30 Years Later: Different Look, Same Principles

What a difference 30 years makes.

When I joined HomeWorld Business six months after its September 1989 debut, suits were still required attire every day, even way out here in suburban Long Island.

Now I look around at an office staff that is comfortable in casual wear. Yet they are no less productive, if not more so.

Different look. Same business principles.

Executive Perspectives

As HomeWorld celebrates 30 years of chronicling the housewares business, it’s only natural to reflect on the dramatic change by the industry and its retailers.

This special 30th anniversary edition (September 9 issue) includes perspectives on such change by several executives who were immersed in the housewares business the day HomeWorld launched and remain entrenched as industry leaders three decades later.

This issue also marks the 30th anniversary of HomeWorld’s Top 100 Housewares Retailers report. We look at the Top 10 housewares retailers, in five-year increments, since the first annual ranking appeared in 1989.

Both of these features paint a vivid picture of an ever-evolving housewares landscape; of the transformation of key companies; and of an adapting industry constantly altering how it goes to market.

But beneath all these serious changes with serious ramifications, the core values of housewares success have been unflinchingly stable through the years.

Business Constants

This is a business that still welcomes and rewards innovation.

It is a business that still requires an intimate understanding of consumer needs and wants.

It is a business despite constant headwinds, that still works to measure value in what something should be worth, not just what it costs.

It is a business, despite the endless shelf of the Internet, that still thrives when suppliers and retailers collaborate to curate thoughtful, meaningful assortments.

It is business that wins with customer service, from the face-to-face experiences provided by the best brick-and-mortar establishments to the convenient interface enabled by digital media.

It is a business that still solves problems and delights people.

Certainly, the pathways to successful housewares retailing have undergone so much change, some of it quite radical, during the past 30 years.

How you exchange information. How you design. How you source. How you sell. How you promote. How you merchandise. How you accomplish many more objectives.

Even how you dress for work.

Rock Steady

Yes, the housewares business has a much different look than it did when the first edition of HomeWorld Business landed on retailers’ desks in 1989.

Looks can be deceiving. The principles underpinning housewares business success have remained rock steady.

What a difference 30 years makes?

Maybe not as much as you think.


On behalf of co-founders and co-publishers Dave Palcek and Cyndi Evans and the entire HomeWorld Business team, thanks to the housewares industry for letting us into your business the past 30 years.