blog: news + information from “the home authority”

Pace Solutions International: Global Distribution Network Expansion

May 20th, 2015

Doug Taeckens, a former IHA Board liaison to the IBC, has started an international sales consulting practice: Pace Solutions International. Acting as your VP International Sales he will build a global distribution network expanding sales into appropriate markets. Doug has extensive international sales experience working with Housewares and Gift channel distributors. He has successfully led international expansion at Evercare, Jokari and Scentsible. Doug plans to be at the 2015 IBC Global Forum and can be reached at or at +1.817-964-8527.


2015 IBC Global Forum Speaker Overview

May 20th, 2015

The 2015 International Business Council (IBC) Global Forum will take place in Mexico City on June 14-16. All IHA members who are interested in growing their international sales should attend to learn from and network with industry peers and key retailers.

High-profile topics and speakers confirmed to present include:

Executive Education: Brand Portfolio Management: It’s “Decision Time” for Managing Growth

thunderbirdAs a business leader you are faced with tough decisions to manage and deliver profitable growth. What will be the main drivers of your companies’ future success? Focus on and build current products/brands or develop a new offering and a new brand?

In this inspiring and experiential executive education session and workshop, Professor Richard Ettenson will highlight the fact that business leaders’ ability to build their product and brand portfolios often far outstrips their ability to coherently manage these strategic assets. IBC members will discover how to employ the straightforward five-step Brand Portfolio Renewal Tool to optimize companies’ brand portfolios. Presented by: Dr. Richard Ettenson, Professor, Thunderbird School of Global Management

Retail Overview: Canadian Tire, Canada

Canadian TireWith more than 440 retail locations throughout Canada, Canadian Tire is a one of Canada’s most renowned and successful retailers, offering customers the convenience and leadership of three specialty stores under one roof – automotive, sports, leisure, and home products. James Ryan, Vice-President of Living Merchandise will present information on working with Canadian Tire, discussing how this retail giant selects products and works with preferred suppliers.

Retail Overview: HEB Mexico, Mexico

HEBA division of Texas-based HEB, HEB Mexico has 50 stores in Mexico with a concentration in the North East region of the country. With plans to expand into Central Mexico, Daniela Romero, Buyer of Kitchen Products, Tableware and China, will discuss the buying practices of HEB and what their expansion plans offer in terms of opportunities to home and housewares product suppliers.

Retail Overview: Steamer Trading, UK

steamer tradingEstablished in 1985, Steamer Trading is a specialty chain of 34 cook shops in England. gia (IHA Global Innovation Award) global honoree in 2010, Steamer Trading offers over 10,000 products aimed at the mid and high end market, with focus on key brands and product sectors. Managing Director, Ben Phillips, will discuss how he and his team select and source products for his highly successful and unique chain of shops.


Market Overview: ICONO, Mexico

ICONOAs a successful distributor in the Mexico Market, ICONO has a firm handle on how to manage their retail clients as well as the type of home and housewares products appeal to the consumers within Mexico. With much success distributing branded housewares consumer products throughout Mexico, Miguel Mesinas, Director, will give insight into retail trends and consumer preferences within this market.

Attend the 2015 IBC Global Forum to learn from and network with these and other key buyers and industry influencers. For more information and to register to attend, visit or contact Lori Szudarek directly at



2015 IBC Global Forum Program Overview

May 19th, 2015

The 2015 International Business Council (IBC) Global Forum will take place in Mexico City on June 14-16. All IHA members who are interested in growing their international sales should attend to learn from and network with industry peers and key retailers.

The three-day conference has several educational and networking elements including:

IBC 101: International Essentials

IBC 101 is an optional session designed for those new to IBC and/or new to export. Meet the IBC Board of Directors and IHA staff while learning about international essentials through a presentation led by industry veteran and former IBC Board members, Jeff Murphy of Wilton Brands. Market selection, export mechanics, distribution models, international pricing and INCO terms are among the topics that will be covered.

Educational Sessions

The core of the Global Forum is a strong educational program where retailers, distributors and key influencers share their insight and vision into their businesses and markets. The 2015 Global Forum will feature speakers from HEB Mexico, ICONO Mexico, Canadian Tire and Steamer Trading UK. Additionally, popular Professor Richard Ettenson, from the Thunderbird School of Global Management, will lead an informative session on branding.


Throughout the conference, attendees will have frequent opportunities to meet and network during lunches, receptions and dinners. And, two dedicated Networking Sessions are scheduled to discuss current topics that are relevant to your specific business issues and concerns.

Mexico City Retail Tour

Learn first-hand about the retail market by visiting Mexico City’s key housewares retailers on the Mexico City Retail Tour. View product assortments and pricing for competitive benchmarking and to prepare sales plans. Among that stores that the tour will visit are: Casa Palacio, The Home Store, Liverpool, Tiendas Chedraui and Soriana, Palacio de Hierro, Sears, Móbica Sears.

Tabletop Tradeshow

Attendees have the opportunity to showcase a several products to Mexican and Central American home and housewares retail buyers and distributors at the Tabletop Tradeshow. This event is an easy, effective and low-cost way to introduce your company and product lines directly to buyers!

For more information and to register to attend, visit or contact Lori Szudarek directly at



Exports to Mexico – Positive Reports

May 15th, 2015

One of the world’s most dynamic trading relationships exists between the U.S. and our neighbor to the south, Mexico. With approximately $ 1.5 billion in goods crossing our borders daily, Mexico is the U.S.’ third largest trading partner and second largest export customer.

Much of Mexico’s economic progress in recent years has come through the integration of the North American market including the U.S. and Canada. These deepening ties among manufacturing, agriculture and service industries in the NAFTA area have helped to create pro-growth market conditions and vibrant business and consumer demands that are being experienced today.

