NEWPORT BEACH, CA— UT Brands, home to FunWares, KidsFunwares and Barbuzzo, has reorganized its portfolio of brands to capitalize on the shifting consumer interest in home goods that while useful, also have a strong gifting opportunity to them as well.
The reorganization was spearheaded by Rob Kushner, who was named president and CEO of the company last July. Kushner previously served as managing director of UT Brands and purchased the remaining shares from past president, Michael Stoll.
HOMEWORLD BUSINESS® spoke with Kushner about the reorganization and some of the changes the industry can expect to see at the upcoming Inspired Home Show.
According to Kushner, the company is shifting towards a more giftable approach to its assortment in an effort to make the products feel more unique to consumers purchasing.
“This shift is a big opportunity for us to reach the consumer in a fresh way,” said Kushner. “Our customers and their consumers want more giftable items that have a fresh look and feel. Many are tired of seeing the same goods over and over again, leaving them feeling that there is not much of a hunt anymore and that the chances are good the gift recipient has seen it before.”
Kushner and UT Brands have reorganized its categories and its in-house processes to make this shift happen. With Kushner taking the helm, he is bringing a more coordinated approach between its design development and sales teams, as he will oversee both.
In addition, UT Brands has expanded the Funwares brand, splitting it off from Barbuzzo and have also lightened its approach to Barbuzzo, which Kushner said was more masculine by nature.
“Now with FunWares, we are able to focus more on our proprietary designs, something that our customers have been asking for. We are moving out of high-end kitchen gadgets with the line and our designs will be more focused on gifting qualities and features. With FunWares, our focus will be all about kitchen kitsch and fun housewares,” he said.
An example of this will be the latest iteration of its dinosaur-themed taco holders, which have been moved under the FunWares brand. The items will now sport colorful graphics to update the more simple dinosaur outline of the first releases. The company has also expanded the line to include a similar Unicorn holder, and the Weeniesaurus, designed to hold hot dogs.
Other fresh introductions include new Cherry Red ropecandy-like silicone straws, guitar-themed barbecue accessories and the new Spinmallow, a battery-operated marshmallow roaster.
The company said it will also continue to focus growing its Kids Funwares brand which encompasses the Me Time and Discovery Channel-licensed range of kid-friendly meal time sets.
Barbuzzo, said Kushner, has gotten a refresh of its own, with more of a lightened up, bar and cocktail lifestyle approach versus the narrow masculine motifs it previously held.
With Barbuzzo, UT Brands has made it a bit more interactive with a wider appeal, to include bar and cocktail accessories that have appeal to gift recipients of various tastes and styles.
The packaging for the brands have also all been given an update, with a cleaner, more modern approach.