The J. Peterman Company
People want things that are hard to find. Things that have romance, but a factual romance, about them.
|Founded||Lexington, Kentucky, USA (1987–2000, 2001—)|
|Headquarters||Blue Ash, Ohio, USA|
|Products||Clothing and Home accessories|
The J. Peterman Company was founded in 1987 by John Peterman, an entrepreneur who was, among things, formerly a minor league baseball player. It took up the travel and safari theme originated by Banana Republic that was abandoned by them in 1989 soon after their corporate parent The Gap parted ways with Banana Republic founders Mel and Patricia Ziegler. The J. Peterman Company's first product was an original horseman’s duster, promoted with a small ad in The New Yorker. The company grew by offering distinctive lifestyle merchandise (including reproductions of antique clothing and clothing worn in specific films) within catalogs that differed from other direct marketing at the time. The catalogs use long copy to explain the products, often digressing into exotic stories of how the catalog writer came across the product, or how it will make the wearer irresistibly attractive, such as:
When a man puts on this authentic French farmer’s shirt he may very well find that his hands look bigger....Is that woman over there giving him the eye and nodding toward the haystack? Yes, and he knows what to do.
Also, products are depicted in drawings rather than photographs.
From 1995 to 1998, the most popular television series at the time, Seinfeld, parodied the owner and the company with Elaine Benes working at the catalog under eccentric businessman and world traveler J. Peterman, played by John O'Hurley.
In 1997, the company raised private equity to expand. The company opened up 10 retail stores in several markets, including New York, Detroit, and San Francisco. The stores were moderately successful but the growth was too fast for the company’s small operations. Despite $75 million in sales at its peak, the company was forced into bankruptcy in January 1999.
The company was purchased by Paul Harris Stores in 1999, without the future participation of Peterman. Paul Harris Stores went bankrupt in 2000. In 2001, Peterman repurchased the name and restarted The J. Peterman Company, with O'Hurley as an investor. Tim Peterman, one of the founder’s sons, left E. W. Scripps in 2008 to become president of the company. John Peterman became Chairman.
In January 2011, the J. Peterman Company received a Job Creation Tax Credit incentive from the State of Ohio valued at $122,000 over a six year term. The headquarters was moved from Lexington, Kentucky to Blue Ash, Ohio.
- Greenwald, John (August 12, 2001). "Peterman Reboots". Time. Retrieved March 9, 2009.
- French Farmer's Shirt at jpeterman.com
- Jong, Mabel. "J. Peterman catalogs his success: Yada, yada, yada", Bankrate, 6 June 2003.
- Fornoff, Susan. J. Peterman is back / This time the catalog king is writing the 'adventures' of his new furniture line San Francisco Chronicle, 12 June 2004.
- The J. Peterman Company (25 March 2008). "Founder's Son Named to Lead J. Peterman" (Press release). Lexington, Kentucky: PRNewswire.com.
- "Job Creation Tax Credit Report". Ohio Development Services Agency. p. 24.
- "Blue Ash Economic Development News". Blue Ash Advance. City of Blue Ash, Ohio. March 2011.