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Martha refines, renames catalog

Andrea Lillo -- Home Textiles Today, October 21, 2002

With the intent of unifying its catalog with the Martha Stewart brand, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. just delivered the newly crafted catalog to customers under its new name, "Martha Stewart, The Catalog for Living."

Formerly called Martha By Mail, the new book narrows its assortment, focusing on products for entertaining, cooking, decorating, and gift giving, while pets, children and luggage have been eliminated. In a letter to consumers in the catalog, Stewart outlines some of the improvements, like an expanded housewares section with holiday table linens.

At 100 pages, the late fall catalog, which features Danish Fern dinnerware against a warm reddish orange background on the cover, is larger than preceding ones, which ranged between 64 and 76 pages this year. The new book also strives to be more informational and includes explanatory blurbs about such details as monograming and down fill as well as recipes. Graphically, the layouts intersperse pictures and text in a collage fashion, where previously the text was predominately run in the center of the layout with columns of pictures flanking it.

With the holiday season approaching, the front third of the book is devoted to setting the table and features six tablecloths with coordinating linens, including a new solid-color cloth of Belgium linen with embroidered napkins and a Turkey red damask cloth. Existing styles that have run before include an amethyst colored toile (and for which the 108" x 70" and 126" x 70" tablecloths are $19 and $29 cheaper, respectively, than in the previous catalog), and, in the Entertaining Essentials section, a group of cotton linens under the label Martha's Fine Linens. Kitchen textiles and other mats and napkins are sprinkled throughout the section.

The middle of the book offers a range of holiday items, including 12 pages of wreaths and garlands, as well as baking items, candy, gift baskets, sewing and bath kits.

The last 10 pages carry the textiles portion of bedding and bath, including wintry items like flannel sheets and down products.

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