#1. "RE: Starting a direct mail order catalog" In response to Reply # 0
Mary.. First know that putting a catalog together is expensive. Your first one is going to be the worst because you have no basis. Succeeding ones are built off the first.
First identify all the items you want to carry in it and break out seasonal items into groups. You can do one general catalog that has everything and then either seasonal or holiday catalogs. Some companies only recover the basic catalog each year and add new items.
If it's going to be a 4-color catalog you'll need a good photographer, artist, and copywriter. In some cases manufacture's will provide you with transparencies or color separations which can reduce your cost significantly.
Once you have your first catalog done you'll know how to allot space for each product. Cost out every square inch of the catalog and determine your cost per sq. in. Then make sure each product is paying for it's space...if not, cut it back and add something else in that will pay for itself. The last catalog I did was I think a 38-page 4 color and it ran about $70k all inclusive. Good luck Denny
#2. "RE: Starting a direct mail order catalog" In response to Reply # 1
Thank you for your response. Your information was a great help. I use to own an online gift company and I was constantly asked to send a printed catalog. Because we had rapid product turnover, it wasn't cost effective to print one at that time.
Do you still produce a catalog? Do you remember how many catalogs you sent out the first time? Also, what is considered an average return ratio? Thanks again for your help. It's greatly appreciated. Mary
#3. "RE: Starting a direct mail order catalog" In response to Reply # 2
If recollection serves me correctly is was 48 page 4-color. The general rule of thumb is a blind mailing will return from 1 to 3%. A mailing to an actual customer list returns are much higher. We used to drop a certain number each months for about 3 months to avoid being overwhelmed with orders. Our mailing list was about 56,000 active. We'd print 100k which would cover our requests for catalogs from prospective customers.
As a side-bar. We made about $7k to $8k a month renting our list. It was a very specific, very current list to a high end clientele.
No I don't currently produce a catalog. Hope this helps.
#4. "RE: Starting a direct mail order catalog" In response to Reply # 1
I often send my printing to china. I would print 10,000 copies at a time and they would come in delivered $1.25 delivered for a 4 color 88 page catalog. Less than 8,000 copies you want to do it domestically.