Kim Kimbriel, The Container Store, Kitchen and Food Storage Buyer

The July 23 issue of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® features the 19th annual Impact Merchants special report. Housewares suppliers, representing the categories that HomeWorld covers, once again were asked to nominate buyers and merchandisers believed to have made a significant impact during the past year.

The selection of the 19 Impact Merchant winners is not intended as a definitive list of the best merchants in housewares retailing. Votes went to several more merchandisers than those featured. This year’s honorees represent buyers in given categories that received the majority of votes by vendors polled.

Voters were asked to give added weight to merchandising creativity, trend and marketing astuteness, attention to detail, openness to risk, flexibility, relationship building and the ability to deliver a profitable program for both the vendors and retailer while providing value to consumers. One thing this year’s Impact Merchants share is a vote of respect by their vendors. In today’s unpredictable retail environment, that vote really counts.

Kim Kimbriel, The Container Store, Kitchen and Food Storage Buyer

As a buyer at The Container Store for nearly 20 years, Kim Kimbriel has certainly seen her share of change in the housewares and retail industry. However, it is her steadfast commitment to her business relationships and guidance in the wake of change that has made her a HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® 2018 Impact Merchant.

According to kitchenware and organization vendors, longstanding successful partnerships with Kimbriel are fueled by her established experience and willingness to work together collaboratively.

One vendor noted that in a time of SKU rationalization and changes within The Container Store’s merchandising strategies, Kimbriel has worked hard to ensure brand positioning stays top of mind. In the past year, Kimbriel has changed how The Container Store typically operates and has been willing to take significant risks with expanding a brand’s assortment and how they go to market, one vendor said.

“This has resulted in The Container Store launching our items earlier, even, at times, before the rest of the marketplace, and adding a significant number of items to their assortment for an even more robust catalog,” said one vendor.

In addition, Kimbriel is also open to new ideas, campaigns and innovations that bring attention to housewares brands both in-store and online, which can be considered one of the key factors in The Container Store’s success as of late. The store recently unveiled its new flagship in Dallas that it has deemed its next generation store, a concept the retailer is testing that features technology to allow customers to integrate its in-store and online presence, as a way to bridge the gap between both sides of its retail business.

The technology, for example, enables customers to upload and describe photos of their organizational challenge and set-up an in-store appointment with an organizational expert.

2018 HomeWorld Business Impact Merchants (click on name for profile):