The start of the new decade will be a monumental time for the International Housewares Association as the organization hosts the first iteration of The Inspired Home Show, the trade event formerly known as the International Home + Housewares Show. Derek Miller, president of the IHA, offered insight on the event and what new experiences lie ahead for attendees.
HomeWorld Business: As The InspiredHome Show launches in 2020, please remind the industry as to why the IHA felt the name change was necessary?
Derek Miller: The International Home + Housewares Show was rebranded to The Inspired Home Show to better reflect the realities in today’s marketplace. In the early 2000s, price was the determining sales factor. We then saw functionality with design become increasingly important. And now, as lifestyle is the next step in the evolution, we will be out in front of this movement. After all, if the best-designed product found at the right price does not fit within the lifestyle of the targeted consumer, a sale will not be made.
HWB: What is the key message the IHA is sharing with attendees and vendors about the rebranding?
DM: Through our consumer engagement program— TheInspiredHome.com—the IHA has been actively promoting lifestyle for several years. Next March, The Inspired Home Show will bring the importance of lifestyle to the forefront.
Today’s consumer is looking to build a personal brand and a lifestyle that home and housewares products have to fit into. Many of these consumers are taking their cues from influencers— both retail brand influencers and social media influencers. In order to win the consumer, retailers must recognize this attitude and work toward helping consumers develop that lifestyle that they crave. The reimagined show will help retailers understand how design and function fit into their customers’ lifestyles and find ways to inspire those consumers to purchase products that complement their lifestyles.
HWB: What will be the most noticeable differences/new features to attendees at the 2020 show?
DM: The show will continue to feature a diverse assortment of products showcased in five expos: Dine + Décor featuring tabletop, cookware, bakeware and home décor; Clean + Contain featuring cleaning, organization and clothing care items; Wired + Well featuring home, kitchen, health and personal care electrics; Discover Design featuring design-driven products from all show categories; and International Sourcing featuring value-priced products from China and Taiwan.
To help retailers think about products and lifestyles, we have created some new show features and experiences and have enhanced others. Several special exhibits will move to new locations and have been reimagined to better align with the consumer lifestyle vision. Our IHA Global Innovation Awards (gia) for Product Design and Discover Design displays will move to a more prominent centralized area in At The Show the Grand Concourse Lobby of the North Building and will feature all finalists and winners rather than photos. The IHA Student Design Competition is being brought under the gia umbrella and the display also moves to the Grand Concourse Lobby. Our partnership with Pantone continues and the ColorWatch by Pantone exhibit will move to Level 2.5 of the Grand Concourse to highlight the on-trend, color-coordinated vignettes of consumer living that are curated for that space.
With the special exhibits moving from the Hall of Global Innovation in the Lakeside Center, we are pairing the IHA Smart Home Pavilion with the Inventors’ Corner and Inventors Revue. We are also developing trend-driven product areas so that retailers can marry the consumer trend insights from our educational program with the products that fulfill those trends.
HWB: Has the rebranding of the show opened any new doors for the IHA or attracted retailers and/or product suppliers that previously had not attended the Housewares Show?
DM: Certainly, we are seeing new retailers and new product suppliers sign up for the show— every year we welcome at least 350 new product suppliers and thousands of first-time retail attendees. This year will be no different.
HWB: What steps is the IHA taking to further enhance media coverage of the show?
DM: As social media is the new wave of media coverage, influencers are very important to the show and informing consumers about the new products. Again for Influencer Conference, an educational and networking event for home and lifestyle influencers, on Friday, March 13, before the show opens. We are expecting approximately 300 influencers to join us for this conference and then stay for the show.