the fridge and even plan your grocery shopping apps according to what you still have stored. And you can also control cooking times to have food ready for when you get home – amazing!

During your time in the housewares industry, which retailers have impressed you most? I can mention quite a lot here... especially because each of them has something unique that makes us excited and passionate to work with them. Some examples include Lakeland, who were one of our first customers in the UK when we established our base here in 2016, and still today we have an excellent rapport with them. Emporium Cookshop was always one of our main

partners in the UK and it’s a pleasure to work side by side with them. Department stores Brown Thomas and Arnotts in Dublin always display our products extremely well. Ulster Stores in Northern Ireland worked closely with us on our 2017 summer lines, and Fenwick have also believed in our brand and concept since the very beginning. New partners such as Dawsons, Lawsons and

Harts of Stur are all performing incredibly well, and we have been working with them. Upstairs Downstairs cookshop has also created an impact, especially with our partnership with them for summer festivals. I’m positively impressed with Blue Diamond garden centre group as well, and we have already cemented our plans with them for 2019.

What’s the biggest challenge and opportunity facing housewares retailers? The biggest challenge is to adapt the business in this internet era. It doesn't mean that all businesses have to turn completely to a dedicated online offering, but it is a case of how they use this channel to create interesting content for their customers. Of course, there has been a huge movement

towards online purchases since the beginning of the 2000s, which today is stronger than ever. However, there are still plenty of opportunities in-store. In my opinion the main opportunity is to

transform stores into a much more pleasant place to spend time in. Garden centres are doing a great job, especially by creating in-store coffee areas. That’s probably the busiest part of the store - and people will always buy something on the way through that catches their attention. It doesn't matter if it’s launched online as well and maybe cheaper – it’s that impulse purchase.

Retailers that offer a combination of great quality and distinctive products with interesting offers in- store will always have guaranteed custom.

What’s the biggest challenge facing housewares suppliers? Brexit is by far the most challenging aspect for suppliers (and for retailers who purchase directly from factories overseas). There is also the challenge of trying to find a way

for new trends and innovations to keep their lifecycle for as long as possible. Globalisation makes the world a smaller, faster moving place and many new innovations will only stay relevant for months - not even a year - so suppliers have to bring new ideas on board much more often than in previous years.

And the biggest opportunity? There are always ways that suppliers can improve their service to offer even more value to customers. At Tramontina, we constantly look for ways to improve our service. We recently moved our warehousing from Germany to the UK, which means quicker delivery times, a reduction in some costs and more flexibility across the board.

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen since you joined the housewares industry? I joined during the financial crisis of 2007/8. However, I was working with countries that were not affected by it as much as others. When we established Tramontina UK in 2016, Brexit was being voted on and since then there’s been a lot of uncertainty and, of course, we’ve seen some of the biggest names in the high street struggling to survive. My conclusion is that Brexit brought (and will still

bring) the biggest change in the industry. I’m not saying necessarily in a negative way though, because I believe that a period of turbulent years is usually followed by a more prosperous period.

What one change would you like to see in the housewares industry? I’d like to see the industry being much more selective in terms of quality. Our sector is very closely related to food and there is the obvious correlation between these two sectors. But sadly, despite a growth in the move towards more home cooking and baking, we are still sadly lagging behind some of our neighbours and rely too heavily


Tramontina's Original Jumbo Steak Knife and Fork

on the ‘ready-meal’ culture. For countries such as France, Italy, Spain and

Portugal, it is instilled in their culture to bake their own bread and cook all meals from scratch. The UK is, of course, moving towards this culture but not quickly enough! When more emphasis is put on home cooking, then the demand for kitchen tools, gadgets and appliances grows. If the ready-meal culture continues to be widely promoted, then there is little we can do to increase sales in the housewares industry - online or in-store. Attitudes need to change.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the housewares industry? First, devote a lot of time to understanding the market and the retailers. Each retailer has different needs and each area of the country has different tastes. As far as your team goes, be sure you’re

surrounded by people that are ready to pull their sleeves up and believe in you, in your ideas and in the brand concept. In turn, retailers will benefit from this, and it will go a long way to cementing an enduring rapport with them. If you are customer- driven, then the rest will fall into place.

Five years ago this month in Housewares Magazine…

• John Lewis released its first ever annual retail report, ‘How We Shop, Live and Look’. Based on a year’s worth of the department store group’s sales data, findings revealed a year-on-year sales increase of 16% across the cookshop and small electricals departments. Star performers included sous vide equipment (up 44%), food mixers (up 62%), bread makers (up 29%), bean-to-cup coffee machines (up 40%), tea infusers and kettles (up 69%) and camembert bakers (up 169%).

• Emma Bridgewater half-pint Heart mugs, Scanpan Classic 3 Stage knife sharpeners, Dexam Rice Cubes and The DRH Collection Clare Mackie soup mugs were the best-selling housewares products at Jarrold in Norwich, The Kitchen Range in West Wickham, Bentalls in Kingston and Cooks & Kitchens in Darlington respectively.

• Argos unveiled the first of six digital concept stores at 189 Old Street in London that aimed to ‘redefine the role of a store for a digital

future’. The new shops offered a 60-second Fast Track collection service for customers purchasing goods online or via mobile devices.

• Suppliers KitchenCraft, Horwood, Robert Welch Designs, ICTC and KitchenAid topped the categories of kitchenware & bakeware, cookware, kitchen knives, tabletop and small electricals respectively in Housewares Magazine’s annual Best of Best Sellers report for 2013.

• Brabantia announced that the hand-crafted Feathers design by Netherlands-based Pauline Bogaards was the winner of its 2013 ‘Pimp Our Print’ (POP) international design competition. The contest, which invited entrants to submit designs suitable for Brabantia’s kitchen canister range, attracted 2,800 entries.

Source: Housewares Magazine November/December 2013

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