By Allison Zisko
Rogaska crystal is already in many American households, yet it is not a household name. The director of the 345-year-old crystal company wants to change that, and is embarking on an ambitious branding campaign in the U.S. market.
“We are one of the key players in the business already,” said Bostjan Leskovar, director of the Slovenian company, which for years has manufactured for many of the big-brand crystal companies (he estimates that about one in five crystal products available at retail are made by Rogaska). “But to the consumer we are not as well known. [We want] Rogaska to be a household name in crystal.”
The company has outlined a two-tiered product strategy and established American headquarters in New York at Forty One Madison Avenue. It has warehouses in New Jersey and Jamaica, N.Y.
Rogaska’s stemware, barware and giftware are classified as either premium or everyday. Rogaska Pegasus 1665 (referred to internally as “black label” because of its black packaging), consists of handmade, design-oriented product. This is the brand builder, and is positioned at the high-end of the retail market for retail customers such as Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s, Barney’s, Michael C. Fina and other specialty stores. Retail prices reflect that positioning: a set of two stems retails for between $100 and $200.
The second tier, Rogaska Crystal (referred to as its blue label product because of its blue packaging), is geared toward the moderate-price market with more proven designs for everyday use. Targeted at department and specialty stores, the line’s prices average around $100 for a set of two stemmed glasses.
Rogaska recently signed two licensing agreements that reflect this product strategy. Through an agreement with Trump Home, Rogaska can showcase its premium product. The line, unveiled at the New York Tabletop Show last month, has a masculine edge and includes many products suitable for corporate gift-giving.
A new Kathy Ireland product line is geared toward women, with an emphasis on hearth and home. It will be more moderately priced.
Several tabletop companies will continue to market and distribute Rogaska product. Reed & Barton offers the best-selling SoHo stemware and giftware pattern, now marketed under the Reed & Barton name.
DeVine Corporation is distributing an exclusive collection of premium products that bear the Rogaska name. They were designed to enhance the Limoges and sterling silver tabletop brands that DeVine offers.
Although business has slowed in the high-end market and consumer interest in formal products like crystal has waned, Leskovar is convinced there will always be a customer for beautifully designed, high-quality product. “We think now is the best time to position our brand,” he said.