Catalog Buyer (with Sarah Plovanich)

They say that if you plant a seed for bamboo you have to water it and give it sunlight for five years and it does not sprout for the first five years…But if you keep hammering at it and you keep putting effort into, once bamboo sprouts it is the fastest growing plant and you cannot keep it under wraps, and I feel like it’s the same thing with finding your dream job.

They say that what you own owns you.  If that’s the case then I sure do hope that whatever owns me comes from the 167 year old Hammacher Schlemmer catalog.  Consider being owned by a batman golf cart that shoots flames out the back…I’d be okay with that.  Or how about a personal submarine, that’s also a sports car?  Not too shabby.  Yep, thanks to people like today’s guest, Sarah Plovanich, Hammacher Schlemmer, 167 years after it’s creation, is still a hub for high quality, very unique gifts.  Sarah is a buyer for the catalog where she does everything from evaluate invention submissions to travel the world in search of the next great products.  She’ll tell us all about what it’s like to have the coolest job ever.

The product selection was super different, like the farting alarm clock…it was the only job I ever cried at, I was like “I just traded in a job with French antiques for this? Is this how my life is supposed to go?”
It’s hard to separate your favorite items because they’re your personal favorite or if it’s your favorite because someones like “I don’t know if that’s gonna work” and then it does. So then all of the sudden it becomes even more of your favorite…it’s sort of like a ‘booyah’ type item.

Interview Contents

3:00 - Working for Hammacher Schlemmer.

5:40 - The average age of shoppers of Hammacher Schlemmer.

7:30 - The mail order business.

10:00 - The origins of Hammacher Schlemmer.

17:00 - The shifting business of Hammacher Schlemmer.

20:00 - Sarah’s background and her path to becoming a buyer.

29:00 - Sarah’s job at Hammacher Schlemmer.

38:30 - What do you look for when people submit inventions to the catalog?

41:00 - Data and trying to find trends.

45:00 - The craziest items that have ever been in the catalog.

51:00 - The travel schedule as a buyer.

58:30 - Using the products that are in the catalog.

1:01:15 - Sarah’s favorite items from the catalog.

1:10:00 - Advice.

Links

Hammacher Schlemmer

THIS EPISODE WAS MADE WITH THE SUPPORT OF

Roxanna

Michelle & Jim Wortner

Janelle Swanson

Jimmy Seymour

SUPPORT EPISODES LIKE THIS BEING MADE

Blake Fletcher

San Francisco, CA

Livin it up!