Right Start

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We know moms and they know us," says Gerald Mitchell, exec VP-marketing and merchandising for Right Start, marketer of upscale baby toys and accessories.

Mr. Mitchell, 45, has played a key role in helping coordinate and integrate the company's catalog, retail and online selling channels, while finding a potent mix of print, electronic and direct mail marketing strategies.

He joined Right Start in 1996 after spending most of his career in retailing. His last post, before Right Start, was as VP-marketing of Natural Wonders, the national retailing arm of cable TV's Discovery Channel. There he focused on reaching upscale, education-minded families.

He was right at home with Right Start's target audience of upscale, busy women between 22 and 50 who have little time to shop and are willing to pay a little more for high-quality toys, books and nursery accessories.

Its first retail outlet opened in 1993. Today it has 60 stores in 15 states.

Right Start has been relying on cross-promotions online and in catalogs to drive consumers to the stores. Its ad campaign last fall used direct response, spot TV and prints ads in national consumer publications. All advertising is handled in-house.

This fall the company plans to launch its first store for designer maternity wear "to reach moms even earlier," Mr. Mitchell says.

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