Navigating the Niche
"With our C&T titles, we had become used to a sales model that was proportionally more reliant on our niche market sales—direct to quilt stores, to craft chains and through craft distributors—than on book trade sales," adds Gailen Runge, creative director. "In the business model for the new imprint, we predicted Stash Books titles would sell as well into our core quilt market as our [other] C&T titles, and that they would sell exponentially better to the book trade. That has definitely been the case. Each of our Stash Books titles has been reprinted multiple times in its first year."
According to Runge, C&T conducted "an enormous amount of due diligence" before the launch of Stash Books, which was the brainchild of Acquisitions Editor Susanne Woods, to identify exactly who the target reader was and how to best meet their needs. A key differentiator between Stash Books titles and other C&T titles is lower price points.
"Appealing to the book trade played a large roll in setting our price points. The book trade has different expectations and understanding of value than our core quilting market," says Runge. "Many of our Stash Books titles appeal to craft sewers. They are more general sewing-related [titles] than hard-core quilting. You get people who are dabbling in the craft or trying new things and are less committed. The book is competing for the customer's entertainment budget, and there's a lot of competition for that money.
"Luckily, we were able to use many of our key brand decisions as cost-saving measures," Runge continues. "The use of more white space and lushly minimalistic design is a key to our books' visual appeal, but it also helps us cut our per-page costs for text contracts. The smaller trim size that sets the Stash Books titles apart also lowers printing costs. By lowering costs like these, we are able to produce books cost-effectively while still spending the resources on additional set-shot photography and on ensuring the books' technical accuracy."