Real Simple magazine, which has become a big player in the licensed home-goods category with products sold at Bed Bath & Beyond, is now partnering with Target to launch a limited-edition collection of pet products while eyeing the possibility of moving into e-commerce.
Real Simple developed the items, which publisher Sally Preston described as “practical with a twist” (think LED light pet collars and spill-proof silicone placemats), with petware design and manufacturing company LittleGifts. At launch, there will be more than 20 SKUs, and Target plans to carry the line for three months in each of its 1,700 stores. With 64 percent of Real Simple subscribers also pet owners, “our loyalists are already there for us,” said managing editor Kristin van Ogtrop.
Target and Real Simple had a relationship selling home office and organization products in 2005, and while the newest line was planned as a limited run, the magazine is optimistic that it could lead to more opportunities with the big box retailer.
Although Real Simple doesn’t sell products on its website, Preston said that the magazine is considering moving into e-commerce. “We’re looking at ways—not just through our site but through apps—to be a little creative there as well,” she said.
The Bed Bath & Beyond line has grown from around 20 SKUs when it launched three years ago to more than 400 SKUs today. While Real Simple doesn’t release information about how much the product extension contributes to its bottom line, Preston said, “Over the past three years, we have seen pretty significant growth in that area.”
The products have also been helping to introduce the Real Simple brand to shoppers who aren’t familiar with the magazine. “While we have a very healthy and robust circulation, we don’t reach everybody that goes into a Bed Bath & Beyond,” said Preston. “If we can continue to produce products that are on-brand…I think there’s nothing but upside in the merchandise space.”