The August 17 edition of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® revealed the 15th annual “People To Watch” in housewares during the next 12 months.
Selected by HomeWorld Business editors, “People To Watch” represents 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 “People To Watch” 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.
Janet Hayes, Crate & Barrel Holdings, CEO
CREDENTIALS: Janet Hayes officially joined Crate & Barrel Holdings, Inc. on August 1 as its new CEO. A seasoned executive with over 25 years of retail experience, Hayes brings a track record of developing and repositioning brands with deep expertise in the home category.
Hayes was president of the Williams-Sonoma brand from 2013 to 2019. She directed a reposition of the Williams-Sonoma’s position as an authority for high-performance and fashionable cooking and dining tools for an emerging generation of consumers by curating key selections of premium nationally branded product complemented by an expanding assortment of exclusive Williams-Sonoma-branded goods. Hayes also presided over Williams-Sonoma’s pioneering omnichannel development, which resulted in it being among the first national retail brands to balance digital and brick-and-mortar sales. Prior to William Sonoma, Hayes was president of Pottery Barn Kids and Teen. Her career also includes positions at companies such as Nike, Gap and Macy’s.
WHAT TO WATCH: Hayes’ reputation as a brand builder suggests an intensification of Crate & Barrel’s private label strategy, already prevalent in furniture and historically a hallmark of its imported tableware and kitchenware selections. Expect even more private label development across home and housewares as Crate & Barrel, like other specialty retailers, seeks to cultivate an exclusive, design-driven, lifestyle retailing experience against e-commerce platforms that have gained even more prominence during the COVID pandemic.
The appointment of Cathy Beaudoin, former president of Amazon Fashion, to Crate & Barrel’s supervisory board shortly after Hayes was announced as CEO portends a determined move by Otto Group, holder of the Crate & Barrel, CB2, Crate and Kids and Hudson Grace brands, to scale up the group’s digital commerce, technology and marketing operations.
PERSPECTIVE: “Crate and Barrel has embraced the digital experience for customers with more than 50% of its sales already online… I am delighted to lead Crate & Barrel Holdings and its family of brands at this pivotal time in retail and work alongside an immensely talented team building on over 55 years of experience. My passion for great brands with meaningful heritage makes this an extraordinary opportunity,” said Hayes. —Peter Giannetti
2021 HomeWorld Business People To Watch (click on name for profile):