Christian Retailing

Paraclete broadens gift-market reach Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Wednesday, 06 April 2011 01:20 PM America/New_York

Known mainly for book publishing, Paraclete Press is branching out into gifts. Although the supplier started offering some gift items about four years, it only recently exhibited to the wider gift market at January’s AmericasMart in Atlanta.

As the publishing house of the Community of Jesus, a large Benedictine monastic community, Paraclete has a long history of creativity and the arts from which to draw.

“In this digital age, we know that people desire to touch, smell, see and hear beauty,” said Ellen Ortolani, director of sales. “Our gift books, candles and music encourage people to look up at the beauty of creation and to be reminded to, in the words of St. Benedict, ‘Never lose hope in the mercy of God.’ ”

The company had “an incredibly successful opening show,” Ortolani said of AmericasMart, where its best-selling item was a gift book titled I Will See You In Heaven, a book of inspiration and hope for when a pet has died.

Some of its other top-selling gift books are themed by occasion such as baptism, First Communion, Easter and pet loss, with My Baptism Book being the best-seller overall. Paraclete also has a line of journals.

”We are aiming to reach people who are looking for a beautiful gift that is meaningful, affordable and will have a lasting value,” Ortolani said.

The “From a Monastery Kitchen” jams, candles and bath products are handcrafted by the sisters of the Community of Jesus, while both the sisters and brothers make varieties of granola.

Paraclete distributes its candles, granolas, jams and bath products, while the gift books are distributed through Ingram and Baker & Taylor.