Connect FALL, IHA’s Virtual Industry Event, Features Education Sessions, Product Demonstrations and a Look at the Housewares Industry Post-Pandemic

Registration Now Open for 5-day Event

ROSEMONT, IL (Sept. 14, 2021) – Connect FALL, an IHA virtual event, is set for Sept. 27 through Oct. 1 with exclusive, in-depth content designed to bring the housewares industry together around education, inspiration and product discovery.

Each day of Connect FALL will offer a mix of education sessions and virtual product demonstrations. Session topics include style and design trends, independent retailing post-pandemic, shifting consumer trends, a new report on consumer spending for special occasions, branding for retailers and suppliers, store window merchandising and the announcement of the Global Innovation Award (gia) Top Window Award are some of the topics to be covered during Sessions will run daily from 10:30 a.m. CDT to 4 p.m. CDT.

“Based on the success of our inaugural Connect SPRING virtual event last May, we wanted to provide housewares buyers and sellers another opportunity to connect around new product innovations, education and expertise that address issues we face as we move forward and get back to pre-pandemic activities.” said Derek Miller, IHA president.

Connect FALL will open with an industry update and outlook by Joe Derochowski, home industry advisor at The NPD Group. Other sessions on Monday, Sept. 27 include Independent Houewares Retailers: Beyond the Pandemic, a panel discussion led by Peter Giannetti, editor in chief of HomePage News, and including Tony Curtis-Wellings, Faraday’s Kitchen Store, Austin, Texas, and Jamie Butler, The Butler’s Pantry, Escalon, Calif., that will examine how leading independent retailers are aiming beyond the pandemic with fortified merchandising and operational platforms and a determination to set a new and competitive standard for the long-term success of a channel that remains vital to the home and housewares industry; and product demonstrations featuring cook + bakeware items.

Other education sessions on the week’s agenda include:

  • All Roads Lead to Home: New Insights Reveal Shifting Consumer Values and the Need for Industry Transformation – The character and responsibility of today’s home cannot be described simply. In a single day, it must expand and contract, shapeshifting to serve seemingly conflicting needs: workplace, play space and home base. Above all, it is a fortress, representing a unique sense of safety and security unattainable in the “outside world.” Joe Derochowski of The NPD Group, Tom Mirabile, principal, Springboard Futures, and Leana Salamah, IHA’s vice president of marketing, will explore the dramatic shifts in the home value equation, and the potential of this transformative period in the housewares industry’s evolution.
  • 2022 Style Trend Outlook: The Reinvention of Real Life – A new ethos is influencing every facet of home and housewares lifestyles; it’s a spirit grounded in a need for simplicity, modernity and functionality, with an unapologetic passion for color and design. Nancy Fire, found & principal of Design Works International, will examine consumers’ desire for improving and enhancing real life experiences adopted during the pandemic with a focus on home + housewares style, design and quality that supports their plans to resume in-person socializing and entertaining at home.
  • Occasions Report: How Consumers Spend for Special Occasions – Every year, numerous consumer occasions align with the need to purchase home + housewares products — for oneself and for others. These include weddings, child births, pet adoption and more. Many of these occasions, and the celebrations and/or new needs that typically herald them, have been dampened during the last 18 months by the pandemic. IHA and HomePage News have commissioned a study to understand the recovery of these occasions in 2022 — specifically the likelihood of them taking place in 2022 – and where appropriate, the associated home + housewares purchase expectations for those occasions. Leana Salamah, vice president, marketing, at IHA and Peter Giannetti, editor in chief for HomePage News, will present findings from this first-of-its-kind report in advance of full publication, and explain how various categories can position themselves for growth against these consumer life events in 2022.
  • Are You Ready for 2030? Imminent Lifestyle Shifts Will Change the Experiences of Home– Sphere Trendingexecutives Susan Yashinsky, vice president, innovation trends, and Mandi Mankvitz, vice president, engagement trends, will explore trends and strategies accelerated by the pandemic and poised to create the new-normal of 2030. Their discussion topics include: Generations—cross-influence on lifestyles & economics; Space—wants & needs in a post-pandemic world; Localism—across community, retail & leisure; Renaissance—new era of tech & creativity; and Relevancy—intersection of community & commerce.
  • Retail Branding Post-Covid– The Covid pandemic changed the world…and how does a brand go about aligning with the changes? Adrienne Weiss, brand developer and author, will explain the process of re-energizing mature brands and how to build a brand from start up. She will explore case studies from Build A Bear Workshop to Baskin-Robbins to reveal the secrets to consumer connectedness.
  • Brand Where You Stand. The Path to Building, Becoming and Broadcasting Brand You –Consumer relationships with brands have become more complex and more important than ever. This means looking at every business as a brand and evolving in a way that can adapt and survive in a market of increasingly distracted and decreasingly loyal customers. Leigh Ann Schwarzkopf, founder & principal, Project Partners Network,will discuss the “Three B’s of Branding: Building, Buying and Borrowing” and how they work to grow relationships, cement loyalty and create a responsive and resilient Brand You. 
  • Materials and the Consumer Experience– Gayatri Keskar, PhD, vice president of research, Material Connexion, will discuss how product material can affect the consumer buying experience.
  • Winning Visual Clicks/Top Window Award– For a century, the function of store windows has remained the same; they were a place to feature and sell merchandise or hype the latest sale or promotion. Like everything else, things have changed and store windows have evolved into a powerful communication tool for a retailer to express its character, style and values. Designer and educator Anne Kong will explore a new directive on designing windows, including the techniques and tactics most effective for today’s marketplace. In addition, Kong, who is a member of the Global Innovation Awards (gia) expert jury, will announce the winner of the GIA Top Window Award for the best window display from around the world.

Each day’s program will also include virtual product demonstrations focused by category, including cook + bakeware, table + drinkware, kitchen gadgets, storage + organization, cleaning, personal care, home environment and kitchen electrics.

There is no charge for to register for Connect FALL. For more information on the agenda or to register, go to


The International Housewares Association is the 83-year-old voice of the housewares industry, which accounted for (US)$394.3 billion at retail worldwide in 2018. The not-for-profit, full-service association sponsors the world’s premier exposition of products for the home, The Inspired Home Show, IHA’s Global Home + Housewares Market (, and offers its 1,400 member companies a wide range of services, including industry and government advocacy, export assistance, industry and consumer trends through the IHA Market Watch Report, executive management peer groups, a B2B community at, group buying discounts on business solutions services and direct-to-consumer engagement through



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