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Discover Design: A Judge’s View of 2014 – Meet Terri Winter

Monday, April 7th, 2014

by Vicki Matranga, Design Programs Coordinator

Retailers and media looking for trend-setting, high-design products at the 2014 International Home + Housewares Show headed for Discover Design in South Building. The premier design destination at the Show, Discover Design hosted more than 100 exhibitors that presented distinctive products in the Tabletop, Gift and Home Décor categories. The Show also introduced 10 emerging companies in Design Debut, a row of 10 mini-exhibitors set between the Discover Design Gallery and its Lounge.

At the Show last month, exhibitors met new buyers and reported successful new business. “The 2014 Show saw an increase in U.S. and international registration and non-U.S. attendance represented the greatest growth. Specialty retailers made up 75% of our 21,000 buyers,” said Perry Reynolds, vice president of global trade development.

The inspiring Discover Design Gallery, accessible to buyers and media, featured products submitted for the gia Global Innovation Awards for Design. Specialty retailers, editors at influential websites and print publications, trendspotters and independent designers served as Discover Design judges. They reviewed exhibitors’ entries to choose six products as finalists, three of which were honored as Global Honorees. They also selected three companies as gia finalists for best product collection; one was named the Global Honoree. The Discover Design gallery catalogue featured the products entered for consideration and displayed in the Gallery.

Australian Discover Design Judge Shares Top3’s Approach

terri_green close up

Before the Show, we got acquainted with some of the industry experts who determined the winners of the Show’s gia product awards. Today we are speaking with Terri Winter, owner of top3 in Australia. She served on the judging panel and shares some of her experiences at the Show.

Terri Winter founded top3, headquartered in Sydney, in 2001. The unique concept presents the top three items in their respective categories, selected according to design criteria, to offer products in kitchen and dining housewares and accessories. Top3 is about editing options, not limiting choice, and focuses on quality, innovation and style. It sources the best-designed products from around Australia and the world, presented in exciting in-store and online experiences. Top3 believes in fostering design, not stealing it, and makes sure that all top3 products are authentic. Now with three stores, two in Sydney and one in Melbourne, top3 boasts more than 40,000 members—its most loyal customers—and has been recognized with design and retail industry awards, including IHA’s gia retail excellence award.

Terri, tell us a bit about yourself. What is the most fun or rewarding part of your job?

The most fun (and the most rewarding) part of my job is the research and the buying. I am very lucky to really not consider a large part of my work as real work. I don’t watch TV really at all – my evening enjoyment is flipping through the latest design and home magazines and cruising the web for new and upcoming products.

What inspires your passion in your work?

I am inspired to see how much innovation and talent there is in the world. It would be fair to think at some point that there will be no new ideas– but for more than a decade now I am delighted and amazed with the new ideas that emerge in product design. Receiving new product samples is like having Christmas every day of the year!

In the past few years, what has changed most in your business?

Over the past few years the biggest change for me has been having other key team members become more responsible for their own roles and letting go of the feeling that I need to do everything. There is often someone else who may even do it better! Obviously more people shop online as well. We have been online since we started in 2001, so our online store is constantly updated and the amount of information people can get there is far greater, with larger images and video. Being online has always been part of our business.


What do you see as consumers’ biggest concerns regarding housewares products?

Consumers want quality products that do not need to be constantly replaced. They want products that enhance their daily lives, consider the environment in production or materials and products that simply do their job!

What are some of today’s challenges that retailers face in the housewares market?

Once of the biggest challenges these days is ensuring that customers understand the difference between an original quality product and a cheap copy or replica so they avoid disappointment. “Getting the Look” has been pushed by magazines for the past few years, but these products often don’t last and are of poor quality. The Internet offers easy access to a huge amount of images that may LOOK like what you are searching for, but are often misleading or have little information about the quality or authenticity of the product. This makes it harder for consumers to make informed decisions. These cheap imitations devalue the original product and it is important for us to educate customers as to why they should buy the better quality original in the first place. We have heard disappointment from customers who bought cheap junk and then come to us for something that will last. Many are realizing that you get what you pay for!

How many years have you been coming to the International Home + Housewares Show?

My first visit was in 2009.

What do you find exciting and inspirational at our Show?

There are a large number of smaller companies and businesses that show as well as the larger companies—so it is a great cross-mixture. The smaller innovative housewares brands are really important for me.

