You have to appreciate the democracy of the housewares industry, where a $10 peeler can elicit as much delight from consumers as a $500 blender.
Such equal marketing opportunity is an important virtue of this diverse and global industry, whose first-quarter effort to showcase unique housewares items, at all pricepoints, reaches a busy crossroads this week.
The conclusion of NY Now, the former New York International Gift Fair with its increased emphasis on gourmet housewares and tabletop, will barely be a day gone when global housewares showcase Ambiente opens its doors in Frankfurt, Germany. This industry supports shows of varying size and scope. And many will travel overnight from the more specialized trade show to the more universal show across the ocean so as not to risk missing the many options and prospects offered by the industry.
In between, the 11th annual Housewares Design Awards by HomeWorld Business will be presented this week at the Marriott Marquis overlooking New York City’s Times Square. With 65 finalists representing all walks of housewares ownership, pricing and distribution vying for the chance to claim this year’s best in category honors, it is another occasion that underscores the equal development and marketing opportunity championed by the housewares business.
The industry’s wide scope and inclusive spirit will be in full force yet again at the March 17 Housewares Charity Foundation Gala in Chicago. The world’s largest mass retailer will share the stage with the nation’s largest buying group for independent retailers when Walmart vp/dmm David Ortiz accepts his Lifetime Humanitarian award and Gourmet Catalog president and founder Janis Johnson receives the Specialty Retailer Humanitarian award. Humanitarian of the Year Wolfgang Wüsthof, senior partner of 200-year old cutlery maker Wüsthof, also will represent the premium specialty segment of the housewares business at the HCF gala.
The housewares industry almost certainly was not in mind when the expression “melting pot” was coined. Still, how apropos.
This is a business where independent retailers remain a strong outlet for innovation and service in the face of the major advances and advantages of super-chains and e-commerce.
Where an entrepreneur with a great idea (and reasonable financing) can still break through barriers erected by entrenched conglomerates.
Where the true value of a product is not limited to its pricepoint.
Where “good” can be just as important as “better,” which can be just as important as “best.”
And where a well-designed $10 peeler can elicit the same smile from a would-be home chef as a powerful $500 blender.
It’s enough to give you a greater appreciation of the democracy that is the housewares business.