Walter Drake

Lillian Vernon, Sharper Image Crash. Why?
February 25, 2008

The king of high-end tchotchkes (Richard Thalheimer, former CEO and chairman of The Sharper Image) and queen of low-end tchotchkes (Lillian Vernon) have been dethroned. Lillian Vernon and Sharper Image—two iconic catalogs—were known to have been struggling in recent years. Their bankruptcies were expected. That they were announced on the same day is astonishing. How could this happen? Both Vernon and Thalheimer launched businesses without paying their dues. Ultimately, neither of them knew what the hell they were doing. Lillian Vernon’s Story In 1933, Lillian Katz’s family fled the Nazis. They left Leipzig, Germany, for Amsterdam, and four years later were lucky enough to

The Wonders of White Mail
November 1, 2006

When I’m teaching a workshop and use the term white mail, I get blank looks from about half the group. They are unfamiliar with the term. White mail is unsolicited correspondence from your customers. While I don’t know this for a fact, I assume white mail got its name from the plain “white” envelope it arrives in—rather than a printed reply envelope provided by you, the marketer. I once was an official reader of white mail for the personalized Christmas card program at Walter Drake, a multichannel marketer of household merchandise and gift items. So, I know from experience the enclosed message can be anything

Market Focus: Beauty Product Buyers
August 1, 2004

A Beauty of a Market Even before Cleopatra made famous her kohl-rimmed eyes, women the world over sought out lotions, creams and powders to put their best face forward. And throughout the centuries, the desire for beauty products has only grown. The cosmetics industry basically is divided into three categories: skincare, haircare and color cosmetics. Citing research from Datamonitor, Cosmetics & Toiletries magazine puts the total cosmetic industry at $124 billion, with sales expected to top $145 billion by 2005. It also points to skincare and color cosmetics as industry growth areas, with estimated sales of $31 billion and $22.5 billion, respectively. Many Faces,

Marching Orders Using One Voice Over All Media
February 1, 1999

by Pat Friesen Whenever I teach a seminar or workshop on the basics of direct marketing, we talk about the fact that direct marketing uses a variety of types of media—not just direct mail lists. It's interesting how often businesses overlook the opportunity to send "one message"—no matter which medium they're using—whether it's broadcast, space, package inserts, direct mail or online advertising. One observation I'll make is that direct marketers tend to be better about sending the same message and using the same voice in all their advertising efforts than do traditional marketers who are crossing over into direct. Here are some elements of