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.
Kristi Forbes, Forty One Madison, Director
PLAYER’S CREDENTIALS: “It all started at AmericasMart 25 years ago,” Kristi Forbes told HOMEWORLD BUSINESS®of her beginnings in the housewares industry. It was there that Forbes would hone her expertise in several avenues, including leasing, retailing programs, publishing, marketing and more. Then, in 2017, Forbes was named to her current position as director of Forty One Madison in New York.
“I always told myself if I left it would have to be for something very special and that is exactly what happened when the position at Forty One Madison became available,” she said. “I have been coming to Forty One Madison for nine years now, it truly was my favorite show to attend, and now I am working here. I feel very fortunate to be a part of the Rudin Management family, especially at this time in my career, it is perfect timing.”
WHAT TO WATCH: Forty One Madison is the destination for the tabletop industry in terms of creating business and providing inspiration for retailers, designers and the hospitality industry, Forbes said, where some of the most iconic brands in the industry live.
“I plan to continue to build on that foundation. We speak a lot about experience and events. We are working on creating in-between market programs for the building to be more inclusive of hospitality professionals and interior designers. We are also co-sponsoring events with some of the showrooms within Forty One Madison to build and offer retailer programs,” she said.
PERSPECTIVE: “The tabletop industry has changed tremendously in recent years. Casual living and dining has become increasingly prevalent and so many manufacturers are responding to that demand. Brands have to evolve to remain relevant. This is an exciting time for tabletop, people love to entertain and social media has created a huge opportunity to inspire, educate and engage with younger generations,” Forbes said.
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