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Don Saller, Jokari

homeworld players sallerThe August 15 edition of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® revealed the 11th 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.

Don Saller, Jokari, CEO

PLAYER’S CREDENTIALS: Don Saller co-founded Jokari more than 30 years ago. After seven years in semi-retirement, he rejoined the company as CEO in 2015. The company was founded with a focus on product innovation, a key mission of the brand, which Saller has reignited during a housewares line expansion.

For many years, Jokari has enjoyed success developing and marketing a wide variety of kitchen gadgets and tools, as well as forming housewares licensing agreements with Disney and Warner Bros. in the 1990s. The company has also been a collaborator with retailers on how best to merchandise its kitchenware, initiating such programs as pre-stocked merchandising clip-strips.

WHAT TO WATCH: In addition to Saller’s return to the helm of Jokari, new investments have enabled the company to once again work closely with Inventionland, which develops, designs, engineers and packages products, driving a wave of new initiatives. With new equity and ownership fueling the company, as well as a reinvigorated partnership with its longtime creative collaborator, Jokari launched more than 50 new kitchenware products at this year’s International Home + Housewares Show.

Saller has also energized the company’s licensed portfolio, securing several new licensing partnerships with beverage and food related brands including Pepsi, Kellogg’s and Mountain Dew which has produced a range of kitchen tools for the brands, such as soda lid gadgets, can straws, bottle ice cube trays and breakfast-focused items. The company also broadened its reach with the launch of a line of home storage and organization products, as well as gourmet baking mixes, in partnership with Paula Deen.

PERSPECTIVE: “Our reignited partnership with Inventionland opens the door to new innovation in order to grab the consumer’s attention with creativity and recognition— both mission critical in such a highly competitive market,” said Saller.

2017 HomeWorld Business Players (click on name for profile):