press release -
International Housewares Association

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

CHESS 2017 Agenda Offers Robust Exploration of Disruption, Evolution in Housewares Marketplace

Wayfair CEO Narij Shah, Futurist David Houle Lead Keynote Sessions

ROSEMONT, Ill. (September 11, 2017)—The agenda for the 2017 Chief Housewares Executives SuperSession (CHESS) is shaping up as a robust exploration of disruption and evolution in the housewares marketplace, varying consumer lifestyle demographics and the changes suppliers must embrace to grow their business. Recently added to the schedule are sessions on how consumers are behaving online and the tax budget world under President Donald Trump. CHESS will be held Oct. 3-4 in Rosemont, Ill.

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 shifting consumer demographics, anti-trust pricing challenges, a new retail paradigm, channel management challenges and the rise of the social media influencer.

This year’s two-day program offers 10 sessions, 20 speakers and one game of Generational Family Feud, pitting Millennials versus Baby Boomers, making it one of the most content-intensive CHESS programs held, according to Jon Jesse, IHA vice president, industry development. “With a roster of Niraj Shah of Wayfair, futurist David Houle, Kenneth Kies of the Federal Policy Group, Becky Bush of Google and retail guru Dana Telsey, along with our housewares industry executives and experts, I think our attendees will find this the best CHESS line-up yet,” he said.

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

Reform to the U.S. Tax Code, which has not been fundamentally changed since 1986, was one of President Trump’s biggest campaign promises. But, with Republicans controlling both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, major efforts are underway to redefine the nation’s outdated and overly complex tax code to make the U.S. more competitive in the global economy. Housewares manufacturers who rely on global supply chains to support American innovation and bring affordable products to U.S. consumers will be directly affected by any changes. Ken Kies, managing director of the Federal Policy Group, LLC, will provide clarity and insights to the current state of “The Tax and Budget World Under Trump.”

Consumers are increasingly relying on peer reviews before making a purchase, and are also highly influenced by a new breed of celebrity—passionate experts who have amassed large and trusting followers on social media. The creators and stars of top digital brands Clean My Space (Melissa Maker & Chad Reynolds) and Bigger Bolder Baking (Gemma Stafford & Kevin Kurtz) will share why having the right influencer is essential to your brand strategy in the session “Influencer Marketing: Word of Mount Marketing Begins with Trust.”

Other CHESS sessions include:

  • “Practical Solutions for Antitrust Pricing Challenges in Housewares”—Attorney Wendy Newton of Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney PC, says suppliers face five antitrust challenges in selling housewares in stores and on the Internet: illegal price agreements, MAP, non-price restrictions, price/promotion discrimination and unauthorized resellers. She’ll offer antitrust guidance and practical solutions for Internet business.


  • “How Are Consumers Behaving Online?”—Becky Bush, agency development manager at Google, will provide a high-level view of online consumer behavior with a specific focus on the housewares consumer. Then, Nathan Rigby, head of sales and marketing at One Click Retail, will explore the importance of Amazon search placement and the factors that influence search ranking. Learn what works on Amazon, specifically how the buyer influences the category; who your competition is online and how it differs from offline; and how to adapt your digital shelf vs brick & mortar.


  • “Disruption in Retail: Implications for the Housewares Industry”—Dana Telsey, retail guru, CEO and chief research officer, and Joe Feldman, senior managing director and assistant director of research, Telsey Advisory Group, return with their annual review of the state of the retail industry and a discussion of how companies are adapting to the new retail paradigm, where customer engagement through creating experiences, fostering loyalty and leveraging technology is paramount.


Rounding out the CHESS agenda will be “The Future is So Bright” with Marshal Cohen and Joe Derochowski of The NPD Group; “Generational Family Feud,” moderated by HFN editors Maureen Azzato and Warren Shoulberg, pitting panels of Millennials and Baby Boomers against each other to discuss their shopping habits; and the “Housewares Hot Seat Panel: Changing Channels” moderated by Peter Giannetti of HomeWorld Business/Gourmet Insider, with Bruce Kaminstein, executive chairman, Casabella Holdings LLC; Neal Asbury, CEO, The Legacy Companies; and Michael Stoll, president, Urban Trend.

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.