Welcome to day three of the 2015 International Home + Housewares Show.
There is still plenty of time until the final bell rings tomorrow at 3 p.m. to see a lot more along the aisles at McCormick Place.
The beauty about this show every year— about the entire housewares industry, actually— is that it gives the little guy a puncher’s chance against the heavyweights.
Rules Of Engagement
Sure, bigger, veteran vendors have a huge advantage in resources and experience when it comes to serving up the new goods most likely to land on retailer wish lists for the back half.
But the odds are good that, if you look closely, the next big idea could be in a 10-by-10 booth of a newcomer that doesn’t know— or care— about the rules of engagement enforced by today’s top retailers.
Established brands and suppliers have earned their share of the spotlight. Buyers will be drawn by such big-name developments as Oxo’s long-anticipated move into electrics and the pending revival of Paula Deen as a front-line kitchenware brand.
But this is a marketplace that rewards industrious buyers who make the effort to look where few others venture.
On one hand, it has become more difficult for unseasoned entrepreneurs to crack the consolidated mainstream retail code.
On the other hand, crowdfunding and boundary-less digital merchandising have grown into serious outlets for inventive, determined upstarts that can’t get the time of day from traditional buying channels.
In this day of impersonal digital chatter, this show gives everyone a chance for good, old-fashioned face time that can sway buyers to consider something they had no inkling of considering when they walked through the doors.
Whichever side of the four-day show debate you lean to, there is no arguing the extra day offers an overtime shopping opportunity for retail buyers. Whether they use that time and how they use it are key questions.
It’s not unusual for retailers to fill their appointment schedules at the show with the usual suspects. But there is so much more to see along the aisles at McCormick Place.
Leaving some time to explore for those little guys that have to punch a bit harder to make anyone’s wish list could turn up some surprising contenders.
The final bell rings tomorrow at 3 p.m. What are you waiting for?