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. […]

Catalogs and Cocktails

Dear Pier 1, You almost had me. It was so close. I’m a fan already and purchase from you about once or twice a year. I own the garden parasols, the candles, the bar components, some pillows, and faux flowers, all of which I love. Thank you. I wasn’t hurt that the catalog came addressed to […]

How Much Should You Change?

Last year I had a client who was very put out with me because we didn’t change enough from the previous year. (Sales were up 17% so I knew we were on the right track.) This is one of those things that new catalogers seem to have a hard time with. I think it’s because they […]