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.
Kevin Blossom, Spectrum Brands, HPC Division, VP/Sales & Marketing
PLAYER’S CREDENTIALS: When Kevin Blossom returned to Spectrum Brands two years ago to oversee the company’s appliance division, Spectrum took a “back to basics” approach that included consolidating sales and marketing functions and refocused the division’s efforts to develop products that offer high functionality at pricepoints retailers and consumers expect.
In addition, Blossom overhauled the company’s product marketing team and brought in people he said, “understand consumer products.”
WHAT TO WATCH: Since the start of 2018, Spectrum Brands has been actively shopping the appliance division, which includes the brands Black & Decker, George Foreman, Russell Hobbs and Remington, a process that as of press time was ongoing.
Blossom has been actively involved in that process, and while unable to offer much in the way of details, he told HomeWorld that he has been a part of numerous discussions with suitors of the appliance division.
Overlapping that effort has been the ongoing effort to keep the product pipeline flowing. During 2017 and 2018, several retailers have given Black & Decker added space on their shelves and products under the Russell Hobbs brand were placed on Amazon.
Blossom noted that it has been “business as usual” for him and his team with the company’s retail customers unmoved by the potential sale.
“This is something that the retailers know happens in this business and they have seen it happen before,” he said. “They know we are continuing to invest in new marketing programs to support our new product launches.”
The new appliances launched by the company over the past two years offer retailers items that better reflect each of the brands, according to Blossom, while offering new feature sets that meet the needs of today’s consumers.
PERSPECTIVE: If not for the public announcement by Spectrum in January that it was selling its appliance division, it would be near impossible to tell the division was for sale. Blossom has kept his team focused and there has been no disruption in the flow of products. Maintaining this focus will be key for the company going forward.
“I can’t overstate what a great team we have in place,” he said. “To me that’s the biggest asset we have.”
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