press release -
International Housewares Association

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

Regulatory Update, Housewares Hot Seat Panel Announced for CHESS 2018

ROSEMONT, Ill. (September 17, 2018)—The most recent round of proposed tariffs on imports from China affecting $200 billion of goods and impacting the housewares industry for both finished product and raw materials may be imposed soon now that the public comment period is finished. In a just-added session for the 2018 Chief Housewares Executive SuperSession (CHESS), John G. Murphy, senior vice president of international policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, will provide a regulatory update on the status of these tariffs and other U.S. international trade policies, and discuss how the housewares supply chain can weather this volatile regulatory environment.

CHESS is the International Housewares Association’s annual senior-level conference for industry leaders and will be held Oct. 2-3 in Rosemont, Ill. The conference’s theme, “Adapting in the Face of Change,” will explore the ongoing disruption in the retail marketplace brought on by the ever-growing options consumers have for purchasing products and the continuing challenges it poses for housewares suppliers. Along with tariffs and global trade, sessions will focus on critical issues affecting housewares including, shifting consumer demographics, consumers’ online behavior, digital and social marketing, trends shaping the retail landscape and more.

The annual Housewares Hot Seat Panel featuring top housewares executives will focus on “Reclaiming Control in the Digital Jungle” and lead off CHESS on Tuesday, Oct. 2. Answering questions from Peter Giannetti, editor-in-chief of HomeWorld Business, this year will be John (JC) Collins, president/CMO, Neatfreak and IHA’s 2018-19 Chairman of the Board; Thomas Nichols, president/CEO, Pretika; and Jayme Smaldone, founder/CEO, Mighty Mug. 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. The panel of housewares executives will explore what can be done to reduce the risks and reclaim control of a company’s sales and marketing futures.

Keynote sessions will feature Amy Herman of The Art of Perception 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:

  • “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.