The August 14 edition of HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® revealed the 12th 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.
Rob Kay, Filament Brands, Chairman and CEO
PLAYER’S CREDENTIALS: Rob Kay brings more than 20 years of experience building and running companies to his role as CEO and chairman of Filament Brands. His private equity firm, Centre Partners, acquired Filament Brands (then known as Taylor Precision Products) in 2012 from Homedics and has since expanded the company’s presence in various housewares categories.
One significant acquisition was Chef’n in 2014. By bringing in the innovative, design-driven kitchenware manufacturer, Kay has leveraged that company’s strengths to launch RBT, a higher-end line under Metrokane’s Rabbit brand, as well as launch new in-house brands, such as Mako and D.stil.
With a diverse housewares brand portfolio that also includes Rabbit, Houdini, Vibe, Taylor Kitchen, Taylor Bath, Taylor Weather, Springfield, Salter and EatSmart, Kay recently developed the company’s new corporate identity, Filament Brands. Kay said the rebranding represents the coming together of all of the company’s brands with the underlying belief that collectively it can do better.
WHAT TO WATCH: With Kay leading the way, Filament continues to pursue its goal to expand and grow its reach within the housewares industry in order to cater to customers at various stages of their lives and in all demographics. Under Kay’s direction, the company takes an integrated approach to new product concepts by including team members within marketing, industrial design, engineering, sales and customer service. This strategy, he said, is to help Filament offer consumers the experiences they want, to serve the consumer and retailer with innovation, and to develop products that meet style preferences across the spectrum of consumer tastes.
PERSPECTIVE: “Consumers are driving our thoughtful, yet fast-paced innovation. They are leading a shift in purchase behaviors such as seeking a demand for quality with lower purchase prices. Consumers are communicating their desire for customized looks, driving a do-it-yourself entertaining culture, and making natural choices for the betterment of health and wellness,” said Kay. “This approach in customer centricity is reflected in our recent introductions of brands targeted at entry-level, trend-forward consumers including Mako wine accessories and barware, and D.stil reusable water bottles and thermals, built with hydration with a purpose at their core. Additionally, our introduction of RBT as a thoughtfully designed line, refresh of Rabbit as the leading wine and barware option for everyday entertaining, and rebranding of the Taylor line reflects this approach.”
2018 HomeWorld Business Players (click on name for profile):
- Katrina Helmkamp, Lenox Corporation
- Terry Carlson, Lasko Products
- Gilles Gosselin, Atlantic Promotions/Starfrit
- Brendan Proctor, Lidl U.S.
- John Mackey, Whole Foods Market
- Arjen Linders, Philips North America
- Mike George, QVC
- Rob Kay, Filament Brands
- Marc Lore, Walmart
- Kurt Jovais, Midea America Corp.
- Liz Zadro, Zadro Products
- Bradley Smith, Cheyenne Products
- Larry Witt, Oxo
- Lori Gonzalez, Twin-Star
- Bobby Griggs, Hammer Stahl
- Tony Curtis-Wellings, Faraday’s
- Brett Bradshaw & Robert Michelson, Bradshaw
- Rick Carey, Metal Ware