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.
Lance Hood, Progressive International, President
PLAYER’S CREDENTIALS: Lance Hood was hired in 2012 as the vp/marketing and was then promoted to vp/sales and marketing in 2014. He took the helm as president of Progressive in 2017. At the time, Progressive distributed all products, regardless of the trade channel or pricepoint, under the Progressive brand name. Upon his arrival, Hood noted that there was a need to differentiate product lines and pricepoints between trade channels, in order to not only sustain the business in a down-trending market but to also revitalize it and drive growth.
He led a restructuring of the company’s products, planning a good, better and best brand strategy, launching PL8 in 2014 to serve a higher-end demographic. In 2015, existing Progressive products were re-branded as Prep Solutions for the mass market and Prepworks for mid-tier and independent retailers. In 2016, Hood oversaw the launch of ProKeepers, a line of dry storage goods, and most recently launched a line of 40 food storage SKU’s under the brand Snaplock by Progressive.
WHAT TO WATCH: Hood’s vision to bring differentiation to Progressive’s product portfolio has resulted in brands that are fresh, market relevant and more attractive to the buyer. By offering three distinct brands with multi-level pricepoints, it allows Progressive’s buyers to purchase what is right for their consumers with regard to design, function and price.
For example, by mapping price and limiting PL8’s distribution, Progressive is able to provide its customers with items that are protected from price erosion and over-exposure. Prepworks and Prep Solutions cater to the needs of retailers selling to middle America as well as the evolving value shopper. Having multiple brands has allowed the company to create and fulfill strong program opportunities it might not have had otherwise, including overseas.
Continuing its momentum, Hood will oversee the company as it expands into new categories, with additional sub-brands launching under PL8, Prepworks, Prep Solutions and Snaplock in the near future.
PERSPECTIVE: “The changes we are seeing in the retail landscape are far from over, our once semi-predictable brick and mortar customer base continues to be challenged by the constantly evolving world of online sales,” said Hood. “Globally and nationally, factory-direct sales are a threat to the branded business. Product life cycles have grown shorter due to online exposure and/or knock-off products. Price increases whether they are driven by labor costs, currency fluctuation or in the form of tariffs will continue to affect profits in our segment. No doubt, challenges are prevalent but there are still many opportunities to be had by those aggressively seeking them. Progressive intends to continue to do just that.”
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