blog: news + information from “the home authority”

IHA Trade Mission Explores Australian, New Zealand Markets

October 6th, 2015

Housewares suppliers interested in the home and housewares markets in Australia and New Zealand can meet with key retailers and learn more about the business climate during a trade mission to Sydney and Auckland Nov. 8 to 13 sponsored by the International Housewares Association. Spots are still available in the trade mission, which is limited to 12 IHA member companies.

In Sydney, key retailers include Big W, David Jones, Harris Scarfe, House, Howards Storage World, Myer, Peter’s of Kensington and TVSN.  In Auckland, targeted retailers include Farmers, Milly’s Kitchen Shop, Mitre 10, Nood, Smith & Caughey’s and The Warehouse.

IHA’s trade missions offer members turn-key introductions to international markets through retail tours and one-on-one retailer and distributor buyer meetings. Participation is limited so that companies will receive optimal exposure to the market and retail contacts.

“The registration fee includes meeting arrangements, group transportation and several group meals. IHA does all the work so participants can focus on their business rather than the logistical details,” explains Lori Szudarek, manager, international trade development.

Complete information and sign-up details for the trade mission are available on IHA’s website at

For more information about the trade mission or IHA’s international events and marketing opportunities, contact Lori Szudarek, manager, international trade development, at

ARC International’s Fred Dohn Elected to IHA Board Of Directors

September 17th, 2015

Fred Dohn, CEO Americas, ARC International, has been elected to the board of directors of the International Housewares Association (IHA), the full-service trade association for the housewares industry.

Dohn’s three-year term begins Oct. 1, 2015 and end Sept. 30, 2018.

Also elected were new board officers:

  • Chairman – Gary Seehoff, director and founder, Evriholder Products, LLC
  • Vice Chairman/Chairman Elect – Gregory Cairo, president, Groupe SEB USA
  • Treasurer – Brett Bradshaw, president, Bradshaw International, Inc.

All officers serve one-year terms from Oct. 1, 2015 to Sept. 30, 2016.

Retiring from the board is Keith Jaffee, chairman, O2 Cool. Re-appointed for a second three-year term were: Hildy Abrams, CEO, Gourmet Settings Inc., and Brett Bradshaw.

Dohn joined ARC International, a manufacturer and marketer of glass tableware, in 1987 and held various sales and marketing positions including Director of North American sales.  In 2001, he was named CEO of North America. In 2003, Dohn moved to France to work at the parent company, running the global B2B business and joining the executive management team. In 2007, he returned to the U.S. as CEO of the Americas.  In this capacity he has led a successful turnaround of the U.S. business.  In January 2016, the U.S. facilities will be expanded for the third time in the last 5 years. The company’s brands include Luminarc, Cristal d’arques and Chef & Somellier. Dohn started in the housewares industry in 1980 with Wakefern Foods as a housewares buyer for ShopRite supermarkets.

Seehoff founded Evriholder Products in 1994 after inventing its first two products, Twirl A Tie® and Twirl A Belt®.  He built the company into one of the largest distributors of housewares impulse products and programs, including kitchen, barware, cleaning, storage and bath & personal care categories. Prior to founding Evriholder, Seehoff was a partner and, for several years, managing partner at the consulting firm Duitch Franklin & Co., and before that was a manager at Touche Ross (now Deloitte & Touche) from 1984-87.

Cairo joined Groupe SEB USA as vice president of sales in August 2006, with responsibility for cookware and small domestic appliances for the Emeril, T-fal and WearEver brands. He was named president in January 2010 and currently oversees cookware and small domestic appliances for the All-Clad, IMUSA, KRUPS, Lagostina, Rowenta, T-fal and WearEver brands. Before joining Groupe SEB USA, Cairo served as the vice president for the Calphalon/WearEver Division of Newell Rubbermaid from 2000-04 and then with Global Home Products from 2004-06. He also serves on the board of the Cookware Manufacturers Association.

