blog: news + information from “the home authority”

A Picture Worth a Few Hundred Words

November 18th, 2014

by Martin M. Pegler

PictureWorth (resize)Seeing is believing and seeing what a great display a shadowbox can be is almost un-believable. Grange Interiors in the Aberdeen section of Hong Kong uses simple, four-sided boxes designed by Stefano Tordiglione Design Studio. These boxes are backless and the wall can be seen through them.

The backless boxes, which allow the wall to be seen through their centers, are of assorted sizes and shapes. Although they do start at the floor and build up to be seen at eye level, they can just as easily be arranged atop a table or counter or nailed together and hung as a wall displayer.

This shadowbox arrangement found in a store that features mainly home furnishings allows the display of small accessories that could ordinarily—because of their size—be lost in the scheme of things. The simple clusters of same or go-together pieces get “featured attraction” billing in the store.

PictureWorth_1 (2) (resize)The red and white patterned pieces are complemented by the panel of red and white wallpaper (also available for sale in the store) that sets off the white chair in the foreground. The soft, neutral gray walls match the gray tones of the concrete and recycled wood floors and the crisp white outlines of the shadowboxes accentuate and highlight the wood tones.

The same sort of arrangement would make an ideal window display, and if used as individual units, the boxes can be rearranged in assorted ways—depending upon the merchandise to be displayed. Since the units are backless, they would be especially effective in open back windows where the display could also be appreciated inside the store as well as on the street.

Not a very difficult or expensive unit to make and with proper planning of sizes and shapes, they could nest when not in use.

(Photos courtesy of Stefano Tordiglione Design Studio, Hong Kong)

HYATT REGENCY CHICAGO – Downtown Chicago Luxury

November 3rd, 2014


Located in the heart of downtown just steps from the Magnificent Mile, the Hyatt Regency Chicago recently dedicated over $168 million toenhancing all aspects of their guest experience, including a welcoming lobby, engaging check-in pods and new restaurant concepts and menus.

Indulge in spacious and sophisticated guest rooms – newly renovated guest rooms feature a contemporary color scheme with contrasting warm and cool gray and range hues.

Take advantage of the Hyatt’s full-service business center offering copy, fax, and printing services along with onsite computers with high speed DSL internet access.

Enjoy a 10% discount in all F & B outlets in the hotel, excluding Stetsons Modern Steak + Sushi, by booking your room within the official show block at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. As a registered hotel guest you simply need to show your badge and room key upon receipt of the bill to receive the discount. Multiple discounts may not be used for a single bill.

If you would like to experience the new Hyatt Regency Chicago during the 2015 International Home + Housewares Show, book your hotel reservations now!

IHA Trade Mission – South Africa

October 28th, 2014

In late September IHA sponsored a trade mission to South Africa. The goal of each IHA-sponsored Trade Mission is to offer members involved in or wishing to grow their business in specific markets an opportunity to get a firm grip on the dynamics of that market and to meet the key retailers and distributors who are leaders in that market.

The South Africa Trade Mission included stops in the two key business towns, Cape Town and Johannesburg. As members learned on this trip, South Africa has a population of 52 million but only has five million tax payers. By contrast there are more than nine million people who are supported by public assistance.

Although there is a growing middle class, only a small portion of the population has the buying power to participate in the upscale sectors of the housewares market. Mission attendees were told that many of the upmarket consumers who have the buying power employ household help and often do not clean or cook for themselves. As evidence, attendees saw sections of uniforms for household workers available for sale in the cleaning and general merchandise aisles of mass market and supermarket retailers.

Retail pricing is complicated by high tariffs, with the exception of goods made in the EU, with which South African has a free trade agreement. Goods from the US, China and other non-EU countries often sell for several multiples of their US retail price.

Cape Town Retailer Focus: Yuppiechef

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Headquartered in Cape Town, Yuppiechef is an online-only retailer in its second year of operation. They offer many housewares and food items directly to the SA consumer at

The Yuppiechef “About Us” page says:

Yuppiechef was founded in 2006 by two good friends and we’re currently based at bright and bustling premises in Cape Town. We believe great kitchen tools change the way you cook and that people sitting down to eat together is a good thing. While working hard to offer a delightful online shopping experience we stop regularly to smell the roses, eat biscuits and dress up for breakfast. 

