Success Story: Creating an Award-Winning Catalog for the U.S. Market

Author: Melissa Fransen

Creating an award-winning catalog is one thing. Having the first catalog you produce for the U.S. market as an international brand win a Gold Ink Award, one of the industry’s most prestigious awards… that is in a class of its own!

At Nahan, we feel honored and privileged to have been a part of this success with our customer TriSyle Group and their Madeleine catalog. I had the privilege to chat with Niels Degen and Rob McMahon of TriSyle Group to learn more about their catalog creation and their success story with launching the Madeleine brand in the U.S.

Madeleine’s Award-Winning Catalog

Background

The Madeleine brand is a very strong fashion brand internationally. As a part of their strategic growth initiatives, TriStyle Group decided to launch this brand into the U.S. with a catalog pilot test program.   

The pilot program consisted of two distributions of 100,000 catalogs each. Everything was planned very carefully for the entire pilot program and then something happened in the world that shook all of us – the pandemic started the same week as their first catalog dropped! Scary? Yes! But, I’m happy to report that all went well. In fact, the catalog performed 10% better than planned; moreover, was 6% more profitable!

“At TriStyle, we are very happy with our first steps into the US market and are looking forward to our future journey.”

Niels Degen, TriStyle

And even better news… the second campaign came in with even better results than the first one!

Creating an Award-Winning Catalog in the U.S.

When creating a catalog for the U.S. market, there are many things to consider from SKU assortments that appeal to the U.S. fashion market to U.S. paper selection to the size of the catalog itself to ensure it is spec’d to co-mail efficient sizes.

Rob walked me through the process of creating the catalog pilot program and how Kelly Marthaler, our Nahan Sales Representative, flew to London to review the details and to strategize on a successful catalog brand launch in the U.S. Every aspect of the project was planned carefully and strategically. One of the ideas that came from the meeting was a “mini catalog” within the catalog itself that featured a range of their hottest selling products featured at special pricing. The mini catalog featured a thicker paper stock than the rest of the catalog to help it stand out. The catalog also featured a few variable special offers, specific to each customer from “free shipping & returns” to “$25 off and a free gift scarf.”

All of these details and more contributed to this successful Gold Ink Award win. Winning pieces for Gold Ink Awards are chosen based on print quality, technical difficulty, and overall visual effect.

Follow Up to the Test Pilot

Due to the success of the pilot program, TriStyle Group has expanded their print marketing efforts to include follow-up catalog strategies and self-mailers.  

“I’d like to personally congratulate TriStyle Group’s team on putting together an award-winning catalog! Well done! And thanks for choosing Nahan as your partner for this project. We are very happy for you and your success!”

Melissa Fransen, Marketing Manager

Interested in Learning More About Launching a U.S. Catalog Program for your International Brand?

If you are in interested in learning more, let us know! Feel free to contact us today! Plus, check out the Madeleine website at the following link: https://www.madeleine.com/

Bio: Melissa Fransen is our Marketing Manager. She started with Nahan in May of 2017. Melissa is responsible for Nahan’s marketing initiatives, which includes everything from conference planning to social media initiatives. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys spending time with her husband and enjoying time in the outdoors with family and friends.

How Often People Check Their Mailbox and Other Fun Facts

Author: Melissa Fransen

Every day I stop at our mailbox to get our mail.

I’m also signed up for USPS Informed Delivery emails, so I get an email each morning that contains details of what we’ll be receiving that day in our mailbox.

The catalogs we receive typically end up on the end table in our living room to browse through. In fact, at this present moment, we have about 10 catalogs that we plan to look through again this weekend so we can place some Holiday gift orders. I also have a number of direct mail offers I’ve kept as well and I have those in an organizer in the corner of our kitchen cupboard.

As I was walking down my driveway the other day to get my mail, I started wondering about my mail habits and how closely they match other people’s habits. So, I decided to do some research.

How Often Do People Check Their Mailbox
Photo: cottonbro from Pexels

How Often People Check Their Mailbox

According to the USPS, 98% of people visit their mailbox every day to get their mail and 77% of people sort through their mail immediately. According to a study the USPS conducted, most consumers set aside time each day to sit down with their mail and on average, they spend 30 minutes with catalogs and 25 minutes with direct mail! Here is another interesting statistic, according to a report from MultiChannel Merchant regarding Holiday shopping this year, 37% of people have become more excited to receive their mail and 30% are spending more time reading promotional messages from the mail than before the pandemic.