Bradshaw joined his family-owned company in 1994. A leading supplier of kitchen tools, bakeware and cookware marketed under the Good Cook, Betty Crocker, Bialetti and T-fal brands as well as various retailer private labels, the company was started in 1966 by brothers Doug and Ben Bradshaw and their father, Buzz. Before becoming the 4th generation in the family business, Bradshaw was a key account manager for Nestle from 1990-93.

Also serving on the IHA Board are: John (JC) Collins, president, global market and sales, Neatfreak; Evan Dash, CEO, StoreBound; Dave Elliott, general manager, KitchenAid Global Small Appliances and immediate past IHA chairman;  Richard Joseph, managing director, Joseph Joseph; Robert Kay, chairman/CEO, Taylor Precision Products, Inc.; Anthony E. Kircher, president, Winix; Daniel Oehy, president, Swissmar; Alejandro Peña, president, USA, Jarden Consumer Solutions; Paul Rowan, co-founder, Umbra LLC; David Sabin, CEO, The Fuller Brush Company; Jenna Sellers Miller, president, Architec; Will Symonds, president, DKB Household USA Corp.; and Philippe Trudeau, president, Trudeau Corporation.

Serving on the executive committee of the board are Gary Seehoff, Gregory Cairo, Brett Bradshaw, David Elliott, Daniel Oehy and John (JC) Collins.

Editors: To download digital photos of the IHA Board of Directors, go to


CHESS 2015 Executives to Discuss Innovation’s Opportunities + Obstacles

September 15th, 2015

Innovation is the lifeblood of product success and the innovation continuum is in constant motion and flux. How do successful housewares suppliers define innovation and implement it throughout all aspects of their business? Three housewares executives will explain how they manage innovation’s opportunities and obstacles during the annual “Housewares Hot-Seat” panel discussion to open the 2015 Chief Housewares Executive SuperSession (CHESS), Oct. 6-7 in Rosemont, Ill.

Answering “Lessons Learned Along the Innovation Continuum” will be John (JC) Collins, president, global marketing & sales, Neatfreak; Alejandro Peña, president USA, Jarden Consumer Solutions; and Will Symonds, president, DKB Household USA Corp. Peter Giannetti, editor-in-chief of HomeWorld Business, will moderate the discussion.

CHESS is the strategic and networking event for industry leaders. It is designed for chief officers of all IHA member companies and their top decision-makers. This year’s theme of “Concept to Consumer: Innovative Strategies for Reaching Your Market” will cover sessions on design and innovation, brand marketing, eCommerce, the Chinese market, supply chain revolution, retail trends and more.

Featured speakers include Carmen Nestares, director and category leader, Kitchen, at Amazon, who will explain how to reinvent brand marketing by going after “share of heart” instead. In her presentation, “Share of Heart: A New Way to Grow Your Business,” Nestares will draw on her extensive experience in consumer product marketing and her position at Amazon to explain how other companies have moved from trying to get a bigger piece to growing the total size of the business, and offer housewares executives insights on how to better work with Amazon.

Other sessions include:

  • Day 2 Keynote presentation, “The Future of Retail: Implications for the Housewares Industry,” by Dana Telsey, retail analyst, CEO and chief research officer at Telsey Advisory Group. A regular guest analyst on CNN and CNBC, Telsey will cover macro trends impacting the consumer, providing sub-sector perspectives from dollar stores to specialty retail and insights into disruptive retailers such as and PIRCH.
  • “Brand Shift: The Future of Brands and Marketing” by futurist David Houle, who will look at brands and marketing and what marketers must do to navigate the current and future disruptions of the next 5 to 10 years. Attendees will receive autographed copies of his book, “Brand Shift: The Future of Brands and Marketing.”
  • “Crowdfunding: The New Multi-Billion Dollar Launch Pad,” a panel discussion moderated by Evan Dash, CEO, Storebound, and featuring Terry Romero of Kickstarter; Mark Dziersk, managing director, LUNAR; and Michael Liebowitz, founder, Solid Design.
  •  “China Rising: How to Prepare for What’s Ahead” by John Manzella, president of Manzella Trade Communications, who will offer strategies for companies doing business in China and analyze the issues causing friction, including the emerging bilateral political and economic landscape.
  • “The Supply Chain Revolution” by Lee Clair, partner, Zubrod/Clair, who will explore the implications of eCommerce on the housewares supply chain and what companies must do to perform up to consumers’ expectations.
  • Networking breaks, luncheons and a cocktail reception and dinner also provide time for attendees to network and meet informally with speakers, industry service providers and their colleagues—the most valuable part of the program according to past participants.

