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

The July 17 issue of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® features the 18th 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 20 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

For Kim Kimbriel, a HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® Impact Merchant in the storage and organization category, her core principles center around communication, intuition and professionalism, she said.

“To me, to be a successful buyer, it is all about relationships. We are all focused on a mutual beneficial relationship— outside the company and inside the company. Without that, you cannot be successful,” Kimbriel said, adding that picking up the phone is a key element in developing and nurturing relationships.

Intuition is important, and “trying to anticipate what the customer wants in this changing environment; we all need to react to change and be creative to drive business to brick and mortar stores.”

Professionalism, which includes having good listening skills and keeping a sense of level headedness, is also valuable to Kimbriel.

A major accomplishment for her and her team over the past year was a re-merchandising of the kitchen area to create a destination for on-the-go products, following on the trend of mindful and thoughtful eating habits, she said. “It is a one stop shop; people can pick up their water bottle and food storage and tote that goes with it, instead of walking around to different departments.”

In addition, with customers coming to The Container Store often because they are moving and/or downsizing, the store also has incorporated space-saving designs into its assortments, such as compact dish racks, drawer organization, items that fold away easily, or otherwise help its customers organize smaller spaces.

2017 HomeWorld Business Impact Merchants (click on name for profile):