Perhaps the most interesting feature of the Yuppiechef customer interface is that each customer, with each order, receives a handwritten thank you card. With every order the staff attempts to personalize using the customer’s purchase history. All staff members write at least three cards per month to supplement the work of professional card writers and to keep each employee invested in the company customer relationships.

Other retailers and the Trade Mission met with or visited in Cape Town included: Home Etc., @Homelivingspace, Game, Mr. Price Home, Funkiline, PJ Marketing

Johannesburg Retailer Focus: Boardmans








Boardmans’ “About Us” page says:

Trust Boardmans, your home specialist store, to help you create an impression that lasts. Celebrate your world and get your home ready for any occasion with the best in kitchen, bedroom and bathroom brands. Visit our stores or new online store for the hottest seasonal trends, the widest range of international brands and great value.

Boardmans was born in 1982 as South Africa’s original homestore and was acquired in 2004 by Edcon. It has continued to evolve and boasts an impressive range of tabletop, kitchenware and home décor offering including both new and exciting brands as well as those known and trusted over many years by customers.

With 34 stores nationwide Boardmans’ customers can use any Edcon company credit as well as enjoy the benefits of the Thank U loyalty program.Go to for more information.

Other retailers and distributors we visited and/or met with in Johannesburg included: Hirsch’s, Makro, Liv’In Batterie de Cuisine, Premium Brand Housewares & Hospitality, W.G. McDonald, Rocker, Third Avenue Trading, Berzacks

Join IHA International Business Council at or contact Lori Szudarek at for more information on upcoming IHA-sponsored pavilions or Trade Missions including our Trade Mission to the UK which begins November 10, 2014 (


2015 International Home + Housewares Show Almost Sold Out

October 23rd, 2014

With less than five months to go before opening day, the 2015 International Home + Housewares Show is over 90 percent sold out, according to the International Housewares Association, the Show’s owner and operator. The Show begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 7 and closes at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, March 10.   A Power Hour from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Saturday through Mondayoffers exhibitors and buyers an opportunity to extend their meetings for an additional hour after the 5:30 Show close.   Appointments for Power Hour are encouraged.

“We are very pleased with the response from exhibitors and expect to be completely sold out very soon,” said Phil Brandl, IHA president & CEO. “We are also encouraged by the return of several familiar companies who are exhibiting after a brief absence.”

The Show will host more than 2,100 exhibitors from around the world, including 400 new companies.   A sampling of first-time companies as well as some well-known suppliers returning after an absence includes:

  • Dine + Design Expo:   Beeline Creative, Carmie’s Kitchen, Cosmoplast, Primitives by Kathy, Rigamonti Pietro & Figli s.r.l., Sambonet, Shiraleah, Stone Candles and Terre Etoilee.
  • Discover Design:  Black + Blum, Crow Canyon Home, Fiskar Brands, iittala, Neolid, New Soda and Poppin.
  • Wired + Well Expo:  Brita, Brookstone, Kenmore (floor care and small appliances), LauraStar, Maytag Vacuums, Smeg and Taurus.
  • Clean, Contain + Sustain Expo:  Addis Housewares, Ltd., Grund America LLC, Moda At Home, Inc., PetSafe, Primetime Petz, SimplyKleen™, Ultimate Shield and Wenko.

To view the entire Show lineup, buyers may visit and search Housewares Connect 365 to download a complete list of 2015 exhibitors as well as to view floor plans, product catalogs, new product photos and videos and complete company contact information for each exhibitor.

To register for a no-charge Show badge, visit


About International Housewares Association

The International Housewares Association is the 76-year-old voice of the housewares industry, which accounted for (US)$314.3 billion at retail worldwide in 2012. The not-for-profit, full-service association sponsors the world’s premier exposition of products for the home, the International Home + Housewares Show, and offers its 1,700 member companies a wide range of services, including industry and government advocacy, export assistance, State-of-the-Industry reports, point-of-sale and consumer panel data through Housewares MarketWatch, executive management peer groups, a unique Web-based community at and group buying discounts on business solutions services. 

