26433 Tue, 11/06/2012 - 10:38am
By Allison Zisko
Tabletop vendors, who over recent years have sharpened their market presentations to focus on niche opportunities at retail, brought energy to last month’s New York Tabletop Show by capitalizing on categories such as serveware, barware and giftware, and by delving deeper into a number of strong fashion trends.
Lifetime Brands continued its strategy of coordinating designs across several categories in key patterns; expanded its Brewmasters program that caters to beer aficionados; introduced a collection called Excellence Everyday, a bridal program designed to make crystal choices easy and affordable (sets of six stemware or barware items retail for $39.99); and launched several accessory pieces and patterns to enhance popular long-standing patterns in its Countryside franchises.
Gibson’s plan for its expanding its Isaac Mizrahi collection is to present statement collections in key colorways, and then layer in new items across all categories and in different materials with each season. It has also reassessed its Nambé dinnerware line and edited it down to include complete collections in key patterns, according to Grace Saari, Gibson’s brand marketing director.
Lenox launched two new licensed collections—Scalamandré by Lenox and Kathy Ireland Home by Gorham—and celebrated its long-standing partnership with designer Kate Spade with a number of giftable items such as paperweights, candlesticks and sets of four stems (in kate spade new york’s Larabee Dot) for $50. Dansk, meanwhile, introduced color to its Classic Fjord dinnerware and launched Kobenstyle dinnerware to complement the cookware range reintroduced in the spring.
Waterford entered the scented candle category with its Illuminology collection and expanded the Lismore Diamond franchise with colored crystal giftware (in red and blue). It introduced its “global retail solution” program, a revamp of the shop concept for both the Waterford and Wedgwood brands, and updated Marquis packaging to freshen its look and appeal to a younger demographic, featuring white pinstripes on a silver gray background and a broad purple band. “It’s much cleaner and more sophisticated, yet approachable,” said Michael Craig, group vice president, Americas, WWRD.
Rogaska also catered to a younger demographic with a two-tiered approach to the crystal category. It introduced an opening price point line called Celebrations and a slightly higher-priced line called Crystal Luxe that offers more design-conscious offerings at a slightly higher retail. Bright orange and blue packaging is meant to draw attention to the brand.
Oneida expanded its assortment of 65-piece flatware sets with four new patterns to appeal to brides, and changed its packaging to include a peek-a-boo window. It added to its giftable baby line; expanded its carded program of impulse-buy flatware; and introduced an accessory-laden off-white dinnerware collection called Viviana. In its licensed Echo line, retail interest has centered on the heavily detailed and printed patterns, according to Ross Patterson, business director-tabletop for Robinson Home Products, and this is where it offered new accessories such as large bowls and small dipping plates. It also presented a mug wall in Echo to show the diversity of pattern. “It definitely brings something new to housewares,” Patterson said. “It brings quality casual to housewares.”
The highly giftable mug category remains strong, and many vendors either entered or expanded their mug assortments. BIA Cordon Bleu, which has a private label mug business with coffee shops, is bringing in its own designs for the retail market. Mugs’ quick turns, low prices and impulsivity account for their strength in a tough economy, said President Paul Baughman.
Fashion trends at the show expanded looks that have been building momentum. Vintage styles are strong, exemplified by objects such as Mason jars, which have been converted into stemware as well as beverage dispensers, and lace details—seen in numerous dinnerware patterns including Philippe Deshouliere’s Coquine, Mikasa’s Vintage Lace, Waterford’s Lismore Lace Platinum and the aforementioned Oneida Viviana collection. Swirled glass serveware, as seen from Gibson, Prima Designs and Waterford, among others, has gained momentum. Birds remain a popular design motif, and at this market they appeared in or alongside filigree cages. This look was evidenced in Mikasa’s Aveline, Nikko’s Artist Arbor, Maxwell and Williams’ Aviary and Lenox’s Collage collection by Alice Drew.
Hammered or pebbled finishes, a strong staple in flatware, have extended to crystal and glass collections, such as those by Prima Design and Mikasa (its new Pebblestone bar and gift collection) and Moser, which expanded its popular Pebbles barware with a new shade of green. Finally, stackable items—not new but more prominent—were showcased by Arc International (glassware), Mikasa Gourmet Basics (dinnerware) and others, and tested by Italian glassware company Vetri delle Venezie, which will officially launch its collection of drinkware that promises to stack without friction, scratching or breakage in Frankfurt next February.