GARDEN CITY, NY— Following its acquisition of Copco last year, Lifetime Brands has aimed to refresh and position the brand’s housewares assortments with a focus on quality design as it expands retail distribution. For Copco’s tea oriented collection, Lifetime sees an opportunity to capitalize on the consumer looking to enhance their tea making experience.
Some of Copco’s new tea accessory introductions, which will be rolling out in the coming weeks and through early 2018, are reflective of the approach Lifetime has taken to revitalize the longstanding brand, said Tim Feeney, managing director of pantryware, cookware and bakeware, Lifetime Brands.
“What we tried to do is take Copco back to its roots. The brand didn’t have placement at national, department and big box stores in a long time. Millennials want quality now, they want to go online and see five-star reviews. So we have taken the products up from $19.99 to $24.99 pricepoints to where NPD says the gap is from $30 to $50.”
With a quality focus in mind, he said the company has revamped the brand’s entire line, adding quality-driven features. Enhancements for the line’s tea kettles include die-cast handles, wide handles and enamel on steel bodies. These features, added Feeney, are designed to appeal to Lifetime’s customers, including department stores, big box and independents.
“Pricepoints under $19.99 is slowing down and business is growing between $29 and $49. Customers see it, buyers see it and they are trying to capitalize on that trend,” said Feeney.
Feeney stated that this focus on quality design is also important to its online partners, such as Amazon. An online platform offers consumers product reviews on quality, he noted, which are an important factor for younger consumers shopping for housewares.
Some of the newest tea kettles that will soon start to ship include the 2-quart Arc tea kettle, which has a porcelain enamel on steel finish. The kettle has a one-hand trigger operation that lifts the whistle when the water is boiled and ready to pour. The Arc tea kettle has a suggested retail price of $29.99.
A 2-quart beaded enamel on steel tea kettle also has a durable porcelain enamel on steel finish and features beading details on the knob and spout. It also has an open-handle design to make for easy pouring, said the company. It has a suggested retail price of $39.99.
“Tea is an experience and it is making a comeback. A lot of it is from the infusion of tea as well as the popularity of portable tea products. The tea kettle business is cyclical and is bouncing back,” he said.
Feeney said the company aims to leverage Copco’s tea focused assortment with consumer lifestyle preferences for the making and drinking of tea as an experience, much like making coffee with a French press.
“This next generation of coffee and tea drinkers want an experience and they want to share it with others. To share that experience you need good quality and you have to make it a fun experience as well,” he said.
With this in mind, Lifetime has also worked to elevate the design of the tea kettles, such as the beading detail, with a focus on classic colors such as red, black and white. The emphasis on colors and design is aimed to keep the brand’s kettles out on the stovetop or while entertaining.
To reenergize Copco, the key to reaching the new consumers of today has been through strategic marketing, said Feeney.
“Videos are important, especially as online gets bigger. A video explaining to consumers the specific features of what a certain tea kettle does is the key to marketing it to them. You have to show them what the product does. For the next generation it is the quality of a product and the experience it provides that is most important to them,” he said.
Lifetime has also put a heavy focus on Copco’s social media marketing campaigns to capture the attention of new consumers, as well as those that have already been aware of the brand for years.
“Copco has a big independent business, they have such strong following there. We wanted to give those consumers a quality product and then take it out to the department store and big box stores, almost like a grassroots effort,” he said.
Some of the new Copco tea kettles will be rolling out to independent stores this fall and then out to wider mass distribution in early 2018 into spring.