Direct sales by catalog may not be as popular as it once was in the United States, but it seems to be very popular in the less developed regions of other countries. The Philippines has many regions like this. I live in Olongapo City and even with two nearby shopping malls, I have difficulty finding good clothes that fit. I can sometimes find what I need from one of the many clothing catalogs that relatives and neighbors like to show me.
Back in 2009, while one of my relatives (Cora) was in the hospital having her last child, I caught a bunch of my littlest nieces fighting over one of her Natasha catalogs they had somehow managed to get a hold of. Rather than watching them duke it out, I took the catalog away from them and stashed it in my house.
Later, I decided to rifle through the pages of the catalog to see what the Natasha company had to offer. I remembered Cora had ordered a belt for me from an older catalog and the belt was also in this edition.
The catalog layout is similar to the clothing catalogs I remember from my youth, like the Spiegel catalog. The only thing I noticed different about the Natasha catalog is that there isn’t an order form included. That makes sense since multiple people shop from the same clothing catalogs. The people doing the selling have to pay for the catalogs.
The standard clothing items you’d normally find in any clothing catalog aren’t missing from this catalog. In fact, there’s more in them than I can remember from some of the catalogs in the United States.
Natasha carries clothing that will fit me. They also carry wallets, handbags, baseball-style hats and backpacks/book bags. The prices are more than reasonable for me, but may be a little expensive for the average Filipino.
Cora was a sales representative for a few catalog companies back then, including Avon. I don’t think she does it anymore. She had problems with other people paying for their orders.
A couple of months later, a neighbor dropped off the latest Natasha catalog along with some other clothing catalogs. I saw what I expected in the Natasha catalog, but I saw some unexpected things in other catalogs. These are the catalogs:
All of the catalogs were similar to each other, except for the last two. Well, kind of. The Avon catalog was almost like the rest, yet thicker than the ones I’ve seen in the United States. The Tupperware catalog is the one that struck me as odd. It had similar stuff as the other clothing catalogs, along with the expected Tupperware products. The difference in the Avon and Tupperware catalogs was only in the number of items (and sizes of the catalogs), not in the types of items.
My mother-in-law told me the Sundance and Natasha catalogs represent the same company, but I couldn’t find anything to suggest it in the catalogs themselves nor at the respective websites. At first glance, I thought something had happened to the Tupperware company since the stupid plastic Tupperware parties of the 1970s, but then I realized that I wasn’t in the United States and things are different in the Philippines.
By: RT Cunningham
May 24, 2014
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