Kris Malkoski is settling into her new role as World Kitchen’s president, global business, and chief commercial officer, gearing up the company’s portfolio of housewares brands for global growth. That roster includes established housewares brands such as Pyrex, CorningWare, Corelle, Snapware, Baker’s Secret and Chicago Cutlery.
In an interview with HOMEWORLD BUSINESS®, Malkoski, who was recently promoted from president, North America and chief innovation officer for World Kitchen, discusses her new role, the consumer, digital marketing and future growth plans.
HomeWorld Business: Since joining World Kitchen in 2012, can you describe how the brands have evolved under your leadership?
Kris Malkoski: I have seen an increase in our innovation launches, which has led to share and point of sale growth since I’ve joined World Kitchen. Some of our launches have included CW by CorningWare, Vintage Charm Inspired by Pyrex, Boutique by Corelle, Snapware Total Solutions glass and plastic food storage, Pyrex decorated storage, Corelle cast aluminum cookware, Chicago Cutlery Insignia and West Town knife block sets, colored metal bakeware for Baker’s Secret and, most recently, Pyrex gadgets.
Importantly, we’ve leveraged synergies between our brands. A great example of this is where we use Pyrex glass vessels with our Snapware Total Solutions lids to drive awareness and sales. With Pyrex’s 100-plus years of delivering confidence in the kitchen, consumers transferred this confidence into Snapware’s air-tight and leak-proof storage solutions.
HWB: Can you discuss a few key strategies as you focus on the development and implementation of digital marketing, social media, mobile and e-commerce platforms?
KM: We are seeing that our target consumers, regardless of where they live, are more similar than different around the world. Our users understand that our brands represent a “better value” and are willing to pay for this benefit. Our strategy is to create features and benefits through new product innovation that appeal globally to potential purchasers.
Millennials are changing the profile of what is needed in preparing and eating a meal. They are more interested in experimenting with global cuisines and want their meals easy and quick to assemble and easy to take on-the-go. As Millennial purchasing power surpasses Boomers, we are making sure we are addressing their needs in the kitchen.
HWB: Do you feel the launch of the Vintage Charm inspired by Pyrex line can help the brand remain relevant to a younger generation?
KM: We added this new brand to expand our portfolio as a way to connect with Millennials who are seeking vintage-inspired pieces that add flair to their home décor and entertaining experience. I do feel this brand, along with the iconic Pyrex brand, will remain relevant to younger generations. There are countless examples in today’s marketplace of nostalgic design and long-standing brand names making a comeback with consumers and especially with the Millennial. Capturing that classic “vintage look” is very much in style now.
HWB: Have you seen positive feedback from this more direct digital and social marketing approach to engaging retail customers and consumers?
KM: Reaching consumers through the Internet is what the future of connecting with consumers is all about. As we look at industry reports, we see that 85% of all purchases made by Millennials are influenced by “the cloud.”
Whether she is sitting at home pinning a post on Pinterest, adding her next experience via Instagram or searching for more information as she stands in the store aisle, our target audience is learning more about our brands than consumers historically could. Because of the rich equities our brands have with consumers, we are able to use the Internet to further expand our relationships with them.
HWB: What global process improvements will you seek to implement in order to support your global expansion goals?
KM: We have created a global innovation counsel to drive focus on emerging new housewares trends and accelerating new product development and launches. We are also integrating global requirements across our supply chain to enable fastest production and global product supply of our brands. This will make us more nimble in our global launches and market growth in the future.
HWB: Are there any other future growth strategies you would like to share?
KM: The Vintage Charm Inspired by Pyrex is the first of likely more things to come from World Kitchen in the nostalgia-themed category. We envision brands like CorningWare and Corelle potentially having a Vintage Charm line extension as well since, like Pyrex, both of those brands carry a similar timeless design history that consumers are seeking to find.
—LAUREN DE BELLIS