• Clint Engel

Art Van goes aspirational with first holiday gift guide

Consumers can choose from a $4,999 shuffleboard table to $28 game of Tic Tac Toe

art van catalogWARREN, Mich. — When you’re looking for the perfect Christmas gift — say a $2,900, 24 karat gold corkscrew for that special someone who has everything — your first stop might be the Neiman Marcus holiday catalog.

But that item, along with a $5,000 shuffleboard table, a $2,600 rocking horse, as well as also much more affordable retro toys, furniture, barware and other items, are part of Art Van Furniture’s first Wonderland Holiday Gift Guide.

Yes, Art Van.

The glossy, 107-page catalog debuted early this month and features nearly 1,000 items — everything from a two-foot, LED birch tree and LED single strand lights for less than $20 to a Nuevo shuffleboard table on sale for $4,999. There are scores of holiday décor items offered, including Prussian and Byzantine glass ornaments, nativities, pre-lit Christmas trees, lights and menorahs; holiday entertaining items such as MacKenzie-Childs centerpieces and Kate Spade serving items; and gifts such as photo frames, jewelry box and evening bags encrusted in Swarovski crystals.

On the furniture and accents side, shoppers will find a button tufted Celeste queen upholstered bed for $699 and the Magnolia Home Dapper sofa for $999 (along with other Magnolia Home furniture, accents and holiday decorations).

Then there’s that nearly $3,000 gold, wall-mounted corkscrew (and much less expensive versions in chrome and copper finishes for those who need to save some money for the actual bottles of wine); metal and acrylic bar carts for $319 or less; and, of course, toys — like the $5,000 shuffle board table or a $3,299 wood ping pong table, the rocking horse, and a nostalgic fire engine scooter ($169).

Diane Charles, vice president of corporate communications, credits Art Van CEO Kim Yost with the Wonderland gift guide idea. He wanted to try something a little aspirational, and for the past year, “they went all over the world and found amazing product,” she said.

“It helps with frequency of purchase,” she added, “gives another reason besides furniture to come into the store and attracts a guest that maybe we wouldn’t normally attract.”

Art Van flirted with something like this with past catalogs, but they were more about accessories with holiday flair, “nothing on this scale,” she said.

Charles wouldn’t disclose sales figure, but during a three-day catalog launch this month, Art Van rang up more sales than the accessories catalog did all last year.

She has called the catalog, “Sears Wish Book meets Neiman Marcus,” with its mix of affordable and luxury gifts. Her personal favorite: a bracelet that doubles as a flask (it comes in four colors and is on sale for $39) … “because it’s unique,” she added.

Large displays of the Wonderland gift items are set up in the atrium areas of nine Art Van stores in Chicagoland, Detroit, Grand Rapids and other Michigan stores. Consumers can pick up the gift guide in all stores, and Art Van has mailed 100,000 copies to preferred customer zip codes in its market.

The catalog and all items also are available online, and Art Van is promoting it heavily on social media and via other public relations efforts throughout the holiday season.

Clint EngelClint Engel | Senior Retail Editor, Furniture Today

Please feel free to email or call me with all of your retail news and tips, including expansion news, successful merchandising and marketing strategies and anything else you would like to see covered by Furniture/Today.  Contact me directly at cengel@furnituretoday.com or 336-605-1129.

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