Although Sears was not the first catalogue on the market, it was the fastest growing catalogue. A true Horatio Alger story, Richard Warren Sears quickly established himself in the rapidly growing world of marketing. He understood the ways customers and producers thought, making him the ideal middle man.
Beginning through advertisements in newspapers, Sears was selling watches all over the country. To attract customers to his business, he found three things necessary: confidence in the merchant through whom the customer was dealing, the ability to view the products before purchasing, and prices so low the customer wouldn't worry about buying the watch through the mail. As his business increased, he realized one integral part of all three of these was a guarantee the product would last. By 1887 he was guaranteeing his watches for six years.

Sears quickly amassed a small fortune and retired at the age of twenty-five. However, he couldn't get the thrill of advertising and merchandising out of his blood. Throughout his lifetime, Sears was to found three different companies, only to retire from all except the last after a couple of years. His last company was actually an extension from his second company, having changed hands with Alvah Curtis Roebuck twice.

Through dramatic and friendly text, Sears continued to maintain contact with his customers. These customers viewed Mr. Sears as their personal friend and supplier of everything, a view the company pushed. Between 1893 and 1894, the catalogues jumped from 196 pages to 322. By 1895, the catalogue ran 502 pages. Sears, Roebuck & Co. soon declared "We sell Everything."

Sears' genius for marketing and advertising is what pushed the company to the forefront. Because he met the customers on their level, he was able to move the new technology into homes that previously could do without. By 1909, he was even selling pre-made homes to customers. Through this rapid deployment of standard merchandise throughout the United States, Sears guaranteed the nation of a homogenized culture.

These new products created a new social sphere for the farmer to move within. Each product Sears sold a rural farmer made that farmer more like those residents of the city. Residents throughout the plains purchased the pre-fabricated houses, creating odd pictures of New England Cape Cods in the middle of a wheat field. Each piece of technology Sears sent the farmer represented a piece of the city moving into the rural setting. Women started doing laundry in fancy dresses like they imagined city folk wore. Previously, clothing was purchased for its practicality. Now, clothing was purchased for its style.
After selling the farmer equipment to save time, Sears had to offer the farmer new leisure time activities. The catalogue offered phonographs, bicycles, and dolls to entertain the families. Every new piece of technology was sponsored by Sears and presented to the rural residents as ways to modernize. He could sell anything. The lack of roads in the area didn't deter residents from purchasing the bicycles. His grand push of technology and city customs spread the consumer culture through the rural areas in ways no other catalogue, store, or merchant could.