press release -
International Housewares Association

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

Consumer Alignment and Embracing Changes for Growth is Focus of CHESS 2017

Wayfair CEO Narij Shah, Futurist David Houle Lead Keynote Sessions

ROSEMONT, Ill. (July 5, 2017)—Marketplace disruption and evolution, a new retail paradigm, channel management challenges, Millennials vs Boomers and lifestyle demographic changes continue to affect the way housewares are marketed and sold. How suppliers can use these challenges to grow their business will be explored in “Consumer Alignment…Embracing Change for Growth” during the 2017 Chief Housewares Executive SuperSession (CHESS), Oct. 3-4 in Rosemont, Ill.

Sharing their expertise with attendees will be executives from Wayfair, Google, One Click Retail and The NPD Group as well as futurist David Houle and retail analyst Dana Telsey. CHESS is the strategic and networking event for industry leaders. It is designed for chief officers of all IHA member companies and their top decision-makers and features sessions on critical issues affecting housewares, including global trade, shifting consumer demographics, consumers’ online behavior, Millennials’ buying habits, anti-trust pricing challenges, retail trends and more.

Keynote sessions this year will feature Wayfair CEO and co-founder Niraj Shah discussing the evolution of ecommerce on Tuesday, Oct. 3 and David Houle, who will examine “Future Shift and Transformation: 2017-2037” to begin the program on Wednesday.

In his session, “The Evolution of E-Commerce ­ Key Considerations for Manufacturers as Consumers Shift Spending Online,” Shah will explain how he and co-founder Steve Conine rapidly grew the business to become the largest online retailer of home goods in the United States. Shah will outline the strategies they use to remain competitive online and offer solutions addressing typical pain points manufacturers experience as they transform their business to serve the online channel. 

Houle, who spoke at CHESS in 2015 on brand shifting, returns with a glimpse into the future. The next 20 years will be looked back upon as one of the most historically important transits in human history, rivalling the beginning of the Industrial Age and the Renaissance, Houle says. Practically every aspect of what we call “reality” today will change. Houle will examine the unprecedented transformation in energy, transportation, healthcare, intelligence, production and distribution and how we adapt in the age of climate change.


Other CHESS sessions include:

  • “Housewares Hot Seat Panel: Changing Channels”—Peter Giannetti, editor-in-chief of HomeWorld Business, moderates a blue-ribbon panel of housewares CEOS in this popular session. The housewares industry faces mounting channel management challenges because of e-commerce disruption. While off-price stores are thriving, for example, department stores are under stress as consumers abandon traditional shopping patterns. These housewares executives will reveal how they are re-aligning channel strategies to maximize growth opportunities today while securing a more stable customer base for the future. Panelists include Bruce Kaminstein, Casabella Holdings; Kris Malkoski, World Kitchen; and Neal Asbury, The Legacy Companies.
  • “The Future is So Bright…”—Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, and Joe Derochowski, chief home analyst, The NPD Group, say the housewares industry is on the cusp of a 5-to-10-year window of growth it hasn’t seen since the 1990s. They’ll explain how these life-stage demographic changes will positively impact key life moments for housewares and how suppliers can market and innovate during this growth window.
  • “Generational Family Feud”—Warren Shoulberg, editorial director of HFN, Gifts & Decorative Accessories and Home + Textiles Today, and Maureen Azzato, publisher/editorial director, HFN, will simulate the popular TV show pitting a team of Millennials versus a team of Baby Boomers to see how they answer questions about their shopping habits. CHESS attendees will pre-answer the questions so they can compare their answers to the teams.


Rounding out the CHESS agenda will be sessions on social media influencer marketing with Inspired Home contributors from Clean My Space and Bigger Bolder Baking; retail trends with Dana Telsey and Joe Feldman of Telsey Advisory Group; a review of anti-trust pricing challenges by attorney Wendy Newton; and a look at consumers’ online behavior with executives from Google, Wayfair and One Click Retail.

Time will be provided after each session for Q&A with the speakers. Networking breaks, luncheons and a cocktail reception and dinner also provide time for attendees to network and meet informally with speakers, industry service providers and their colleagues—the most valuable part of the program according to past participants.

To register for CHESS or for information on sessions and speakers, visit the CHESS website at or contact Ginny Costello of IHA at



The International Housewares Association is the 79-year-old voice of the housewares industry, which accounted for (US)$346.9 billion at retail worldwide in 2015 ($82.2 billion at retail in the U.S.). 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.