Welcome to the 2013 International Home + Housewares Show.
I trust many buyers got a productive jump on the show because of yesterday’s full-day, early start. And I trust many will, as they should, take full advantage of that extra day so by the time the show closes at 3 p.m. Tuesday they will have reconnected with current suppliers while discovering several new prospects.
That is, after all, the primary reasoning behind the additional day of what is now a four-day show: to give more buyers more time to find more products. And it is sound reasoning; even if many suppliers still are skeptical the extra day will produce the extra meetings to justify the extra cost.
Exhibitors have no choice but to pay for the extra day. This puts the burden on retailers— many of whom we’ve been told lobbied for a fourth day— to use the extra time to their advantage by exploring the industry’s biggest and most influential domestic trade event to its fullest.
Let’s hope they do.
While optimizing meeting time inside the McCormick Place exhibit halls should be the extended show’s top priority, the show serves up, if time permits, several programs and events to help buyers and exhibitors extract more value from their visits.
• A slate of keynote educational sessions kicks off today in the Grand Ballroom of McCormick South. Topics during the show include a look at the growing opportunity for housewares in the supermarket channel by GMDC and The Nielsen Company; insights into consumer behavior by Lifetime Brands’ Tom Mirabile; and The Pantone Color Institute’s annual home product color forecast by Lee Eiseman.
• More than 20 experts will examine key product development and launch issues— from design to social media to lifestyle trends to domestic manufacturing— in a full schedule of presentations at the show’s Innovation Theater (Room E350 near the Hall of Global Innovation in the Lakeside Center Lobby).
• The Inventors Corner Pavilion located in the Clean, Contain + Sustain Expo in the North Building will showcase entrepreneurs and their inventions. The pavilion is hosted by the United Inventors’ Association (UIA) and co-sponsored by Invention Home and QVC’s Sprouts program.
• The Cooking Theater adjacent to the Gourmet Food + Specialty Products category in McCormick South will serve up live demonstrations by top global chefs, including Rick Bayless, Cat Cora, Chris Costentino, Paula Deen, Todd English, Gale Gand, Masaharu Morimoto, Gail Simmons, Ming Tsai and Fabio Viviani.
• The 16th Annual Housewares Charity Foundation Gala (Monday evening at the Chicago Hilton) will honor Kathryn Bufano, president and chief merchandising officer of Belk, Inc., who will receive the Lifetime Humanitarian Award; and Keith Jaffee of O2 Cool, who will receive the Humanitarian of the Year Award.
• Look for New York City Mayor and financial news pioneer Michael Bloomberg to share a cross-section of political and economic insights during the annual Industry Breakfast, Tuesday morning in the Grand Ballroom of McCormick South.
These and other programs offer plenty to keep visitors informed during the show. Just be sure to make good use of the extra time on the exhibit floor.