How does Discover Design enhance the Show experience for buyers?

Discover Design is a great addition because many people do not take design factors into account as much as they should in their buying. Everything, every product is designed to some extent, but true design considers the user and the manufacturing process so you receive a much higher quality product for the price. Design can reduce manufacturing costs and increase value and integrity of a product. Design is not just about the colour and the pattern—design is planned long before the product is in manufacture. Discover Design showcases the products that apply design and shows everybody who may never have thought about the design process what caring about design can achieve. The calibre of the products in Discover Design is very high.

Were you looking for any specific trends and products that fit those trends?

We do tend to be more about classic design and not specifically trend-related. Despite saying that, however, the increased interest in timber and natural materials certainly influences our decisions.

Tell us about how the Discover Design judging process worked.

Since the judges are located around the U.S. and the globe—I am based in Australia—the judging happens online. We read the submitters’ product descriptions and see their images on a password-protected site and then we vote our choices.

What did you find most interesting in the entries?

I am always impressed with simple innovation. Design does not need to jump up and down and be loud to be heard. The great thing about awards like Discover Design’s gia is that they ensure everyone considers design as an integral part of a product. Companies understand that good design makes business sense, and it shows when you see the submissions every year. Design improves our everyday life, and it is a joy to see more and more people discovering the thrill of using a product that works – and lasts due to good design practice.

Did you get a chance to meet with the exhibitors whose products were selected as gia Honorees?

I met many of the exhibitors and we will have several of the winners and the nominees coming on board with our range at top3 by design in the coming months. We have several products from previous years also.

What types of new products caught your eye for your stores?

Can’t divulge that one – but there are quite a few!!

What events at the Show did you especially enjoy?

The Leatrice Eiseman + Tom Mirable session was fantastic.

Did you find time to enjoy Chicago after a long day of business at the Show?

Although we were there only for a few days this time, were lucky enough to dine with some Los Angeles-based friends at the amazing L20 restaurant. The meal was simply incredible—art and food combined. Every dish outdid the one before it and we finished up at 1 in the morning!!! It was fabulous.

Thank you, Terri, for describing how you value quality and offer design choices in your stores. Thank you for serving as a Discover Design judge and for sharing your thoughts about our recent Show. We’ll see you again at our next Show, March 7-10, 2015!








To learn more about top3 by design, Australia’s design store, please visit

Discover Design Gallery Attracts Buyers and Media

The Gallery displayed more than 200 exhibitors’ products. At the reception Saturday evening March 15th, exhibitors mingled with retailers and media.

2014 DD reception 1







2014 DD reception 2












Learn more about Discover Design exhibitors and their products by visiting

See more about Discover Design exhibitors here:

Read more about Discover Design here:

Leatrice Eiseman Explores Color Trends, Previews 2015 Palettes at International Home + Housewares Show

Monday, March 17th, 2014



Radiant Orchid is the Pantone Color of the Year, Leatrice (Lee) Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, told an audience today at the 2014 International Home + Housewares Show.

“It’s a beautiful color,” Eiseman said. “The inspiration for it is a harmony of fuchsia and pink undertones, like a gorgeous sunset. It’s a hue that sparks the imagination. It is a magical, captivating and enigmatic color.”

In her presentation, “New Harmonies: Changing Themes in Color/Design Trends,” Eiseman, who also is director of the Eiseman Center for Color Information and Training and author of several books on color, said  that the color can increasingly be found in architecture and lighting, both outdoors and indoors, and even in hair color and makeup, especially in high fashion.

“We saw this color making inroads several years ago, even in menswear,” Eiseman said. The Disney movie “Frozen” is full of Radiant Orchid, she noted, in part because the color personifies a certain kind of magic.

Owned and operated by the International Housewares Association (, the Show is being held March 15-18 at McCormick Place here, and features 2,100 exhibitors and 60,000 total attendees from more than 125 countries.

In addition to movies, there are other factors that influence the process of naming the color of the year and overall color trends, Eiseman said, including the economy. “This is a great time for creativity with color, yet there are many people who still want things from the past, based on these uncertain times. So we increasingly see color combinations of the past and of today. We bring in our history and polish the nostalgic looks.”

