A Celebration of Design and Innovation

Phil Brandl

Phil Brandl

Welcome to the 2011 International Home + Housewares Show featuring 2,000 exhibitors from five continents and 60,000 housewares professionals from 100 countries.

While this show attendance is great news it is not the best news. The best news is that the housewares industry, which drove sales and margin increases for many retailers last fall, is represented by well over 20,000 new products from seasoned exhibitors and is a destination for nearly 500 new exhibitors who are eager to share their latest designs.

As proof that the show has become a design destination, we invite each buyer attendee to visit our newest category, Discover Design. Headquartered in the South Building, adjacent to other destinations such as the Cooking Theater and the Buyers Club, Discover Design offers a showcase for new-to-the-show, design-minded companies. The 70 exhibiting companies and brands include standouts such as Blomus, Hermes – Otto, Modern Twist, Robert Welch and Stelton.

Next to the exhibits is the Discover Design Gallery, which makes it easy for buyers and news media to get a quick look at the best of the best in Discover Design. Each company has submitted its premier products for the Gallery and they are eligible for the first-ever Global Innovator Awards for product innovation. What better place for buyers to go shopping for what’s new?

This year we made it easier for attendees to prepare for the show with the introduction of Housewares Connect 365, a year-round destination located on IHA’s website at housewares.org. HC365 offers buyers the opportunity to view product photos and catalogs before they set out for Chicago. It’s easy to spot new exhibitors. And it’s even easier to plan your visit, create a custom floor plan and even communicate with exhibitors to set up appointments—so you can hit the show floor running.

Buyers are telling us that using Housewares Connect 365 to prepare for the show is like adding another day for them. And they love the chance to get an early look at the new offerings that exhibitors are only showing on HC365.  

As ever, the show is our industry’s destination for learning as well as finding new products and suppliers. In addition to our well-attended annual presentations on trends by Tom Mirabile and on color by Lee Eiseman, this year the show looks at how supermarkets can grow their profits through effective merchandising with the help of Phil Lempert, the Supermarket Guru. Add to this the full roster of speakers on design, innovation, sustainability, market trends and other pertinent subject at the Design Theater and a visit to the show begins to look like a post-graduate course in housewares knowledge.

Many of you tell us that your show time is precious and you may not have time to visit these learning opportunities. So we have solved that problem for you. Each of the show’s educational events is available for download as a podcast the day after it is presented so you can get the full benefit of the show.

Welcome to Chicago and our best wishes for a profitable and successful show.

Phil Brandl is the president of the International Housewares Association. He can be reached at pbrandl@housewares.org.