the process of analyzing its impact in our catalogs,” Bradford said. The cataloger has made no final plans and awaits test results before planning other efforts with OurHouse.com, she said.

The lead copy on page 2 of the L.L. Bean Home catalog touts OurHouse.com: “This summer, we are happy to introduce OurHouse.com, a Web site dedicated to helping you with your home needs. OurHouse.com's do-it-yourself project guides, advice from industry experts, home service professionals, and home products – combined with our unique furnishings and accessories – will help turn your house into your dream home.”

Other pages throughout the catalog have boxes advising readers of OurHouse.com's products and services and directing them to the site.

In return, OurHouse.com promotes L.L. Bean on its site and in e-mails and other contact with customers.

The placement in the catalog allows OurHouse.com to reach consumers interested in home improvement and comfortable with buying direct, but who may be unfamiliar with the company, Airey said.

OurHouse.com debuted in November 1999 and targets homeowners ages 35 to 49 with 40,000 decor, home improvement, gardening and cooking products. It also provides how-to information for more than 250 common home projects.

L.L. Bean Home is one of several partnerships OurHouse.com has formed to increase its exposure. It also has agreements with Ace Hardware, and with “The Today Show” in the program's Today Builds A House project in Tampa, FL. The project uses Today show viewer input to build a dream home in Tampa that is then auctioned. The money raised is donated to Habitat for Humanity.

In one segment of the Today Builds a House project, OurHouse.com featured patio furniture from L.L. Bean to show viewers how to accessorize a pool area.

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