Have I Got A Catalog For You

Business is booming--and publishers welcome small companies' wares

After taking a retirement buyout from Polaroid Corp. in 1993, sales executive Mary A. Zellem thought she had come up with the perfect products to launch herself as an entrepreneur: dinosaur-emblazoned charts for recording children's growth and Pillow Playmates in the shape of puppies, polar bears, and other cuddly creatures. But while merchants and marketers admired the samples she shopped around, no one placed any orders. After "hundreds" of rebuffs, Zellem says, she turned to her last resort: a catalog publisher. "I had real mixed feelings," recalls the former national accounts manager. "I didn't know anything about catalogs."

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