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A Euro Twist Contrasts Affordable Innovation

European brands and influences had a pronounced presence at the Affordable Innovation press event that the International Home + Housewares Association held in New York Wednesday. At a time when consumers have proven willing to shell out a little more cash for products that provide at least a degree of uniqueness, European brands and designs offer some distinction in the marketplace, or so those purveying them hope.

In some cases, companies from the United States promoted European brands under their control. For example, Browne USA used the IHA event to promote a brand it acquired some time ago but had not yet marketed vigorously in the United States. So, the Berard France Acero Collection was the focal point of the company’s effort in New York. The entertainment-oriented product collection, including a cheeseboard, cheese knife, spreaders, server set and salt and pepper mills, is made of olive wood with steel accents. The construction provides a handsome look but more besides. The premium-price product line not only comes with an import story to justify its upmarket cost to the consumer, but a sustainability one as well, given that the olive wood material used is harvested using eco-friendly practices.

As for European companies, Blond-Amsterdam introduced its line of “cheeky” pottery and accessories to IHA showgoers on the same day its American web store,, came online. Products on offer at the event and online included Blondelicious, a new pottery line inspired by the nifty 50s, and Small Talk, a feel-good line of mugs, bowls and plates that, in part of the collection, features illustrated characters engaged in cheerful blather. Blonde-Amsterdam also distributes an accessories line featuring toiletry and makeup bags, wallets, towels and shower caps. Blondelicious mugs retail for $11.95 and Small Talk mugs retail for $5.95 and $9.95 on the company’s website.

Also from the Netherlands, Boska Holland offered a range of cheese preparation and serving products including LIFE Fondue Set Tapas designed for use by an individual or as part of a service that accommodates different cheese varieties, and the Cheese Curler, a device that slices thin servings from a block or ring of cheese. Retail price for the Cheese Curler is $69.99 while Fondue Set Tapas pieces carry a $34.99 SRP.

For more on the IHA Affordable Innovation event, check tomorrow.