First Housewares Conference wins praise from delegates

More than 120 delegates packed into the ballroom of the Millennium Mayfair Hotel in London yesterday for the inaugural Housewares Conference – and gave the event a resounding thumbs up!

First Housewares Conference wins praise from delegates

Organisers and Housewares Magazine have already received a host of congratulatory and complimentary messages, amongst them this from Amie Laurie of Selfridges’ home buying office: “Lucy [Holden] and I found the day fascinating and a great opportunity to hear from some extremely influential bodies in the housewares industry. We would definitely be keen to make it an annual event.”

And Caroline Holford, product category manager with Salter, agrees: “Thank you very much for organising such a great conference – looking forward to the next one already!!” she says. “I thought that the whole day was a huge success; great speakers – interesting, informative, diverse; great food – well done Brian Turner! And the whole day just flowed!

“I especially thought that Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen was a high note to end on – he was a great speaker.”

Eddingtons’ marketing manager Sonia Spencer thought the day was “thoroughly informative and enjoyable. I particularly enjoyed the presentation by Kathy Tierney (of Sur La Table), which gave an insight into the housewares industry overseas, as well as the inspiring talk given by Pepita Diamand (of Wrapit). I would certainly recommend this event to retailers and suppliers alike.”

Speaker Kathy Tierney, ceo of US housewares chain Sur La Table, addressed the issue of marketing the retailer as a brand, while Wrapit retail director Pepita Diamand encouraged delegates to explore the wedding list market.

GfK business group director Erol Sukan presented new market research on housewares sales, and Steamer Trading managing director Ben Phillips talked about the opportunities for independent cookshop retailers.

Other speakers included John Lewis Partnership’s buying director for home departments, Maureen Dunn, on some of the opportunities in the broader field of homewares, and Neil Gow, director of the Garden Industry Manufacturers Association discussing whether garden centres are a threat or an opportunity for cookshops.

The conference closed with a thought-provoking performance from designer Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, in which he ranged across future design trends, the questionable value of celebrity endorsements, and what colour Addis should adopt for its next range of bins.

“We’re hugely encouraged by the response to the first Housewares Conference,” said publisher Colin Petty. “We believed there was a need for a networking event which would bring together people from all quarters of the housewares market, and the market seems to agree with us. This inaugural conference has given us a very solid platform on which to build for the future.”

Look out for more from the Housewares Conference on over the next few days.

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