The upcoming Global Forum in Mexico City offers members of IHA’s International Business Council a great opportunity for gathering – to affirm existing relationships, and also to initiate new business connections while visiting a hospitable, adjacent market that is primed for solid growth.

In 2014 U.S. housewares exports to Mexico totaled $513 million which represented 16.5% and 21.9% gains over 2013 and 2012 respectively. Ranking second only to Canada in terms of market size, Mexico currently holds 11% of U.S. housewares export market share. This trend is steadily increasing.

Every category of housewares exports to Mexico increased in 2014 compared to 2013. Bakeware rose 3.5%; cookware grew 35%; the largest dollar volume category – household electrics – soared 22.4%; personal care increased 5.3%; space organizers gained 9.1%; and tabletop rose 21.9%. The actual dollar values are displayed in the table below.

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 9.39.17 AM

With a largely urban population of 120 million persons and a median age of 27 years, nearly 55 percent of Mexicans are considered wealthy or middle class. Per capita income is $15,600 and consumers are increasingly better educated. Combined with large scale diverse infrastructure programs that include new housing developments in urban areas throughout the country, the current and future prospects for increased housewares demand is very favorable. For example U.S. housewares products that demonstrated sizable sales in Mexico in 2014 are:

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 9.39.29 AM

Some current market conditions to be aware of when further developing your business strategy in Mexico are:

  • The GDP growth rate at 2.4% is anticipated to rise over the 2-3 years. Inflation is relatively low.
  • Mexico is seeking to become competitive globally by engaging in reforms in key areas such as labor, finance, education, telecommunications and energy policy. These efforts are enabling Mexico to create a case for effectively competing with Asian economies and which in turn should help to grow its internal economy.
  • The National Infrastructure Program of 2014 worth nearly $600 billion representing public/private investments in transportation, communications, water treatment, public health, housing and urban development and tourism will influence even more global investor attention toward Mexico.
  • Quality of life standards are improving in Mexico. Initiatives in support of green buildings, LEED certification and sustainable development are in demand.
  • Upgraded transportation networks via roadways, ports and airports will help ensure efficient product distribution, particularly at heavily trafficked border crossings like Laredo/Nuevo Laredo, Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana.
  • There is an historic and increasingly shared culture with the U.S.
  • Mexican consumers like and demand U.S. products and new technologies.
  • Communications systems are excellent.
  • Mexico has adopted a pro-active posture in negotiating free trade agreements with other countries and trading blocs. This positioning should help Mexico to be flexible on a global basis as a viable platform for business. Currently, the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) is being negotiated in which the U.S. and Mexico are partnering with nations accounting for over 40% of global trade. The anticipated results of TPP are business expansion and trade development for both nations.
  • The Federal Government is a stable democracy and the relations between our leaders, Presidents Obama and Nieto, is open and agreeable.

Other practical considerations for your market planning in Mexico at the micro/firm level are:

  • 93% of the populace speaks Spanish; therefore, marketing materials should be translated into Spanish. It will be beneficial for houseware company officials to know a little Spanish and for your agents/distributors to be fully conversant in the language.
  • Mexico covers a large geographic area. Housewares exporters should take time to qualify and engage more than one agent if coverage is desired for the entire market; and if warehousing is needed, should aim to evaluate stocking distributors with the logistics, customs and marketing experience desired. At the same time, housewares exporters are responsible to develop a serious working relationship with your agents/distributors including providing support in terms of product training, marketing support, adequate samples, technical support and parts as needed.
  • It is fine for business to get started by email or other written form of expression, but developing a lasting business relationship should take place directly by telephone and in person.
  • Over 100 million cellphones and 20 million landline phones are in use in Mexico, and they are growing in terms of popularity for marketing purposes, as is the internet with over 45 million users. Print publicity and retail point of purchase displays are popular and telemarketing is gaining as a marketing strategy.
  • Large international companies, retail or otherwise in Mexico, may try to replicate the marketing strategy that they employ in their home and other international markets unless that is proven to be ineffective. Mexican consumers may look to do business with such companies where they know what to expect in terms of marketing practices and quality standards.
  • Access to credit has been difficult for the past few years and it has particularly impacted small-medium size Mexican importers that may seek longer payment terms from housewares exporters. Mexico lending rates are higher than in the U.S. and you may consider having a U.S. Commercial Service office conduct a background check on potential partners as part of your due diligence.
  • Similarly, the Mexican legal system is different than the U.S. system and housewares exporters should consult qualified counsel before contracting with Mexican partners.

There are good reasons for experienced housewares exporters to continue growing business in Mexico and for new-to-market exporters to plan market entry. Mexico is a youthful market with a dynamic future. Mexico has succeeded in identifying and overcoming problems as it continues improving. At the same time the North American market is establishing itself as an effective strategic economic partnership. Your time and energies are well spent with our neighbor to the South! Enjoy the Global Forum!

Report and analysis by: Laura Spingola, Trade Resources Ltd., Chicago, IL +1.312.939.5030 /

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Looking for an Experienced Canadian PR Firm?

April 27th, 2015

Gourmetbuzz Inc. is a Canadian marketing and public relations company with counterparts in the USA as well to cover your home and housewares PR needs. Long term public relations can be an investment in the brand and the visibility of a firm or individual that results in increased recognition and reputation. With over 17 years of marketing and PR experience in the home and housewares industry, Nancy Whitmore of Gourmetbuzz Inc. is known for creating collaborative partnerships to promote new products and maintain interest and excitement around existing products.

For addition details note: Download further details or contact Gourmetbuzz directly at: +1.289-231-4466 or

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