The 40% Bump for Frances Valentine’s Lockdown Catalog

This spring, one fashion label took a risk and launched their first-ever print catalog, even as the fashion industry (and the rest of the retail economy) was running on fumes. Were they nuts? Hardly.

This spring, the team at Frances Valentine decided to try out something that many would consider a relic of the past,” writes Madeline Stone in Business Insider. “They launched a catalog.” 

“Frances Valentine,” Stone continues, “is an apparel and accessories brand co-founded by the late Kate Spade, her husband Andy Spade, and her friend and longtime business partner, Elyce Arons.”

Arons, now the company’s CEO, told Business Insider the catalog was a great way to reconnect with their audience who were staying home amid the lockdowns, offering something “real.”

“It’s almost like accessing joy with a tangible product,” Arons said. “And I think people really needed it this spring.”

Interestingly, the catalog was in the works before the pandemic hit; they had been developing it since late 2019. When it finally mailed in June, it was so successful they started working on a Fall catalog.

“The decision to get into print may come as a surprise to those plugged into the rise of e-commerce,” Stone writes. While catalog printing has declined over the last 13 years, savvy brands understand this makes them all the most powerful.

And with brick and mortar stores shut down, the catalog represented a vital link to the brand that customers could hold in their hands and experience in a way a digital ad or social media post just doesn’t. And it has paid off in spades.

“Arons said that Frances Valentine’s sales so far this year were more than 280% higher than projected and that average order volume was about 40% higher than expected,” Stone notes. “Its return on ad spend, which includes spending on printed materials like catalogs, was up about 44% over the same period the previous year, while its conversion rate was up 46%. The brand has additionally seen its repeat purchase rate grow.

Print catalogs? During a pandemic? Yes, please. We have proof positive it works, beautifully. Just one more reason to include print in your own marketing strategy.