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.
Jayme Smaldone, Mighty Mug, CEO
Player’s Credentials: Jayme Smaldone is the founder and CEO of New Jersey-based Mighty Mug, creator and marketer of a line of coffee and travel mugs that automatically grip to tables or desks when bumped and lift naturally without clinging to the surface. With more than 3 million units sold, Mighty Mug has generated more than a quarter billion media impressions. Smaldone is also an executive at Alfay Designs, headed by his father and industry veteran Al Smaldone. Alfay designs and distributes a wide array of kitchenware, including Farberware-licensed products.
What To Watch: Smaldone, representing a new generation of housewares entrepreneurs keyed to the needs of today’s generational lifestyles and needs, has positioned Mighty Mug as a platform for innovative, patented housewares development.
For the past six months, Smaldone has spearheaded an effort to raise awareness of an archaic, yet ongoing, mail subsidy that gives foreign companies, including Chinese manufacturers, a major factory-to-consumer mailing cost advantage over domestic suppliers and retailers. Coverage of his work to level the playing field for American businesses has been featured in Bloomberg, Planet Money, C-Span and The Wall Street Journal.
Smaldone was recently appointed to the International Housewares Association’s Government Affairs Committee in part because of his efforts addressing the mail subsidy.
Perspective: “As e-commerce sales continue to rise, the ability for brands and the major e-commerce platforms to police knockoffs and counterfeits will continue to grow in importance. With retailers going factory direct for years, and now e-commerce allowing factories to go consumer direct, we need to innovate to gain market share and make a healthy profit. For us, our goal is to make something amazing that customers gladly will pay more than a commoditized item. While I believe the retail landscape will be drastically different 10 years from now, a great product will always be a great product,” said Smaldone.
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