People to Watch in 2016:
Tom Dickson

The August 17 edition of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® revealed the 10th Annual “Players,” 20 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.

Player’s Credentials: Blendtec’s Tom Dickson has long had a passion for invention. In 1975, while cleaning up some spilled wheat kernels, Dickson’s inquisitiveness drove him to revolutionize the home wheat milling industry. That was the first step that led him to developing Blendtec’s blenders, which use a square jar rather than the conventional round jar. Earlier this year, Dickson reassumed the CEO role at Blendtec, and will again lead the effort to build sales in the consumer retail market. The company’s blenders can be found in retailers ranging from warehouse clubs to specialty and gourmet housewares stores.

What To Watch: While Blendtec’s roots are firmly planted in the commercial food service segment, the company has been able to ride the popularity wave of high-end blenders from consumers willing to invest in an upscale product they feel will help them achieve a healthy lifestyle. 

To capture the attention of consumers and tout the power of its blenders, Dickson and Blendtec have utilized social media. The company’s “Will It Blend?” series on YouTube showed Dickson blending anything he could get his hands on, from iPhones and iPads to sneakers. 

“The blender category has been growing like wildfire and for us we were in the right place at the right time,” Dickson previously told HOMEWORLD BUSINESS®. “We have even more exciting things coming next year.”

But the sales enjoyed by the blender segment in recent years have slowed. Those consumers willing to trade up have made their investment, and likely won’t need a new blender for many years. How Blendtec and others respond will be key going forward.

Perspective: The job of convincing retailers and consumers that trading up when purchasing a blender was not an easy task, said Dickson. Chains such as Bed Bath & Beyond and Williams-Sonoma took the leap and consumers responded. “They could see the value in carrying a high-end blender and giving their customers a high-quality, elegant product,” Dickson said