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.
Kirsten Quatromoni, HomeGoods, Buyer
Kirsten Quatromoni, buyer for HomeGoods, has been with the retailer for 23 years, and buying for the tabletop category for the past nine. Her extensive experience has translated into “gut instincts” and informs much of her buying decisions within the ever-evolving category, she told HOMEWORLD BUSINESS®.
“When I work with my vendors, I go by my gut and my history in the tabletop market as to what I feel the customer is going to vote for. It’s very gut driven knowing whether something is going to work,” she said.
Vendors within the category touted Quatromoni’s vision on trends, sense for the new and different and her taste, which allows her to make the best selections and “know what is going to work,” said one vendor.
It is this vision and commitment to the buying process that has led to Quatromoni’s recognition as a 2018 Impact Merchant.
In the time that Quatromoni has been with HomeGoods, the retailer has grown from 21 stores to more than 700. She noted that the retailer is still focused on value for its customers, and that’s something she always considers when on-boarding product.
“I feel like I have a pulse on what our customer wants, but at the end of the day it’s all about value. My relationships I have with my vendors are very important to me. It has to be a two way street. They really work with me to get me to where I need to be from a cost standpoint,” she said.
One vendor noted that Quatromoni is straightforward and simple in her process, a quality hard to find in a buyer. “She will never make you wait for an answer, or change her word. If she fights a price it’s because she will make that item successful. But, most importantly, she is an outstanding human being,” said one vendor.
According to Quatromoni, her greatest reward is all in the end result. “I love seeing what I buy sell, and then being able to go back to the supplier with that knowledge in my head to expand upon that look or feel or design or material. That’s the most rewarding, really finding something that resonates with the customer.”
2018 HomeWorld Business Impact Merchants (click on name for profile):
- Kirsten Quatromoni, HomeGoods
- Robert Wilburn, The Home Depot
- Dan Weiland, Menards
- Chris Etheridge, Conn’s
- Kevin Lubelczyk, Wayfair
- Cory Ellis, Kroger
- Kim Kimbriel, The Container Store
- Bill Nadel, Bed Bath & Beyond
- Becky Blake, Walmart
- Ashlee Cook, Ulta Beauty
- Amy Neuman, Kohl’s
- Michael Wolpert, Macy’s
- Harry Jacobs, HomeGoods
- LaToya Jackson, At Home
- Zoran Todorovic, Walmart
- Joe Hufford, J.L. Hufford
- Brittany Aluce, Kohl’s
- Allison McPartland, Wayfair
- Chris Gridley, DD’s Discounts