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Cat-U Deans and Co-Founders are industry veterans with years of experience.

When Catalog University began, the founders reached out to the leaders of the industry and asked them to be Deans at Cat-U. As a group they have worked for, or with, almost every major catalog in the industry. Names like L.L. Bean, Lands’ End, Disney, J. Crew, The Vermont Country Store, Home Depot Direct, Wolferman’s and many more. These extraordinary people keep an eye out for new trends and find top professionals to teach the classes you’ll find on the Catalog University course list. They are a valuable resource subscribers can tap for questions and information.

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Electronic Check Processing

Lois Brayfield

Dean of Creative

J. Schmid & Assoc. Inc.

Lois Brayfield, has been making a difference in direct marketing for 30 years. She has worked with Hallmark, American Express(UK), HoneyBaked Ham, Wolfermans, IKEA, Sears (Canada), Ezibuy (Australia) and Marks & Spencer (UK.) She is a frequent speaker at conferences including the DMA Annual Conference, and NEMOA, a contributing writer for Multi-Channel Merchant, and serves on the boards of NEMOA, the ACMA, and the Editorial board for Target Marketing.

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Chris Middings

Dean of E-commerce

President and Founder, NPG
Chris is president of NPG, a consulting firm specializing in paid search and social media marketing. With over 20 years of experience in digital and direct marketing, Chris offers the best of both worlds — copywriting honed through writing thousands of online ads, Facebook & Twitter posts, and direct mail headlines & copy, along with analytics on what converts into action.

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Gina Valentino

Dean of Marketing

Hemisphere Marketing

Gina’s 20 years in the catalog industry leverages experience and multi-channel disciplines. She has worked with catalogers such as Road Runner Sports, Disney Direct, Barrie Pace, Spiegel, See’s Candies, Home Depot Direct, Hickory Farms, and Spanx. Gina is a featured writer for MultiChannel Merchant Magazine. She serves as a judge for the Annual Catalog Awards and is also a member of the Printery House Advisory Board.

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Larry Shaw

Dean of Merchandise

President Co-Founder
Merch Success
Larry Shaw

Larry Shaw has been responsible for overseeing the merchandising for some of the most product focused retail and direct marketing companies during his 25 year retail tenure. His is currently developing world class merchandising solutions for the retail industry with Merch Success, a company he helped found.

Past President of Southern Season in Chapel Hill, NC, the gourmet specialty food and gift store, restaurant, and cooking school boutique chain that is consistently ranked as one of the top destination retail concepts in the United States. Larry was responsible for expanding the 70,000 item product assortment across specialty food, gift, housewares, kitchen, home, gift basket, wine and beer, health and beauty, and floral categories.

Prior to Southern Season Larry was Executive Vice President of The Vermont Country Store, where he oversaw the strategic development and execution of their product concepts across numerous product categories, including clothing, domestics, food, gift, personal care, household, kitchen, and holiday. He developed a lot of innovative merchandising programs during his 12 years there, including bringing back to the marketplace many nostalgic dormant brands such as Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific and the Caroler Candles.

Larry has also held senior executive positions at Nordstrom and Hanover Direct and provided counsel for companies such as Green Mountain Coffee, Eddie Bauer, J Jill, Stoneycreek Brands, and 1-800 Homeopathy.

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George Mollo

Dean of Operations and Fulfillment

George Mollo
GJM Associates, Inc.

A 30+ year veteran of the direct marketing, wholesale and retail industries, George has served in senior executive positions for several direct mail companies, including start-ups and turn-arounds. These companies included Lillian Vernon Corporation, Genesis Direct, Disney Direct, and J. Crew Group, Inc.. George has hands-on experience at all levels of management, including financial, operational, systems and merchandising.

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Sarah Fletcher


Sarah Fletcher
President/Creative Director
Catalog Design Studios Inc.

Sarah, whose mother was an art director, literally grew up in the art department of an advertising agency. After a brief rebellion she began her career at age six, stripping boards and organizing type. To date she has worked in almost every capacity of the business, from production assistant, to copywriter, to photographer, to creative director. Her main focus for the past twenty years has been catalog design and development. Her clients have included The DMA, The National E-tailing & Mailing Organization of America (NEMOA), International Paper, Scholastic, Mrs. Beasley’s, Harrington’s of Vermont, The Vermont Country Store, Smith+Noble, Junonia, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, SmartPak Equine and Penn State Industries. Her articles have appeared in Catalog Success Magazine, Multichannel Merchant, and DM News. She has spoken at The Annual Catalog Conference, The National E-tailing & Mailing Organization of America (NEMOA) conference and the GCIC/GPC. Sarah is a judge for both the MCM Awards and the International Echo Awards.

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Janie Downey


Publishing Consultant
Media Solutions Group

Janie’s focus is on the production side of direct marketing. She is an expert at print and paper process best practices, and contract negotiations. And she has a special love of digital systems and workflow that help save time and money. She started off her career in the Boston advertising community working with a number of top retail clients.

She discovered the world of catalogs when she was recruited by Appleseed’s to bring their catalog production in-house in the late 1980s. She took her print/paper and system skills to L.L.Bean in 1994 where she oversaw production of up to 90 catalog titles, and was part of the creative web start up team.

She worked for four years as the Executive Director of NEMOA (the National E-tailing and Mailing Organization of America), and now works as a consultant to direct marketers across the United States.

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Why We Started Catalog University

The Co-Founders of Catalog University, Janie Downey and Sarah Fletcher, met while they were working at L.L. Bean. Years later they taught a catalog intensive course together at the DMA’s last Catalog Conference. It was clear that the industry needed a way to share best practices, new ideas, and the kind of knowledge you only get from years of experience.
Janie and Sarah started Catalog University to bring catalogers the top quality information they need to succeed. Here you will find real world content from the best and brightest in our industry. You can take any class, in any college, whenever you want, as often as you want.

In cataloging, the best indicator of whether a customer will buy from a catalog is if they have previously purchased anything from any catalog, which is why catalogers share information—the better any of us do, the better we all do. Let Catalog University help you work smarter, engage customers, and increase sales.

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Why Choose Cat-U?

  • Classes taught by industry experts.
  • Learn where you want to; at your desk, at home, even on your phone while you commute.
  • Learn when you want to 24/7
  • Affordable solutions for any budget
  • Group rates for corporations

From the Catalog Blog

Is sending something less relevant, better than sending nothing?

There in lies the conundrum for marketers, especially email marketers. If you send nothing, you get nothing back. If you send something that isn’t relevant, you get some sales but you also get unsubscribes, which are worse than nothing. Is sending something less relevant, usually discounts, better than sending nothing? That depends. I have heard […]

What matters most in catalog design?

If there is one thing that will move the needle in catalog design, one thing that makes more impact than anything else, the thing that really makes the cash register ring, it’s product knowledge. There is no better thing to spend your time on than really, truly understanding what you are selling and why it […]

Shipping charges and STDs

Shipping charges are making a come back. The glow of free shipping is giving way to the reality that advertising lower prices works, offers a very real advantage online, and allows more flexibility in promotions. Free shipping was never really free, and making the numbers work with free shipping all the time isn’t possible for […]

You’re Smarter. Avoid the Reduction in Revenue.

How to avoid a plunge in revenue. Stories from the trenches. In the past three years I’ve seen these three things happen to more than one client. Don’t be next. I write this as a perspective to any cataloger who is considering one of these paths. Email is not a 1:1 replacement for the mail […]