The Cookware Company’s GreenPan brand pioneered the ceramic non-stick cookware coating when it launched in 2007. As the company expands its cookware presence, this year the big news for the company was a licensing agreement with OXO to develop a cookware assortment.
In a recent interview with CEO Wim De Veirman, HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® learned how the company went from its roots as an OEM supplier to a recognized cookware brand, and a company continuing to build its industry presence through licensing, technology and design.
HomeWorld Business: What led to the development of GreenPan and Thermolon ceramic non-stick coating?
Wim De Veirman: In 2005-2006 we believed we could do something different. We built a factory with European values and invested in R&D and new technologies. We developed the first dishwasher-safe hard-anodized cookware, and we sold millions of pieces. It’s how we came in contact with HSN and Todd English [the celebrity chef spokesperson for GreenPan cookware on HSN].
In 2005-2006 also, there was a lot of talk about PTFE coatings and PFOA. We decided to see if we could find a PTFE-free coating. We partnered with Thermolon (a South Korean company) that had created a ceramic coating for fire protection. We thought if we could make it non-stick and apply it to cookware, we would really have something.
HWB: Once you had the technology in place, what was the next step for bringing GreenPan to market?
Wim De Veirman: We chose to roll out worldwide from day one. In the U.S., we decided to work with HSN and created an exclusive deal for two years. It was great business for HSN and great for us. They were able to tell the story to the whole world of what ceramic [non-stick coating] was. It would not have sold like that if it was just on store shelves.
HWB: Following the success of GreenPan, how have you continued to grow your business and The Cookware Company brand?
Wim De Veirman: GreenPan is our design entry. We’ve also added GreenLife, which is superb quality but has slightly less features and is aggressively priced. It’s impossible for one brand to cover from gourmet to mass market. For GreenPan we have also introduced bakeware.
We have also developed some strategic licenses, but we have not become brand collectors. We see where there are gaps in the market and we react to those.
[The Cookware Company has a Fiesta-branded cookware program, and this year has added country singer and Food Network host of Trisha’s Southern Kitchen Trisha Yearwood to its licensing roster. Most recently, the company inked a deal with OXO for OXO Good Grips cookware.]
HWB: How did the licensing partnership with OXO come about and what will this collaboration include?
Wim De Veirman: We talked with OXO for three years. Eight months ago, the time was right. OXO is a great brand and has a huge customer base. It is a brand that has a story to tell to the consumer. We have a lot of knowledge that goes beyond coated aluminum. The OXO brand has access to those technologies and we wanted to bring it forward with them.
[OXO cookware collections include triply clad stainless steel and hard-anodized cookware. Non-stick cookware in the OXO collection features a PFOA-free traditional non-stick coating. OXO cookware begins shipping this fall.]