What to Expect at the Home + Housewares Show
The International Home + Housewares Show starts tomorrow morning, and I am getting excited! This year, I get to accompany a group of buyers as they check out the latest products and trends, and will be bringing you updates from the show here at MySears.
For my first post in the series, I sat down with some of the buyers last week to hear what they’re looking forward seeing at the show.
What section of the show will you be at?
Ashley: I’ll be in the Wired+Well pavilion, looking at small kitchen appliances like blenders, coffeemakers, sewing machines, and As Seen on TV products.
Audie: I buy everything from coat hangers and wardrobe organizers to storage totes and wicker baskets. So I’ll be in the Clean + Contain pavilion.
Megan: I’ll be in the Dine+Design pavilion, checking out cookware, bakeware, cutlery and gadgets.
Andrea: I’ll also be in Dine+Design, looking at tabletop items: glassware, dinnerware, flatware and hydration.
Dennis: I’ll be at the Travel Goods Show, which is going on simultaneously at McCormick place, looking at luggage.
I know you have a lot of meetings with vendors set up already. What are you hoping to accomplish in these meetings?
Ashley: For many of our vendors, this is the first time they get to showcase what’s new for 2011, what we can put in stores for the fall.
Audie: Our vendor meetings are to review existing business and learn what new products they have. This year, a lot of the conversation will probably be around how to offset the rising price of commodities while guaranteeing quality for our customers.
Dennis: We prepare folders for each vendor and go over the business: subsidy amounts, strategic direction for 2012, underperforming items, or any other issues. We also want to see sample products for the fall.
I know some of you also plan to spend time just walking around the trade show floor. What will you be looking for then?
Ashley: Mostly products with new technology and designs that bring additional features our customers will find useful.
Audie: This year we’ve seen a trend towards colorful and decorative storage alternatives, like fabric bins and baskets that can be put in plain sight on a shelf. We’re looking for more of that, and also modular items that customers can piece together to fit their needs.
Megan: I see a lot of trendy new technology and design at the show, but a lot of that can be very pricey. So I think about how to pare it down, and look for products that create the same look and feel of a $100 item, for less.
Dennis: Right now one of our goals is to make sure we offer something for everyone, so I’m looking to diversify our assortment.