Some suggest you can gauge the mood of the industry entering the International Home + Housewares Show by the number of vendor parties and special events planned at the show.
That might be a reach. But it’s sensible that business status often is reflected in the amount of dollars suppliers are willing to spend on extracurricular activities.
After-hours events at the show clearly dropped during the downturn. They have regained momentum in recent years.
So, applying this unofficial barometer of show tone and potential, the busiest slate of show parties in recent memory portends an industry feeling much better about its prospects; or at the very least an industry that embraces the extra effort required these days to stand out from the pack.
The housewares business deserves to celebrate its resilience with as much fanfare as it can muster. It is a business poised at the doorstep— and in many cases through the door— of a rebounding marketplace, despite the many obstacles tempering growth.
There is plenty of proof of the opportunity to establish deep, sturdy roots in this industry that withstands volatile business climates.
Among the many celebrations at this year’s show are milestone company anniversaries, highlighted by triple-digit veterans Wüsthof at 200 years and Trudeau and Lenox at 125 years each. Bodum is saluting its 70 years in business; Gibson its 35 years; and Tabletops Unlimited and Companion Group their 30 years.
Lest I forget, HomeWorld Business is proud to celebrate its 25th anniversary this year.
There are many others worthy of applauding for their staying power in this industry. Think about it: Virtually every company here celebrates an anniversary of some kind this year. For those just beginning— and this industry and show roll out the welcome mat each year for many newcomers— the hope to anniversary success is a potent motivator.
The hosts of all the parties and special events at the housewares show likely consider such activities meaningful costs of business in today’s competitive market. They are chances to thank customers, associates and business partners; to commemorate milestones; to laud big introductions; to raise money for charities; and more.
Whatever each company’s motivation is for inviting people in for some relaxation and fun after a busy day at the show, collectively the expanding array of parties underscores a positive outlook by the industry.
Many might view such entertaining as gratuitous and wasteful.
With so much pressure at the show on advancing business, though, a few more parties here and there might be just the tonic this industry needs.