press release -
International Housewares Association

Contact: Deborah A.Teschke
Senior Manager, Public Relations & Communications
Email Debbie Teschke

IHA Begins Complimentary Year-Round Education for Specialty Retailers With Webinar on Social Media strategy

ROSEMONT, IL (June 16, 2011)—While June traditionally means a break from the classroom and learning, the International Housewares Association has announced that it will begin holding year-round educational programs for specialty retailers via webinars and confidential online consulting.

The educational offerings will start with a business webinar on Wednesday, June 22. Presented by IHA’s Gourmet Home Specialty Retailer University, the no-charge program will focus on “Successful Social Media Strategy” and be led by Ed Taylor, founder of Internet Marketing Group and author of “Proven Strategies to Increase Website Sales, Leads & Opt-ins.”

Taylor will explain:

  • Why stores need to be engaged in the social media phenomenon
  • The difference between the types of social media and how each can benefit or be of value to the store
  • A five-step program for getting started in social media

The complimentary webinar starts at 1 p.m. CDT and will last about one hour. Further details and call-in information is available at

“Many of the retailers who have attended the Specialty Retailer University or the consulting sessions at the International Home + Housewares Show have said that these educational opportunities were the highlight of their trip to Chicago,” said Phil Brandl, IHA president. “The information and practical ideas helped them sharpen their buying skills at the Show, inspired them in planning their store’s strategy and facilitated editing the flood of new technology resources for their store and the customer.  And they’ve asked us for more of this during the year, not just at Show time. The Gourmet Home Specialty University program is a response to these requests.”

In addition, IHA will expand its complimentary one-on-one sessions with Experts on Call, piggy-backing on the successful specialty retailer consulting offered during the International Home + Housewares Show. This confidential consulting program will be available 24/7 to specialty retailers via the Knowledge Center on IHA’s website in early July.  Specialty and independent retailers will be able to submit a question via email and receive an answer within 2- 3 days.

The inaugural Experts on Call are:

  • Linda Cahan, author and contributing editor, Gifts & Decorative Accessories, who will answer questions relating to creating a store image that will attract, sell and retain customers from store or window design to visual merchandising to color palettes.
  • Catherine Yen, business financial consultant, who will answer questions about the business of running a retail operation.
  • Ed Taylor, Internet marketing consultant and author. From websites to ecommerce to social media, Taylor will help retailers strategize a profit approach to this necessary and valuable technology.

For more information on the Gourmet Home Specialty Retailer University and Experts Call consulting, visit