It’s that changeup time of year

I’m not really much of a baseball gal (Go Sox!) but the changeup I’m talking about is the cover changeup. Every year all good catalogers will take the results from the previous year and see which covers did the best. There is always the winner that works every time. A hero shot of the best […]

Pull up! Pull up! Behold the slide to irrelevance

A friend and colleague, Kristen Stetson, asked me recently if I knew someone at The Company Store. I don’t, but when you are done reading this please pass it on if you do. The disconnect Kristen saw a headboard that she liked in The Company Store catalog. She was looking for a headboard so this […]

2018 Year in Review, aka Cats & Bacon

Every year, Catalog University co-founders Sarah Fletcher and Janie Downey sort through TONS of direct marketing pieces to pull out anything they find intriguing that we can all learn from. They call this talk “Cats & Bacon” because you just can’t look away – like when someone mentions Cats. Or Bacon. Yum. What are the […]

Does Flow Matter for Catalog Pagination?

Over the last few years, we have been working with several internet pure play companies who are just getting into cataloging. One of the things I’ve noticed is they are very focused on the flow of the catalog. I think that coming from the internet they really value a narrative, because it’s really hard to […]

Ignorance gone to seed

My friend Lois shared a bit of Ozark wisdom with me a while back. Whenever the Trader Joe’s weekly mailer comes in it springs to mind. If you haven’t seen the Trader Joe’s weekly flyer, it looks like a throwback to 1865, one color, printed on newsprint, no images, everything the same size. But in […]

2017 Year in Review, aka “Cats & Bacon”

Every year, Catalog University co-founders, Sarah Fletcher and I (Janie Downey), sort through several TONS of direct marketing pieces we received in the mail to find the best and the worst to share with you. We call this talk “Cats & Bacon” because there’s always so much to like – just like Cats & Bacon. What […]

FIVE Catalog Design Fails

When assessing or critiquing catalog design I’m of the belief that every issue could “always be better.” However, most criticism points to small deficiencies that at the end of the day, do not make a big difference in overall results. Collectively they can make a big difference, but only if your catalog layouts truly stink […]

Amazon, Athleta and Man-Buns

The Art of Keeping it Simple. “Simple is harder than complex.” – Steve Jobs Browsing through a catalog of one of my favorite brands, I found myself completely frustrated, to the point that I eventually threw the catalog aside. Why? Because they made it hard for me to shop. We are in an era where […]

Research that makes you say, “Oh crap!”

The research stopped me cold. And I seriously thought our team had it right … we didn’t. Let me back up to the beginning. At J. Schmid one of our mantras is that catalogs should DISRUPT, DELIGHT and DRIVE. I’d like to focus on the latter. Catalogs should DRIVE customers or prospects to DO something. […]