press release -
International Housewares Association

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

CHESS 2018 Focuses on Adapting in the Face of Change

Retail Analyst Dana Telsey, Amazon’s Mike Popchuck, NPD’s Don Unser Set to Speak

ROSEMONT, Ill. (July 10, 2018)—The U.S. economy is doing well but traditional retail is challenged against the dramatic changes brought on by the ever-growing options consumers have for purchasing products. Driving this change is the world of e-commerce, which has expanded from what is now considered traditional digital retailing, such as Amazon, Wayfair and brick & mortar retailer websites, to non-traditional and start-up sites including Ebay, Etsy and manufacturer’s direct websites. This ongoing disruption in the retail marketplace and the continuing challenges it poses for housewares suppliers will be explored during “Adapting in the Face of Change,” the 2018 Chief Housewares Executive SuperSession (CHESS), Oct. 2-3 in Rosemont, Ill.

Sharing their expertise with attendees will be executives from Amazon, the Reshoring Initiative and The NPD Group, along with popular retail analyst Dana Telsey, top housewares CEOs and guest speaker Sucharita Kodali of Forrester Research. Joining the retail and housewares experts this year will be out-of-the box speakers including Amy Herman of The Art of Perception, digital marketer Brian Carter and leadership coach Jacquie Fazekas.

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 tariffs and global trade, shifting consumer demographics, consumers’ online behavior, digital and social marketing, retail trends and more.

The keynote sessions will feature Amy Herman on Oct. 2, and Dana Telsey and Joe Feldman’s exploration of the retail landscape on Oct. 3.

In “The Art of Perception,” Herman, who is a lawyer and art historian, uses works of art to systematically sharpen observation, analysis and communication skills. In this session, she will engage the CHESS audience in a highly participatory dialogue about perception and communication as they relate to strategic thinking as well as client and stakeholder relationships, using works of art as the vehicle to drive the discussion. Herman has conducted this program for the NYC police department, FBI, French national police, U.S. Department of Defense, Interpol and many Fortune 500 companies.

Telsey and Feldman, principals of the Telsey Advisory Group (TAG), lead off Day 2 of CHESS with “Retail Evolution and the Housewares Industry.” With the overused terms “experiential” and “omni-channel” dominating the retail landscape, Telsey and Feldman will examine key retail trends and explore the ways companies are evolving their strategies, investments and partnerships to drive growth.

Other CHESS sessions include:

  • “Housewares Hot Seat: Reclaiming Control in the Digital Jungle” leads off CHESS on Wednesday. Digital commerce has unlocked dramatic new growth opportunities for housewares, but it also has unleashed new dangers. From the spread of counterfeit products to fake reviews to slashed postal rates on China-direct consumer shipments, the housewares industry is on guard as it works to adapt to a vast digital marketplace without the boundaries, checks and balances of traditional retailing. During this annual session, Peter Giannetti, editor-in-chief of HomeWorld Business, will lead a panel of top housewares executives as they explore what can be done to reduce the risks and reclaim control of a company’s sales and marketing futures.


  • “Trends Shaping the Future of the U.S. Retail Landscape”—Don Unser, group president, Retail, The NPD Group, will use NPD’s unique data on industry trends across $1.8 trillion U.S. consumer spending to offer insights into the hottest retail trends, including best-in-class innovations, disruptive commerce trends and shifts in consumer behavior.


  • “Selling More ‘Made in USA’ Will Reduce Motivation for More Tariffs”—Harry Moser founded the Reshoring Initiative in 2010 to bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. In 2017, companies announced the reshoring and foreign direct investment of approximately 170,000 manufacturing jobs, up 50 percent from 2016 and 2,800 percent from 2010. Most of the reshoring is in consumer goods, and while the recent tariff changes do pose concern for the housewares industry, Moser will present alternatives that are more beneficial than tariffs.


  • “How Brands Must Evolve to Thrive in the Digital Age”—Sucharita Kodali, vice president and principal analyst, eBusiness and Channel Strategy at Forrester Research, says consumer-facing brands have the opportunity to grow sales through digital commerce channels but also face substantial challenges and risks. If a brand’s digital business professionals do not craft a clear digital commerce strategy, they ultimately empower others at their expense. Grounded in extensive retail, consumer and digital research, Kodali will share market data and strategic analysis to help guide brands in the digital age.


  • “Internet Profits: How to Benefit from New Opportunities with Digital Marketing, Social Media, Influencers and More!”—Brian Carter, CEO of The Brian Carter Group, a boutique digital marketing agency, is a #1 bestselling author, social media influencer with more than 250,000 fans on his social channels and has a background in improv and stand-up comedy. Carter will use his hands-on experience to explain how to take advantage of digital marketing, social media, influencers and bloggers; which strategies work or are just a waste of time; and how to use digital marketing to create and sustain long-term growth.


  • “Building Your Talent Bench for the Future”—Jacquie Fazekas, a 30-year retail veteran of the housewares industry, believes that developing future talent today is one of the most critical strategic initiatives for suppliers. She will offer leadership “Watch-outs” to avoid poorly groomed and motivated talent and “Must-dos” for talent to thrive. Learn how to foster leadership skills to better hire, retain and grow your future talent pool.

Rounding out the CHESS agenda will be Mike Popchuck, Amazon’s general manager/director, Home Products.

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 80-year-old voice of the housewares industry, which accounted for (US)$355.4 billion at retail worldwide in 2016 ($87.1 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.