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Eyes On The Unexpected Prize

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Independent kitchenware retailers barely get a chance to add up their holiday receipts before hitting the road for the busy winter gift and home trade show circuit with domestic stops in Atlanta, Dallas, Las Vegas and New York before shifting overseas to Frankfurt then returning to the U.S. for the big finale in Chicago.

Shopping these shows is an annual ritual of hope, discovery and renewal. The planning foundations set by these early-year shopping journeys are always important, and they have been rendered even more vital amid the challenges and uncertainty that are everyday norms of retailing these days.

With so much at stake, there’s no better time to rethink how you work these trade shows. Consider altering some routines that may have served you well once but now might bypass some less obvious opportunities that could make the difference later between a good quarter of sales and a great one. It’s natural to top-prioritize reconnections with primary and even secondary vendors at these shows. Such relationships solidify the core of your business. But a vendor or two or three yet to crack your “A” and “B” lists might hold promising new products, categories and ideas that could emerge to help reinforce that core in the near and far terms.

Consider items that previously haven’t seemed like an ideal fit but could become surprise bottom-line contributors with help from an open mind and a little creative merchandising tenacity. Do whatever it takes to view and work each show a bit differently. You won’t miss those prospects that should already be fairly obvious, but you might find an unexpected prize that makes the journey well worth it when you add up your holiday receipts this time next year.

Retailers seeking prized opportunities at the winter trade shows should explore two special product awards programs: The Gourmet Gold Housewares Awards during the Dallas Total Home & Gift Market; and the 2017 Housewares Design Awards during the Las Vegas Market. GOURMET INSIDER® is the media sponsor of the Gourmet Gold Housewares Awards, presented by the Dallas Market Center to the best new products at the show. The award ceremony is set for January 19 at 5 p.m. in the Atrium of DMC’s World Trade Center.

The 2017 Housewares Design Awards, presented by Gourmet Insider sister publication, HOMEWORLD BUSINESS®, and hosted by the Las Vegas Market, will honor innovation in 12 categories during a special ceremony January 24, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on B16 at the World Market Center Las Vegas.

An exhibit of this year’s 60 Housewares Design Awards finalists will run during the show on C11 adjacent to several gourmet housewares showrooms. The awards ceremony also will feature the inaugural presentation of the Housewares Design Awards “Design Influencer of the Year,” presented to Mo Mullen on behalf of West Elm Local. Tickets are available at housewaresdesignawards.com

Please join us in these celebrations of housewares product excellence. You never know what you might discover.


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