Mail Call: Annie Selke Company Introduces Its First Catalog
By Lisa Green
Catalogs are near and dear to Annie Selke’s heart. As a girl, the founder of and creative force behind the textile-driven Annie Selke Company, headquartered in Pittsfield, could be found poring through the myriad home and shelter catalogs her parents received. And because so many catalogs carry products from all of the company’s divisions — Pine Cone Hill, Dash & Albert, Fresh American and Luxe — she was used to working on them from the service end.
So now that the company has announced it will soon be sending out its own direct-to consumer-catalog, the big question is — especially from those of who can’t get enough of the insanely beautiful bedding, rugs, sleepwear and furniture coming out of this company — why did it take so long?
Catalogs and print materials have been standard practice in communicating with their more than 2,000 retailers, of course. But apart from The Outlet @ Pine Cone Hill, itself located within the headquarter’s meandering complex of buildings and warehouses, customers have purchased Annie Selke products only through retailers or the website.
From her bright, brick-walled office, surrounded by fabric swatches and rugs, Selke, who lives in Lenox, explains why she waited 20 years to create her own consumer catalog.
“In 2012, we went direct-to-consumer online,” she says. “We needed to have an online presence. I called it ‘passive retail.’ We were just turning on the lights, and people came.”
Two years ago, the company started advertising to consumers, using print as well as web ads as drivers to annieselke.com (a delightful site, by the way, that includes not just shopping opps but “Fresh American Style,” a blog filled with decorating tips, how-to’s, Selke’s travels and even recipes). A consultant advised that it was time to dip their toe in the catalog world. (A little retro, maybe, but that never hurt L.L. Bean or Horchow.)
“We just decided to do it in May” (as in but five months ago), Selke says. “It’s been crazy doing it so fast and we’re still figuring things out as we go, but at least we have a process in place. We hope to put out six more next year, including holiday and furniture versions.” The new catalog division has necessitated hiring more people, and isn’t that music to our ears here in our rural community?
So on September 19, around 300,000 lucky homes will receive the inaugural Annie Selke catalog. Berkshire residents will be pleased to find the introduction of the Berkshire Collection. These pillows, furniture and window panels with patterns and colors inspired by our area will have familiar names like Greylock, Glendale and Barrington.
“I cannot wait for the referendum,” Selke says.
We’re betting the numbers will be good, but regardless, that “Bringing Happy Home” tagline the company uses? It’s pretty much a given.
To be added to the catalog mailing list, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet Annie Selke on Friday, Sept. 16
The Outlet @ Pine Cone Hill hosts a meet-and-greet event with the founder and CEO, Annie Selke, from 2:30-4 p.m.. At the event, which is open to the public, Selke will share her latest design inspirations and answer questions from guests. RSVP at RSVP@annieselke.com or (413) 629-2314.