Another design trend is butterflies. “We cannot get enough butterflies,” Eiseman said. “That motif is huge going into 2015. We are seeing it in every possible application. Butterflies are all about change and that is the age that we are living in.”

While it may seem odd, Eiseman noted that photos of women’s eyes are a large design trend. “Particularly in giftware, we are seeing usage of women’s eyes,” she said. “It’s a look that has swept over the world and it will continue in 2015.The men’s version is in moustaches. In housewares, glassware and stemware we see numerous applications of it, as well as packaging and labeling. It has gone crazy and it will continue.”

With regards to the major color families, and the most important trends with them, Eiseman said that use of the color green will continue, although hues of the color will expand, such as Hunter Green. In the yellow family she sees greenish-yellow undertone increasing in usage. In the blue family, the hues will become more energized, such as classic indigo.

The orange color family is puzzling, but it captures attention and people have slowly embraced it. “It will undergo some variations. If you want to do a variation on orange, combine it with peaches, which are coming on very strong,” Eiseman said.

Red will always have a strong presence in the housewares industry, Eiseman said, but she predicts “newer and fresher voices of red, combined with orange, pink and purple.”

Black and white will never go away, she said, and neutrals will have a strong presence in 2015, particularly with kids’ apparel. “I’m not suggesting that color is going away with kids, as color engages them, but worldwide we see neutrals taking on a strong role.”

Eiseman also unveiled the nine color palettes forecast for 2015. They include:

Style Settings: As high fashion is often a forerunner to styling for home furnishings in line, design, texture and color, this palette is all about pose, finesse and polish. The elegance of the purple family adds a dramatic interplay against the classic mahoganies, off whites, grays and taupes, along with Frosted Almond and Champagne Beige.

Abstractions: This palette releases the inner artist in each of us, Eiseman said. Just as in the formulation of abstract art, styling might seem randomly gathered, forming a mosaic of differing shapes, many of them geometric. Colors like grape and apricot, dahlia red, stonewashed blue, hazel nut brown and vineyard green come from equally disparate places, but when brought together create an artistic whole.

Botanical: This palette is lifted directly from the complexities of flora and foliage, forming intriguing groupings filled with succulent shadings of green and grape and café au lait, counterbalanced with dusty or smoky tones of blue and orchid.

Zensations: This palette engages and heightens the senses as it displays a literal “enlightenment” by taking the thoughtful, meditative qualities of the blue and blue-green family to another more visceral level by adding to the palette a compelling red, an atmospheric green and a sparkling silver and gold.

Urban Jungle: Eiseman said that this palette transforms rustic chaos into something “civilized” and sylvan, speaking more of big city living than that of a wild terrain. Rather than consistently rough textured, contours are smoother and colors a combination of both typical and atypical jungle hues. Warm animal skin tones are set against the modernity of deep blue-greens, a vibrant greenish yellow, plus black and white.

Tinted Medley: This palette is a harmonious composition of closely related warm tones with peach and pink striking the main chord. Bellini, Apricot Wash, Peach Amber and Macadamia are compatible blends while powdered roses and yellows underscore and support the perfect pitch of a rosy-taupe.

Past Traces: This palette honors history in the home as many of us are looking for some vestige of the past that is satisfying and reassuring. The look might range from gently worn to contemporized adaptations, with many color names like Pastel Parchment, Cameo Green, Faded Denim and Dusty Cedar.

Serendipity: The literal meaning of Serendipity is a “pleasant surprise” or “happy accident.” In the parlance of styling, it is the coming together of unlikely designs and unexpected colors. An outgoing orange engages cool eggshell blue, bright chartreuse is enhanced by a yellow gold and hot pink embraces a lofty scarlet, all under the watchful gaze or a Tiger’s Eye taupe.

Spontaneity: Irrepressible fun is what this palette called Spontaneity delivers. Just as the name implies, it is the stuff that spur of the moment, impulse buying is all about, with whimsical design and a unique “mash-up” of color mixtures a large part of the attraction. Happy hues of Sunkist Coral, Marigold and Cantaloupe are complemented by Kelly Green and/or “quieted down” with floral accents of Hyacinth, Violet Quartz, Winsome Orchid or Misty Jade.

