Matthew Del Bianco
|Headquarters||Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, United States|
SkyMall is a specialty publishing firm headquartered in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, best known for once publishing a self-titled in-flight publication, SkyMall, that at one point had an annual circulation of approximately 20 million copies distributed in airplane seat pockets. At one point it reached 88% of US airlines passengers. SkyMall is a multi-channel, direct marketer offering products through direct marketers and manufacturers through its SkyMall catalogue and website, skymall.com.
SkyMall, Inc. was founded in 1990 by Bob Worsley, Alan Lobock, Matthew Del Bianco, and Graham Alcock. Originally, it intended to "get customers to order within 20 minutes of landing and have the goods waiting for them on arrival", before it switched to home delivery. Same-day delivery required SkyMall to operate its own warehouses near select airports.
Shortly after launching, the company purchased contracts from another company that allowed it to offer catalog merchandise to travelers flying U.S. air carriers. This move, which did not receive the support of all of the founders, required a significant shift in SkyMall's focus and operations, ultimately forcing the company to abandon same-day delivery and nearly bankrupting it. The company now offers goods from other companies' catalogs for drop-ship to the customer via third-party transport firms.
The company drastically changed its business model around 1993. Instead of stocking the merchandise itself near airports, Skymall began leasing sections of the magazines to various distributors which customers would then order from directly. Smithsonian magazine has credited this decision with saving the company.
Since 1999, SkyMall ownership has "bounced around among several private-equity companies", including by Najafi Companies, the largest private equity firm in Arizona in 2012. In 2009 SkyMall's website "generated approximately $80.5 million in revenue", making it the 185th largest e-commerce website by revenue.
On May 17, 2013, SkyMall merged with Xhibit Corp, described as a new "marketing software and digital advertising company that trades on an 'over-the-counter' exchange where equity shares of small companies can be bought and sold".
On January 22, 2015, SkyMall, LLC and several affiliated companies, including its parent company Xhibit Corp., voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Arizona. On April 1, SkyMall was purchased out of bankruptcy court by C&A Marketing for $1.9 million; the new owners plan to re-launch the catalog with a new product selection that will partially downplay the brand's association with novelty items in favor of "more of the innovative, fun, cool products that people are looking for, but that are still in keeping with the DNA of SkyMall."
Although Skymall started as a conventional retailer it was quickly realized that consumers weren't likely to buy them as they were to buy "Unconventional items". One of the top selling items upon the company filing for bankruptcy, for instance, was a Yeti statue. The Washington Post described the catalog's offerings as "whimsical".
- Apparel & Accessories
- Automotive & Hardware
- Health & Wellness
- Home Living
- Outdoor Living
- Sporting Goods
- Toys, Hobbies & Collectibles
In popular culture
SkyMall is often parodied for selling sometimes unusual products. References in music and TV include:
- In the Futurama episode "A Farewell to Arms", Bender is seen reading a copy of SpaceMall, a parody of SkyMall, while on the Planet Express Ship.
- SkyMall was referenced in the Breaking Bad episode "Negro y Azul", when Tortuga (Danny Trejo) is demanding a list of items from the magazine in turn for helping out the DEA, and in "Hermanos", when a DEA agent (Dean Norris) unveils a GPS tracking device purchased from SkyMall.
- An article on Cracked.com, written by an official columnist, lists "The 7 Most Useless Skymall Products", which lists 7 comically, seemingly pointless, products previously sold through SkyMall.
- Skymall was referenced in the episode "Scars" of the television show "Agents of SHIELD", by the S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Sam having received a small favor from Agent Colson after his American flight 220 in to a secret underground facility Sam managed, in the form of what the viewer sees as a Skymall magazine issue, with Sam saying, "...I hope they never go out of business" (this occurred in the SHIELD storyline past).
- In Parks and Recreation, Tom purchases several pieces of hi-tech camping equipment from SkyMall with the intention of returning them for a refund after the trip was over.
- Singer-songwriter Jonathan Coulton wrote a song, also entitled Skymall, about the catalog for his Thing a Week albums.
Airlines with SkyMall on flights
- American Airlines and American Eagle - ended (January 2015)
- United Airlines - ended (January 2015)
- Delta Air Lines - ended November 2014
- Southwest Airlines - ended (April 2015)
History of Airlines that Carried SkyMall
- American Airlines/US Airways/American Eagle/TWA/America West Airlines
- United Airlines/Continental Airlines/Eastern Airlines
- Delta Air Lines/Northwest Airlines
- Southwest Airlines/AirTran Airways
- Alaska Airlines
- National Airlines
- SkyWest Airlines/Atlantic Southeast Airlines
- Frontier Airlines/Midwest Airlines
- Sun Country
- "Contact Us". SkyMall. Retrieved January 19, 2010.
- Kim Bhasin (January 23, 2015). "SkyMall Is Earthbound, but Its Legacy of Nutty Gifts Lives On". Bloomberg Businessweek.
- http://www.northjersey.com/towns/ridgefield-park-company-buys-skymall-brand-1.1300102. Missing or empty
- "About SkyMall". SkyMall.
- Dhar, Rohin (June 12, 2013). "SkyMall: The Strange Story of America's Most Delightfully Weird Catalogue". The Atlantic.
- Lovejoy, Bess. "How SkyMall Captured a Moment of Technological and American History r". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
- "SkyMall Orders Up a Bankruptcy Filing". Commercial Bankruptcy Investor. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
- "Company buys SkyMall for $1.9 million, will make "dramatic changes"". Ars Technica. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
- "Still Need A Lawn Yeti? Good News — SkyMall May Be Cleared For Relaunch". April 1, 2015. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
- Ferdman, Roberto A. "SkyMall, the wacky in-flight catalogue, is filing for bankruptcy. How did it last this long?". Washington Post.
- Bowie, Soren (October 18, 2010). "The 7 Most Useless Skymall Products (Reviewed Accordingly)". Cracked.com.
- SkyMall website
- "'Where the Wings Have No Shame': What's SkyMall culture really about?", Slate.com, April 18, 2007
- "SkyMall and GuestLogix to develop onboard shopping service", DFNIonline, February 21, 2008
- "Coffee, Tea, Lawn Ghoul?" by Sarah Kershaw, April 29, 2009, New York Times