Katrina Helmkamp, Lenox Corporation

lenox katrina helmkampThe August 14 edition of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® revealed the 12th 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.

Katrina Helmkamp, Lenox Corporation, CEO

PLAYER’S CREDENTIALS: Katrina Helmkamp, appointed Lenox Corporation CEO in November 2016, has brought to her position product development experience, specializing in work with industries with multiple brands. Prior to joining Lenox, Helmkamp was CEO of the sewing machine company SVP Worldwide, home of the Singer, Husqvarna Viking and Pfaff brands. Prior to that, she was svp/Whirlpool Corporation.

WHAT TO WATCH: “I am comfortable working in industries and categories that have multiple brands and multiple sales channels. I am fortunate in this position, with Lenox, to have such strong brands to be working with,” said Helmkamp. Lenox Corporation markets its tabletop and housewares primarily under the Lenox, Gorham, Dansk, and Reed & Barton brands.

“I have a real passion for product development,” added Helmkamp, noting that she was in charge of North American product development at Whirlpool. During her time at SVP Worldwide, the company ramped up product innovation, which is what drove a lot of growth for the company under her watch.

Another element that Helmkamp has brought to her role is her passion for understanding consumers and their shopping behaviors. She noted, “That’s an area that I would like to see Lenox take even more of a leadership position and do some direct consumer work that we could use with Lenox, but also that we could share with our retail partners.” One step in achieving this is to delve deeper into the decision-making process of younger consumers through “shop alongs,” or working shoulder to shoulder with some consumers as they go through the research experience.

Helmkamp also said that what she likes about her role in the tabletop category is that, “Our category allows people to express their own personal style and that it supports entertaining. That is an area that will still have growth.”

PERSPECTIVE: “Even with younger consumers, regardless of whether they are cooking for themselves or having Blue Apron delivered, I think they still do care about entertaining. They may change some of the ways they entertain, but I think there’s just as much interest in it, and food presentation,” said Helmkamp.

2018 HomeWorld Business Players (click on name for profile):