@awk@davidgro And these days, VS tries even harder to be more like Frederick’s, and manages instead to be neither FoH or VS. They used to sell really well-made, durable things which were everyday-wearable and also sexy. Not so much now.
@Turken A casualty of the Japan’s financial crisis, as IIRC, their primary line of credit was from a Japanese bank. 1992 was when they filed for bankruptcy protection, subsequently full chapter 7 liquidation.
I can’t remember the name of it but it mostly had weird kitchen and woman’s stuff in it that as I kid I thought was really grandma stuff. BUT one time it had a reissue of the “snow plates” my mom got at her wedding (made in Italy, hand painted, a bunch of different snow scenes with falling snow…). She had always wished she had 12 and not 8 so I bought her 4. They had a bit less color in them than the originals, but still hand painted, still made in Italy, still otherwise the same plates. She was thrilled. It was worth the months of my babysitting money it cost to buy them (probably paid about $25/each). Found some photos online
@pooflady It was certainly a step up from some. Mom got it and liked it. As a kid, not so much so but when she had folded the page with these plates and marked them I knew she’d never buy them (although had said repeatedly over the years she wished she had 4 more) as we didn’t have much money but I had enough in saved babysitting money to do so and as a result that was her christmas/birthday present. She was thilled (and I got the usual lecture about spending so much of my hard earned money )
@Kyeh I agree and then I have to keep telling myself it is only stuff and the memories we have from using them is what matters. Mom giving them to my sister can’t take away my enjoyment of her pleasure of getting 4 more and not even remotely expecting that would happen. And where I live this apartment is so small I could never have a party to use them anyway.
Sort of. The current entity was started well after the original one’s bankruptcy, and while it was founded by the same person (Drew Kaplan), he later sold it off to a long-time friend, Sol Harari. Echoes of the original are present, but it’s tiny by comparison to its predecessor.
We weren’t fancy enough to have Sharper Image, but the Harriet Carter catalog was plenty inspiring in its own right. It was like a one-stop shop for every failed Shark Tank pitch, before Shark Tank was a thing.
As a design document for presenting “the future” or “ten years from now, today,” I have to say that no somewhat commonly distributed catalog did it better than the Sharper Image. It was like an episode each of the Jetsons and Star Trek plus (not that I knew it at the time) an anime or two to boot.
As a “catalog” can mean simply a list of items in custody or for sale, as far as that goes, the Sharper Image did great. As an enticement to buy things from the catalog, well, I knew one or two people who occasionally had things from them, so I guess it didn’t totally fail, but I’d anecdotally rate almost every other catalog-sending business ahead of them in conversion percentage (and probably gross sales, though maybe not profit margin - their stuff was expensive but they may have bought it cheaply).
I have to step back to more like the 70’s.
The Sears catalog was still as big as a large city phone book, over an inch thick. As a little boy, I thought it was fascinating that they showed little girls in white panties.
But girls were confusing so I decided to go for electronics instead. Some may remember
Digi-key (they seem to be still around)
Edmunds Scientific had many non-scientific things. (apparently they are still around and focused on optics only).
Also some model railroad catalogs but can’t remember the name.
Before the internetz (decades before…) those catalogs were the stuff of dreams. (except the girls part; that would be creepy…)
I always enjoyed looking at my mom’s wireless catalog. It was a fun and eclectic assortment of things. It’s where you could go for clothes that said funny things before screen printing got commoditized, also, strange jewelry, and games and toys I never saw advertised anywhere else.