Informed Delivery

According to a recent update from USPS, over 20% of U.S. households are now signed up for USPS Informed Delivery and the subscription rate is growing with over 350,000 new subscribers weekly. 79% of Informed Delivery users are engaging with the daily emails and 82% of these users are engaging in the mornings.  According to the USPS update we received, the emails are generating a 68% Email Open Rate (which is over 3 times higher than the industry average email open rate of 18%) and a 2-6% Click Through Rate. As a marketer, those stats get me excited!

Other Fun Facts

Here are some other fun facts/statistics I found interesting:

Looking to Stand Out in the Mailbox?

At Nahan, we are proud to offer award-winning catalog and direct mail services as a part of our product offering. If you are in interested in learning more, contact us today!

Bio: Melissa Fransen is our Marketing Manager. She started with Nahan in May of 2017. Melissa is responsible for Nahan’s marketing initiatives, which includes everything from conference planning to social media initiatives. In her spare time, Melissa enjoys spending time with her husband and enjoying time in the outdoors with family and friends.

Cover photo by Sean Patrick from Pexels

Nahan Wins Two Golds at the Annual Gold Ink Awards Competition

SAINT CLOUD, MN – Sept. 15, 2020 – Printing Impressions Magazine, producer of the annual Gold Ink Awards, announced the winners of the 2020 Annual Gold Ink Awards Competition. The Gold Ink Awards are considered one of the industry’s most prestigious print competitions.

Nahan Printing, Inc. is a proud recipient of two Gold awards! The first is a Gold for the Neiman Marcus 2019 Christmas Catalog and the second is a Gold for the Lawrence & Schiller South Dakota Activity Book. The winning pieces are in the “Consumer Catalogs, Web” and “Consumer Catalogs, Sheetfed” categories. In addition to the two Gold award wins, Nahan also received five Pewter awards in the Catalogs division.

This year’s Gold Ink Award winners were chosen from more than 400 entries submitted within 43 different categories. Winning pieces were chosen based on print quality, technical difficulty, and overall visual effect. All winners can be found at https://www.piworld.com/extension/gold-ink-awards/2020/.

 “It is great to be recognized by Printing Impressions for the quality of work we put into every product, each and every day. We are once again, very proud of our team’s commitment and dedication to quality; an asset that continues to set us apart in the industry.” said John Klumb, Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

About Nahan

Nahan Printing is a Minnesota-based, independent, privately-owned, world class printer committed to providing end-to-end solutions that add value to our clients. Since its inception in 1962, Nahan has specialized in catalog and direct mail printing for industries such as retail, ecommerce, financial services, non-profit, hospitality, and more. With a client roster of legendary brands, Nahan prints iconic work that represents the highest level of quality and innovation in the industry. For more information about Nahan, please visit http://www.Nahan.com.

Augmented Reality and Catalogs

Author: Ken Anderson, National Sales Executive

After the year we’ve had, perhaps you feel 2020 has had us trapped inside an Augmented Reality program.  I know I do! 

What is Augmented Reality (AR)?

To keep it simple, it’s the melding of the real world around us and a computer-generated world.  It’s not The Matrix, Mr. Anderson….

Mostly Augmented Reality has found its place in games and with increasing power of mobile devices and fine-tuned software, it’s getting better with each passing day.  Who knew kid’s games could increase the value of your catalog and bring more customers to your door, physically or virtually?  Augmented Reality will help increase interaction with your catalog and loyalty to your brand.  It can be as elaborate or as simple as you want it to be. 

Using AR with Catalogs

In the early days of AR, the designer of the catalog would have to embed QR barcodes; those little square black and white things of “beauty” that went so well with the fine products you’re selling.  Today, AR will work with image recognition which eliminates the need for QR codes. (Don’t worry if you love them, you can still use them).  The advantages of image recognition is that you can make changes to product information up to and beyond the press date.  You can control the information on the back end of the Mobile App and change it to meet your ever-changing needs.  This ability may even increase the shelf life of your catalog and allow you to move inventory that may be moving slower or alter an offer that has moved a product faster than you thought it would.  That’s a problem most companies need a little of these days.

