ROSEMONT, IL— The recent acquisition of World Kitchen by Cornell Capital provides the former with an infusion of capital that will be used to open new selling opportunities for its portfolio of kitchenware brands while providing opportunities to expand its customer base globally, Carl Warschausky, World Kitchen CEO, told HOMEWORLD BUSINESS®.
Cornell’s acquisition earlier this month of World Kitchen is expected to close in the second quarter. Financial details were not disclosed.
Warschausky said that World Kitchen in recent years had been searching for the “right partner” that would allow the company to move forward with several new initiatives.
“Over half of our investors have been with us for more than 15 years so it’s really time for us to bring in someone new to allow us to grow our business,” he said. “A deeper level of investment is necessary and Cornell Capital is the ideal match for World Kitchen. They are focused on growth opportunities and they bring access to significant capital for investment beyond this initial acquisition.”
As World Kitchen moves forward, Warschausky said the company is pursuing a multi-pronged strategy with organic growth of World Kitchen’s current brands such as Pyrex, Corelle and CorningWare a top priority.
This will include public relations and marketing campaigns that will be similar to the effort made in 2015 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Pyrex. That campaign included an integrated marketing effort across websites, social media and mobile platforms. In addition, the company developed a product line specifically to celebrate the brand’s centennial.
“It was a fairly small investment to get it all done incrementally to what we normally do on Pyrex,” Warschausky said. “But what we got in return was approximately 22% growth that year behind those programs for a 100 year old company.”
He added that similar campaigns for Corelle and CorningWare could lead to renewed consumer attention for these legacy brands.
As part of its effort in recent years to enhance the connection with consumers, World Kitchen has also overhauled its website and expanded its presence on various social media channels.
“You want to regularly interact with
your consumers and bring rich content so that they ultimately view you as the expert in baking and dinnerware and want to purchase your products as a result of that relationship,” he said.
Today, World Kitchen has a digital library that contains thousands of photographs, how-to-videos and feedback on its products from bloggers. He said this content has also been welcomed by retailers, which uses the company’s photos and videos on their websites.
“When you have that large amount of rich content across the brands, you can be much more valuable to your partners and retailers,” Warschausky said. “Whether that is pure play or brick and click stores, we offer this to anyone who is a retailer for our brands.”
In addition to enhancing its connection with the end user, he said World Kitchen is also looking to expand its presence geographically, with several key Asia markets on the radar.
Warschausky noted that approximately one-third of World Kitchen’s sales come from Asian consumers, with Corelle leading the way. He feels there are opportunities for growth in the region in China, Shanghai and Hong Kong and that Cornell’s connections in this area of the world could expedite the company’s growth.
“With the experience Cornell brings from working in Asia, we believe those ties can open up other avenues and partnerships to growth for us in Asia,” said Warschausky. “Cornell provides us access to experts and consulting firms in several areas including marketing, product distribution and e-commerce.”
Cornell’s acquisition of World Kitchen also offers the kitchenware supplier opportunity to expand its assortment through acquisition, Warschausky said. However, he declined to offer specifics on what categories, adding that the company is focused on other initiatives.
“The goal right now is to see how fast can we move,” he said. “Once Cornell is up to speed on how we do business today and how we may be able to do things differently, that is when they can kick in with great ideas.”