The August 20 edition of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® revealed the 13th annual “Players,” people to watch in housewares during the next 12 months.
Selected by HomeWorld Business editors, the Players represent a cross section of a diverse housewares business— from established to newly installed company leaders; from large to small operations, from big-box to specialty retailers; from trade show managers to celebrity endorsers.
The HomeWorld Players are in the spotlight not only for how they might impact their respective organizations in the coming months, but also for how they might impact the overall housewares business.
David Whitley, True Brands, President and CEO
PLAYER’S CREDENTIALS: Recently named president and CEO of barware supplier True Brands, David Whitley brings years of executive experience across many business disciplines including operations, sales, finance, marketing and strategic planning. In his most recent experience as president and CEO at Global Harvest Foods, Whitley oversaw penetration and management of multiple channels including grocery, mass merchant, hardware/garden, as well as pet supply stores, all of which will serve him well as True Brands continues to expand its roster of brands.
In 2015, the company changed its name from True Fabrications as a reflection of the company’s shift into a multi-brand company. This strategy was designed to appeal to a broad range of consumer tastes and demographics.
WHAT TO WATCH: The company has been rapidly adding brands to its portfolio, which today includes ten, all focused on various demographics. For example, one of its more recent launches, Pinky Up, has taken the company beyond the bar with a focus on tea accessories. The Hello Blush brand is focused on wine, bar and lifestyle accessories designed to appeal to the fashion-forward consumer.
Meanwhile, the Viski brand of barware is designed to appeal to a more male clientele with sophisticated glassware and bar tools in a modern matte black finish. As the company has developed and acquired brands, it has evolved its focus on meeting the various needs of different consumer lifestyles. This commitment has enabled the company to become a strong partner to its retail customers, both mass and independent.
Under Whitley’s watch, the company will continue this momentum, reaching new channels and more comprehensively serving its existing ones, all while launching new ideas and products to the industry, while holding true to its commitment to price matching and no minimum order requirements.
PERSPECTIVE: “I’m brand new and just scratching the surface at True Brands, but the opportunities are vast and exciting. Our multi-brand strategy has helped us reach our main goal— to have consumers come to their retailers and asking for True Brands product. We’re a company built around innovation and creativity, so be on the lookout for some new and exciting brand launches in adjacent spaces next year,” said Whitley.
2019 HomeWorld Business Players (click on name for profile):
- Heshy Biegeleisen, Gourmia
- David Whitley, True Brands
- Marvin Ellison, Lowe’s
- Walter Lehneis, Groupe SEB USA
- Henry Liu, Cangshan Cutlery Company
- Darbie Angell, Darbie Angell
- Kevin Blossom, Spectrum Brands
- Mike Evans, Bush Industries
- Tom Neth, ThemoServ
- Jayme Smaldone, Mighty Mug
- Robert Wang, Instant Pot
- Ryan Gilchrist, Wayfair
- Davide Sereni, Luigi Bormioli/Bormioli Rocco
- Kristi Forbes, Forty One Madison
- Jean-Philippe Peugeot, Peugeot Saveurs North America
- Michelle Gass, Kohl’s
- Bob Maricich, International Market Centers
- Lance Hood, Progressive International
- Kenneth Wilkes, Corelle Brands