Catalogue puts focus on quality

Veteran retail advertising salesman Pasquale (Pat) Sasso decided to go out on his own with an idea so simple he wondered why no one else had done it before.Earlier in his career, Sasso had created a couple of magazines for a...

Veteran retail advertising salesman Pasquale (Pat) Sasso decided to go out on his own with an idea so simple he wondered why no one else had done it before.

Earlier in his career, Sasso had created a couple of magazines for a larger Vancouver-area publishing company.

He felt the market would support a catalogue that featured furniture and home remodelling in a way that fully represented the product and was aesthetically pleasing.

His target was upscale retailers who sold to people serious about interior decorating and quality home furnishings.

‘I was aiming at clients who were willing to spend more money on certain types of products,’ Passo says.

‘My audience could care less about Wal-Mart and Home Depot,’ he says.

Sasso worked up a hand-illustrated design under the title Chatham’s, featuring carpets, drapes, custom-built sofas and chairs, as well as a Jacuzzi whirlpool bath, and kitchen and bathroom cabinet hardware.

Many of the stores he called upon liked the idea of his focus on quality home furnishings.

Sasso told advertisers the catalogue was not intended as a way to make money by selling space.

Rather, he was providing a service that would show his clients’ products in the best available light.

Design service

‘I wasn’t selling space, I was offering clients a design service that included an art designer, a copywriter and photographer,’ Sasso says.

‘The catalogue was designed to ultimately reflect what retailers care about: their product,’ he says.

In his first issue, which appeared last May, Sasso had sold 44 pages.

He printed and mailed 65,000 catalogues throughout b.c.’s Lower Mainland.

Five thousand copies were redesigned and translated for the Chinese market, principally those living in Richmond, a suburban Vancouver city where close to 75% of the population comprises recent Chinese immigrants.

Sasso, who is from Richmond, knew from his informal research the Chinese were cautious buyers who made informed buying decisions based on what they read.

‘It was expensive to produce another publication just for the Chinese market in terms of renting the list and translation and extra art work,’ Sasso says.

‘But, the extra work did make a difference,’ he says.

Renewals

Sasso knew his success rested on his renewal of previous advertisers who wanted to be included in the second issue, scheduled for November and December, the height of the season for furniture retailers.

He was surprised that many of his clients were overwhelmingly enthusiastic about the response they were getting.

Dena Eran, owner of Thompson & Page Fine Furnishings, a Vancouver furnishing designer and retailer, was impressed by the response she got at her Granville Street store.

She was among the 75% of advertisers who renewed their advertising from Sasso’s first issue.

In all, 45 advertisers appeared in the 60-page fall/winter issue, which was mailed to 65,000 people the middle of November.

So far, the response has been enthusiastic among advertisers who want to participate in a third issue appearing in the spring.

Sasso hopes he has built enough client loyalty to ward off the competition that is sure to come.