As AR continues to advance, customers utilize AR to try on clothes, shoes, hats, glasses, and more to see how great they look in your products.  AR will allow them to see how that couch will fit in their family room or how patio furniture will make their back yard perfect for the staycation they’re planning.  Do you sell products that need to be assembled?  Use image recognition and AR to launch an assembly video.  As a dad, I would no longer have to pretend I know how to assemble the new purchase, because secretly the instructions are confusing to me, I can watch the video.  Who wouldn’t love that?

Print brings results, far more than any other channel.  Digital enriches the experience.  Why not combine the two for increased brand loyalty, increased interaction, increased shelf life, and increased sales?  That’s a lot of increases everyone will love.

Bio: Ken Anderson is a National Sales Executive on our Sales Team. Ken has decades of print experience and has ink stains to prove it. He is a father of four and is an avid outdoorsman.  

The Fine Art of Finishing Print

Author: Jim Hesch, Customer Service Leader

Focusing on quality and unique capabilities sets us apart. It’s all in the Presentation.

For the person who, in the end will open your envelope, mailer or book, it is all in the presentation.

Beautiful color, gloss or dull techniques, metallics and foil, or attention grabbing raised gloss UV can certainly grab one’s attention. Using an emboss sculpture die to make a message stand out and look 3D or a tactile coating can enhance a piece, too. A cool fold, pop up, or even an iron cross are tried and true attention grabbers for the end user.

Nahan’s Focus on Finishing

At Nahan, we pride ourselves on the Finishing of our pieces; the presentation, with good quality binding and complicated inserting. Our team is dedicated to make sure the quality of the piece compliments the goal of your recipient, which is ultimately to successfully reach them and get them to open the piece.

“I love working in Finishing, no two days are the same and no two books are the same. It’s the collaboration that makes it fun. I am always learning. Yeah, we are obsessed with going the extra mile.”

– Jim Dombrovski, Finishing Shift Leader

“For those of us who are passionate about Finishing, we get to take a nicely printed sheet and turn it into something cool, and we get to touch it and see it before the customer ever gets to see it.”

– Doug Karls, Trainer

Developing Creative Solutions

We have an incredibly creative team to help you find that eye-catching piece; something unusual or unique and are able to complete affordably. Our capabilities are unique, customizable, and with our creative staff, can be game changers.

In the end, we really like Finishing (first).

Resources

Sappi has a wonderful series of publications that can help you in your creative presentation endeavor.

Check out Bindery Techniques issue #6: https://www.sappi.com/standard-volume-6

Or Issue 4, scoring and folding: https://www.sappi.com/standard-volume-4%E2%80%94scoring-folding

The Neuroscience of Touch: https://www.sappi.com/the-neuroscience-of-touch.

Another fun series in finishing techniques is the Fold Factory, Fold of the Week. Check out their YouTube Videos for inspiration and ideas.

Have Fun, Stay Warm and Tip On…

Our Blogger is Jim Hesch, a manager here at Nahan Printing. Jim has been in the printing trade since 1973 and has a passion for finishing and customer service. 

Catalog Work Wins Gold

SAINT CLOUD, MN – November 16, 2018 – Sappi North America has announced that Nahan has won a gold and a silver award in the catalog division in its annual Printer of the Year competition honoring the best printing work in the industry.

Dillard’s The Style of Christmas 2017 Gift Guide Gold (Catalogs)
Bergdorf Goodman Pre-Fall 2018 Collections Silver (Catalogs)

Making the Cut

This year’s Sappi winners were selected from over 1,500 entries within 10 different categories. The categories ranged from digital printing and catalogs to brochures and direct mail. Winning pieces were chosen based on overall impact of the piece, degree of difficulty in printing techniques, and technical excellence.

“This is the ninth year in a row that Nahan has been honored with a Sappi award. We believe this is a testament to the quality of our print and the quality of our people. We are very proud of this achievement,” said Mike Nahan, CEO. To view Nahan’s Printer of the Year page, go to https://www.sappi.com/nahan-printing-inc.