When the recession hit, the licensed housewares category felt it. In the interest of saving money, consumers either weren’t buying things for their homes or were purchasing less expensive private label brands. But now it seems that licensed housewares are making a comeback in consumers’ homes.
“We are seeing the pendulum slowly swing from private label brands back to licensed products as retailers respond to consumer requests and demands for pop culture brands,” says Andrea Brent, vice-president, Brand Central LLC. “Retailers are taking action by broadening their assortments and creating more relevant offerings, which includes bringing back licensed brands and products they cut during the height of the recession.”
Austin Katz, vice-president of Brand Sense Partners, says that getting retail space and the consumer’s attention has been a challenge in recent years because the quality of private label brands has improved. But Brand Sense is seeing signs that consumers will come back to licensed brands. “There has been far more interest in licensees realizing the need to grow the business, as well as put capital in place to secure the right brands for their own growth,” Katz says. “Now we’re starting to see people get back out to market and look for opportunities. People are looking for growth opportunities now more than they have been. For us, that’s a signal that buying behavior is going to improve.”
So what then will consumers buy? The housewares category has always been about furniture, kitchen appliances, home décor, and the like. And consumers will continue to purchase these types of items. “Sustainable products and packaging are becoming increasingly important to manufacturers in the home and housewares category,” says Brand Central’s Brent. “Many are switching to green, eco-friendly materials in their core product lines or offering a separate eco-branded version of the product.” She says that Brand Central is looking to bring its eco-friendly client Seventh Generation into the licensed housewares sector.
HGTV, which is represented by The Beanstalk Group for licensing, worked with Sherwin-Williams for an exclusive line of branded paint and painting supplies. The paint is eco-friendly, has virtually no odor, and will be competitively priced, says Allison Ames, senior vice-president, brand management, Beanstalk Group. “Our products reflect the equity of the brand,” she says. “Not just providing great style but solutions for consumers.”
What consumers will always look for from licensed housewares is value, both in price and quality. According to Joanne Loria, executive vice-president, The Joester Loria Group, there is a sweet spot for which licensors and licensees should aim. “If a [licensed product] can deliver quality and a premium brand name at a price that’s slightly above your private label but below your high-end, it turns out to be very profitable,” she says.
The Beanstalk Group:
HGTV expands it collection of licensed products with the launch of the HGTV HOME brand and three new product lines. First is the HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams collection of interior paint and painting supplies. Shaw Industries will launch HGTV HOME-Flooring next month. The HGTV HOME fashion bedding collection from Victoria Classics (pictured) also launches next month.
Brand Central LLC:
Brand Central will look for new partnerships for its clients, such as The Kellogg Company and Dr Pepper Snapple Group, in the areas of food preparation items, tabletop products, and kitchen appliances.
The Licensing Company:
Quickie Manufacturing introduces the Lysol Clean-Flip Sweeper. Featuring the power of Lysol, the Clean-Flip offers the ability to disinfect while it cleans. The Lysol Clean-Flip Sweeper Starter Kit includes a sweeper, two wet cloths, and two dry cloths.
Brand Sense Partners:
Brand Sense Partners recently signed Talentone as a licensee for the Hamilton Beach brand. Talentone will produce a line of stick and handheld vacuums.
The Joester Loria Group:
Entenmann’s new licensee Euro Ware will unveil a new Entenmann’s Bakeware collection this year that includes three lines: Entenmann’s Classic, which is a basic line; Entenmann’s Ultimate, which features heavy gauge carbon steel with molded silicone handles; and Entenmann’s Mini, which is a line of child-friendly bakeware.
Broad Street Licensing Group:
The Culinary Institute of America’s (CIA) Master’s Collection is a line of essential tools for novice and experienced cooks. Since its introduction in 2005, more than 100 SKUs have been introduced, including cookware, cutlery, gadgets, and bakeware, covering a wide range of functions.
For the Duraflame brand, Global Icons signed licensee Twin-Star International to produce electric heaters and fireplaces (shown). For the Jarden brand, SmarTek USA, Inc., is producing Sunbeam-branded garment care products, including large garment steamers, closet purifiers, pant presses, mini sewing machines, and clothing shavers.