The audio recording of Eiseman’s presentation is available at

Lifestyle Guru Tom Mirabile Reveals the Top Housewares Trends for 2014

Monday, March 17th, 2014

show_experience_daily_headerHousewares manufacturers need to adapt, inspire and motivate in order to have success with today’s ever changing consumer, IHA’s lifestyle trend forecaster Tom Mirabile said today at the 2014 International Home + Housewares Show.

He explained how to do so during his early morning seminar, “Top Trends for 2014The New Normal: How to Survive and Thrive in our Erratic Marketplace.” Mirabile is senior vice president, Global Trend and Design, at Lifetime Brands, Inc.

Owned and operated by the International Housewares Association (, the Show is being held March 15-18 at McCormick Place here, and features 2,100 exhibitors and 60,000 total attendees from more than 125 countries.

“Whether you’re a retailer, manufacturer or wholesaler, a single word encapsulates today’s most crucial business imperative: Adapt,” he said. “Today’s consumer lives and shops in multi-dimensional ways we couldn’t have imagined a decade ago. More importantly, they crave – no demand – innovation. Sometimes these advances are tangible, delivering improved performance and expanded function, or savings of time or space. Still, it’s clear that all owe their inspiration and success to a single vital source: a fundamental understanding of the consumer. Not just their age and income, shopping habits or household composition, but an educated perspective on the lives they are living and the lives they want to live.”

Mirabile discussed several generations to illustrate how housewares manufacturers need to adapt: social GenY, active Baby Boomers and the Strapped Gen X.

The Gen Y generations are aged 19-37, early technology adopters, true foodies and are the most design savvy generation ever. They expect customization, and they reuse and repurpose. “That presents a challenge to us because we are trying to sell them something new,” Mirabile said. “They want small spaces that live large, and that’s important to keep in mind as we design products for them. They are also more casual so we have to adapt to the way that they entertain. And, they are also more frugal.”

The Gen X generation includes people who are practical and pragmatic, who spend more money on pet products than any other generation, Mirabile said. “They see their home as the hive and the haven where they can relax. They are ages 39-47, their salaries are depressed and they have more debt than any other generation, so our role as adapters needs to give them good reasons to buy,” he explained.

They seek family time and a balance of the work/life mix, so products for them have to cater to family time. In addition, he said, the generation is more fiscally prudent, as they were the chief victims of the most recent recession, so they are working harder. Meal time and good food is very important to them.

Baby Boomers, Mirabile said, are defining luxury, but don’t just give them the most expensive or most desired product, he advised, give them products that deliver superior function and technology. Baby Boomers are ages 48-68, and many have children or parents living with them. Some are downsizing, but not willing to sacrifice luxury. “We need to understand baby boomers and adapt living spaces for their new interests and hobbies,” Mirabile advised. “What is impressive about this generation is that the women are the healthiest and wealthiest and most active generation of women in history. They are buying experiences, not objects. We need to adapt to their wellness desires, and to their fiscal concerns.”

Mirabile noted that even though the most recent recession ended in 2009, many of its effects have lingered – unemployment is still at 6.7 percent, for example. That will take even more adaptation, he said, as there have been reductions in earnings and the workforce – a slow growth era since 2009.

“We have to adapt by differentiating,” he said. “There are more expectations, as consumers expect more in a slow growth era. You need to deliver on a specific value platform, whether it’s price or material. On the positive side, housing stats are good, and that will grow economic confidence. We also have to adapt to ecommerce growth, as two-thirds of Americans have smart phones, and they are using them for the shopping experience. People hate that technology never shuts down and it replaces face to face interaction at retail, but we love that we are connected 24/7.”

Mirabile also discussed the “Inspire” trend, which he said is about consumer strength, more retail choices, blurred channels and categories and the socialization of food. “Those are your opportunities to inspire the consumer,” he said. “Give the consumer new ways to live and design. In all housewares categories we are seeing a move from function to more fashionable. The younger generation will embrace that.”

Even more opportunities to inspire consumers include a growing ethnic diversity population and an increasing emphasis on health. “Health has become one of the most important things to people, more important than a nice place to live or their money and financial situation, their community and friends, and work fulfillment. So companies and products that help consumers understand and accomplish better nutrition while minimizing time investment will have the advantage,” he said.

