This week, the Presidential Inaugural Committee dropped 600,000 copies of its catalog featuring items commemorating the Jan. 20 inauguration of George W. Bush, who will become the nation's 43rd president. Items also are available online at GOPShoppe.com and inauguralgiftshop.com.
The catalog debuted weeks later than anticipated, said Brian Harlin, owner of GOPShoppe.com and master vendor of the inaugural catalog. The catalog would have been mailed just after the Nov. 7 election, but the 36-day battle to determine the winner of the election delayed the drop.
“We were in the process of gathering products, but we couldn't really move forward until Bush was named the winner,” Harlin said. “Once that happened, our time had been shortened to get the catalog out.”
Harlin expects the delay in dropping the catalog, by almost 30 days, will hurt overall sales. Catalogs were mailed primarily to Republican Party donors. Names were compiled from lists provided by the Presidential Inaugural Committee and Bush's campaign. Harlin, who designed the catalog, said there are 15 items in the mailer. However, more than 25 items can be found at the online store. Items featured in the catalog represent the only merchandise that was ready before the book's printing. Between Jan. 8 and 10, online inaugural commemorative sales totaled $100,000. An e-mail campaign was conducted to get people to the site. E-mail lists were provided by the National Republican Committee and the Bush campaign.
“[The Web site] is really the fastest and easiest way of reaching more people,” Harlin said.
The cost to produce the catalog was $50,000, said Harlin, who personally financed its production. He will receive a percentage of catalog and online profits. The rest of the profits will go to the Presidential Inaugural Committee, which will then give the money to charities that are favorites of Bush and his family.
The black-and-white catalog is actually a folded four-page booklet that opens up to 11 inches by 17 inches. The cover features an inauguration seal for Bush and Vice President-elect Dick Cheney. Underneath it is “The 54th Presidential Inaugural Collectibles” in scriptive writing.
Prices for souvenir items range from $2 to $995. Items include commemorative pins, silver plate frames with the official inaugural seal, license plates, tie bars, cufflink sets, plates, glasses, and presidential pens with the inaugural seal on the tip of the cap and Bush's signature on the side of the cap.