Brand, innovation and bulk? or there must be a better way, Restoration Hardware

June 5, 2014

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So at last I received it. It came so much later than our other friends that I thought I would be the one person in Fairfield to escape unscathed. But there it was – the seventeen pound glossy monster of catalogs from Restoration Hardware lying there on my front porch. Yes they are printed on recycled paper. And they seem to look nice. But I am making a statement by immediately throwing them into the recycle bin unopened. Because the only thing I want in bulk any more is toilet paper and fiber.

RH for blog

So Restoration Hardware, it’s 2014 and we live in the digital age. No I am NOT a Millenial. I am a Gen Xer, in fact all the way on the side of damn near a Boomer. Yup that half decade mark is looming large. And I find your use of this much paper and energy, because a truck had to transport that monstrosity to my house, to be appalling. Holy carbon footprint!


So I design and brand spaces. I help companies think of ways to have more productive processes in the office. I look for ways companies can reduce paper by going to the cloud for example. I look at the world through the eyes of design. of business. of brand. of better ways to be good to our environment. because I have a passion, maybe we could even call it an obsession, to improve our world of work for people through design of their space.


I am a small business owner and even I am cloud based, so if I can do it… And I am ALL about pretty photos of rooms, design, furnishings and fixtures. I’m a designer right? You know we need our fix of pretty. But I do all of my research online now. And then I shop in person, so my client can sit in the chair and determine if it’s comfortable enough.

USB flash memory in hand thumb drive

So just thinking out loud. What if Restoration Hardware sent me a thumb drive filled with all of those beautiful photos? Wouldn’t that weigh maybe a pound? And it would surely have to be less expensive to create than 12 four color catalogs, right? And it would cost much less to ship. You can even put your logo (brand) on the thumb drive. I know this because at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair last month, several companies handed me their thumb drives with their catalogs ON them. Oh what a joy to look at all of those beautiful furnishings, fixtures and tiles on my computer!


Think how I would feel about Restoration Hardware if you did this! I would be so impressed by the forward thinking of your company. In fact, I would even open that package, because it would be so small I would be so curious to see what was inside, kind of like a Tiffany blue box. And just imagine if I, a nearly boomer, am blissed out by this idea how your future shoppers, the Millenials, are going to feel about your brand.


zappos culture brand differentiation


That  would be innovative, environmentally friendly and there could even be Zappos style videos showing some best ways to utilize the furnishings. Talk about brand differentiation!


Hmmmmm…now that’s a marketing initiative I could get behind.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Cena from June 6, 2014 at 12:26 pm

Holy Carbon Footprint is right Batgirl! Good for you for raising our awareness and consciousness! thanks


Resovate June 16, 2014 at 3:51 pm

Thanks for stopping by Cena. And I will be batgirl any day of the week. 🙂


John Rasiej June 6, 2014 at 1:00 pm

Hi Catherine, what a great viewpoint! I don;t get their catalogs but somehow get this big book of office supplies from U-Line every few months — gets tossed right away. When I need something I would look on-line anyway. The idea of a thumb drive is brilliant! If they really took it to the next level, that would even allow them to create custom catalogs based on people’s past purchases etc.


Pam June 7, 2014 at 4:09 pm

Catherine, right on! It’s so hard to believe that in today’s environment (pun intended) there are still companies who inflict this type of uninvited waste onto the public. On the other hand, not everyone has a computer. My 85 year old mother loved to get catalogs. She got hours of pleasure pages through them and spending too much money on things she didn’t need. But the RH tome crosses a line. After she died it took me almost a year to get her off all the mailing lists. I got freaked out about packaging a couple of years ago, and it’s changed my shopping and buying habits. Thank you for keeping this critical issue in the spotlight.


Lori Nash Byron June 8, 2014 at 9:46 pm

First of all,wow – that’s a huge bundle of catalogs. Does RH send them to every address in a geographic area, or were you selected because you’re a designer?

Me, I love a glossy magazine. I prefer to flip through those pages and never view the app that comes with my subscription. But I think the important distinction is that I opted in for the printed magazine; it was not sent to me as part of a huge bulk drop on the off-chance that I might like the content.

Can’t wait to read more of your rants, Catherine!


Jennifer Gregorski June 9, 2014 at 2:49 pm

What an amazing idea! Next talk to the yellow pages. Useless.


Cindy June 12, 2014 at 5:50 am

Interesting point of view – Thanks for the rant! I agree with Lori we all like to be able opt in or out based on our style, etc. Keep up the awareness we can all impact carbon footprint and do it in many different ways and the world can still have choices. 🙂


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