The last trend, Motivation, is about motivating housewares sales with a clear focus on consumer inspirations, health and wellness and changing strategies. “For example, we are in an era of fiscal conservatism, so consumers must be motivated to buy,” he said. “It is the intangibles such as experience, knowledge and skills that provide the new motivation needed to spend. In addition, meaningful differentiation is not about price and quality alone, it’s about the price, quality, the design and the experience. It’s not about having something for everyone, it’s about product and services for a targeted audience. You need to motivate with value beyond price, and that includes brand ethics, durability, variety, and design.”

Five Minute Interview with Celebrity Chef Michelle Bernstein

Monday, March 17th, 2014



Michelle Bernstein is always on the go. A former ballerina and James Beard Award winner, the Miami native is a successful restaurateur, celebrity chef, cookbook author, regular judge on Bravo’s Top Chef, and host of the PBS weekly series Check Please! She battled celebrity chef Bobby Flay with gusto on Iron Chef America and won. The Show caught up with her before her Cooking Theater presentation.

What are your plans for your presentation in the cooking theatre today and what will you be making?

Chef: I am making a black paella with squid ink, all kinds of seafood and crispy garlic. My main aim when I am out there is to catch and keep my audience’s attention. It’s all about bringing them into the story and opening up their minds. I love getting people to taste and cook things they wouldn’t normally – I love seeing that glimmer when people discover something new.

Tell us about your latest project?

Chef: I am opening a new restaurant soon on Miami Beach while renovating Mach’s, a restaurant in Miami I’ve had for eight years.

What inspires you to create a new dish or recipe?

Chef: Luckily I travel a lot, so I gather inspiration wherever I go. I also have a young crew, and they always want to try the latest and the greatest gadgets and techniques. Running around the world trying out new restaurants provides inspiration too.

Have you walked the Show or will you – is there anything special you hope to find – or something that has caught your eye?

Chef: I haven’t had the time to see the Show. However we are always looking for ways to make things better and easier. I love some of the equipment I use all the time, such as my knives, but I also love seeing the genius behind other people’s fresh ideas, whether it’s a pan or an electrical gadget. There is always something new out there that I would never think of.

What chefs and restaurants are you inspired by?

Chef: Firstly, I think Chicago has the best food scene in the U.S. I love everything that Paul Kahan does at The Publican, Blackbird and Nico Osteria – and I want to try his tacos at Big Star. I was also very lucky to eat at El Bulli before it closed, and then Can Roca in Spain.

What inspires you personally?

Chef: Blank canvases, smells, people, farms.

Designer + Kickstarter = Entrepreneur: How to Launch A Company with Kickstarter

Monday, March 17th, 2014


One of the more dynamic and attention grabbing ways to develop and market new products today is Kickstarter, a web-based home that funds creative products including films, games, art, design, technology and, yes, housewares.
Three entrepreneurs who raised funds on Kickstarter for their products – silicone baking sheets with the accent on design and functionality, an educational toy and app for kids and a one-piece, silicone spatula – sang the praises of the never-before avenues it provides, yet also cautioned the potential users that it’s no cakewalk.

In fact, getting a product to market based on funding from individuals who simply like and support the idea takes a lot of hard upfront work and dozens of details that you wouldn’t necessarily think about. It requires a constant push in various types of media—from balloons to ads— to keep the funds flowing and an unending vigilance to keep the process moving forward.

Samantha Rose, who concocted a glossy marketing campaign to back her spatula, calls it “a full time job.” She was meticulous about the graphics she distributed, making them look professional while offering influential information. The hard work paid off. Looking for $15,000 from backers to get production going, Rose attracted more than 1,600 backers who gave her more than $48,000.

Using the initial money to work with a designer, she expanded the line into different sizes and asked for $50,000 on a second campaign. More than 1,800 backers gave her more than $136,000. The reason for her success: she told a story backed up with facts that supported the quality of the product and projected her business savvy. Most people don’t raise that kind of money and even she suffered serious anxiety over whether anyone would be interested, Rose said.

Jon Lindholm, who parlayed his Kickstarter support into a now flourishing line of silicone baking sheets, used his already developed design smarts to offer functional eye candy that would appeal to the modern consumer. He suggests following these rules:

  • Now you can do it all, now you have to do it all;
  • Twice as interesting beats half the price;
  • Turn on your scoundrel detector;
  • Get ahead of the transition;
  • Make sure your brand is easy to spell;
  • When a bird flies with the wind it goes really fast and;
  • Regardless of the outcome, you will always have a good story to tell. 

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