New Tabletop Vision Starts At The Top

When the fall New York Tabletop Market kicked off earlier-than usual, several companies inside Forty One Madison had new names at the top of their executive ranks.

No fewer than seven recently appointed tabletop presidents and/or CEOs will greet buyers inside their respective showrooms, including those of Libbey, Vietri, Tervis, Villeroy & Boch, Fiskars (Waterford Wedgwood Royal Doulton), EveryWare (Anchor Hocking), and Robinson Home Products (Oneida licensee).

Fundamental Change

The special Nouveau tabletop market supplement inside the September 26, 2016, edition of HomeWorld Business presents perspectives from four of these newly appointed leaders: Ross Patterson of Robinson Home Products, Bill Foley of Libbey, Lisa Knierim of Villeroy & Boch and Rogan Donelly of Tervis.

While each is responsible for objectives specific to their respective organizations, they share the challenges of a tabletop business united by fundamental change. And they collectively are emblematic of a tabletop industry working to put on a new face. They represent a transition mandating fresh perspectives and adapted directions that balance the panache that historically has distinguished the tabletop business with the versatile fashion and utility required more fervently by today’s re-prioritized consumer core.

A look deeper into this edition of Nouveau reveals more evidence of a retail tabletop business unbound by traditional design, development and distribution patterns.

Surprising Approach

The story on Make International, among the newest showroom hosts at Forty One Madison, examines a design-house business model that strives to collaborate with different designers for an independent, individualized and often surprising approach to tableware.

In another story, the owners of Houston home furnishings superstore Kuhl-Linscomb explain how they curate their tabletop mix not just from among leading brands but also from an emerging, eclectic group of makers and artisans. Their goal: A distinctive, personal and more accessible presentation.

These are market-shifting merchandising nuances not limited to specialty retailing that need to be seriously considered and, where possible, applied by the current generation of tabletop leadership.

New Thinking

You can chalk it up to coincidence that several tabletop companies have promoted or brought in new chief executives at the same transformative moment for the industry. Or view it as even further affirmation that this is a new era for a tabletop business demanding new thinking to satisfy a new consumer.

New thinking is not the exclusive domain of incoming chief executives, although many often are unencumbered by company orthodoxy that can challenge the vision for and the commitment to change. The call has been amplified for new and veteran leaders across the tabletop business to adapt to today’s market demands or, better yet, to inspire such demands.

It starts at the top.