IHA logo

New Online Resource “Inspired Home” Launches To Generate Housewares Excitement

October 16th, 2014

Compelling Articles, Videos, DIY Tips, Home Ideas and More Found at

As savvy consumers increasingly turn to the web to select kitchen utensils, organization tools, cookware pieces, home décor and more to “make their house a home,” a new online resource launches to deliver fresh content on emerging home trends and housewares products. delivers compelling information and ideas across a broad spectrum of home lifestyle categories, enabling consumers to connect directly with brands and companies that can meet their housewares needs.

Visitors to – and corresponding platforms on FacebookPinterestTwitter and YouTube – will find beautiful imagery, DIY tips, home ideas, seasonal recipes and information about new products from industry experts, bloggers and media personalities across variety of topics: cooking and baking, dining, entertaining, home organization, cleaning, personal care and wellness, and more.

“We designed Inspired Home to be an informative, fun online resource by creating it in a highly visual, editorial style, which we know consumers seek out when looking for home inspiration,” said Phil Brandl, president/CEO of the International Housewares Association, the organization powering

Research shows that consumers head to the web when seeking information about housewares products and making purchasing decisions. Women, in particular, are more likely to engage with media that seamlessly integrates into and improves their day-to-day lives, and millennials are 247 percent more likely to be influenced by blogs or social networking sites than other age groups (JLL Research).

Connecting IHA Members with Consumers

Inspired Home marks the first foray into business-to-consumer marketing for the International Housewares Association (IHA), the 76-year-old voice of the housewares industry. Until now, the IHA focused its efforts on serving as a business-to-business trade organization connecting companies and brands to retailers in an effort to facilitate global commerce, primarily through its annual International Home + Housewares Show.

IHA launches Inspired Home with the goal of educating consumers about their housewares options and showcasing its 1,600 members’ products. The organization represents some of the most well-known brands in the housewares industry, such as KitchenAid, Hamilton Beach, OXO, simplehuman, Keurig, Conair, Pyrex and many more. In addition to the new website, Inspired Home spans IHA’s social media channels, public relations efforts and strategic partnerships.

Products of IHA member brands and companies will be woven throughout Inspired Home’s platforms, in order to organically build relationships with consumers, elevate the housewares industry overall and ultimately drive sales. In addition to inclusion in featured content, each exhibiting IHA member company will have its own profile page on, highlighting up to 50 product images for consumers to easily access, along with links to the member’s website and social media platforms.

“We want to be influential in the consumer’s path to purchase,” says Derek Miller, IHA’s vice president, global marketing. “Through Inspired Home, our members will be able to share new products and innovations with consumers throughout the year, driving awareness of what they have to offer. We are extremely excited about this new consumer awareness initiative and the visibility it will provide for our members.”

Delivering Content Consumers Can Use was designed to appeal to those who seek out lifestyle imagery and content for home and housewares inspiration. As such, visitors to the Inspired Home platforms will find eye-catching photography, informative slideshows and concise tip lists to pique their interest and introduce them to products.

Content will be offered in a “news you can use” format, presented from the perspective of a multitude of trusted experts. The Inspired Home content team includes leading color forecaster Pantone, high-profile digital influencers and housewares industry authorities, such as Frank Fontana, chief contributing editor to Inspired Home, who’s best known as an HGTV interior designer, best-selling author and radio personality.

“When connecting with audiences, it’s so important to share information that they can immediately put into practice in their daily lives,” said Fontana, who welcomes visitors to in a video on the site’s homepage and who will contribute monthly content to the site. “That is exactly what Inspired Home does, and we’re helping consumers take even greater command of their purchase power.”

About International Housewares Association

The International Housewares Association is the 76-year-old voice of the housewares industry, which accounted for (US) $314.3 billion at retail worldwide in 2012. The not-for-profit, full-service association sponsors the world’s premier exposition of products for the home, the International Home + Housewares Show, and offers its 1,600 member companies a wide range of services, including industry and government advocacy, export assistance, State-of-the-Industry reports, point-of-sale and consumer panel data through Housewares MarketWatch, executive management peer groups, a unique Web-based community at and group buying discounts on business solutions services. 

Inspired Home Logo (resize)

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