To register for CHESS or for more information, visit the CHESS website at or contact Judy Colitz of IHA at
CHESS logo

SBA Support for Export Promotion – Financial Support for your Export Efforts

September 8th, 2015

You may already be familiar with the Small Business Administration’s State Trade and Export Promotion Pilot Initiative (CFDA# 59.061).

This program allows companies who are seeking to explore export markets to receive support from this combined state and federal government program. As their website states:

The State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) Program is a pilot export initiative to make matching-fund awards to states to assist small businesses enter and succeed in the international marketplace. Activities to support small business exporting under the STEP Program are provided to eligible small business concerns (“STEP Clients”) located in states, territories, and the District of Columbia.

The program’s objectives are to increase the number of U.S. small businesses that export and to increase the value of exports by small businesses.

STEP activities are managed and provided at the local level by state government organizations. The Program is managed at the national level by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of International Trade. The Program was appropriated $8,000,000 in in FY 2014 funding for the third round.

We would encourage you to see if your company might qualify for this assistance. For more information, please visit the SBA’s site at

How China’s Currency Policies Will Change the World

September 1st, 2015

China’s currency analyzed and how it will impact the entire world from an economic standpoint.


The recent fluctuations in China’s currency typify the best and worst of a globalized world, where developments in one place can instantly change the political and financial calculations of governments in others. For most of human history, the communities, cultures and economies of the world existed independently of one another, separated as they were by vast distances and difficult terrain. It would, for instance, take months or even years for news of China to reach Europe across the great Silk Road trading route during the height of its use some 1,000 years ago. Even then, the communities along that route could hardly be considered entirely coherent.

But that is clearly no longer the case. And now, as China continues to adjust the yuan, markets throughout the world will react accordingly, even as they react differently.


There were several reasons behind China’s decision, but it nevertheless came as a surprise to many. In search of stability, China has tied its currency to the U.S. dollar since 1994, usually at a low value relative to the dollar. During the 2000s, the connection helped China keep its exports competitive, with the developed world consuming its output. The West’s economic collapse in 2008 meant that this model could no longer function, and China began trying to grow consumption levels so that the domestic consumer might come to fill the hole left by the faded international market.

Changing China

Transforming from an export-led economic model to a consumption-led one could be described as changing from being like Germany to being like the United States, and China has tried to reproduce some of the advantages that the United States has created for itself in the same role. One of those advantages is the dominant position of the U.S. dollar in world trade, which means U.S. consumers can go deeply into debt and global demand for dollars will delay the moment at which this comes to a head by those debts being catastrophically called in. Thus China sought to grow international usage of the yuan, making strides in its attempts to do so. The next step would be for the yuan to be accepted into the International Monetary Fund’s “currency,” the Special Drawing Right. However, the IMF has said that China would need to liberalize its currency before such a step could take place. The IMF makes the decision every five years, with one originally set for November this year, though the institution recently announced that any changes will not be implemented until October 2016.

Meanwhile, the peg to the dollar aided China’s strategy as the strengthening dollar over the past two years enabled the yuan to rise alongside it relative to the world’s other floating currencies, empowering Chinese consumers and helping the changeover from an export- to consumption-based economy. But low global demand has not created a good climate for such change, and growth has been unsteady during this period, slipping to 7 percent this year. The baton pass from an export-driven to consumption-driven economy is risky, and exports need to hold up long enough for the Chinese consumer — and building blocks such as the reserve currency — to develop. When export numbers for July showed an 8.3 percent fall year-on-year, all signs seemed to point toward a loosening of controls, which would both please the IMF and, if the Chinese currency continued to weaken as many in the market expected it to, help boost exports.

The Repercussions

In the globalized world, where every economy is interconnected with every other economy, the effects of a shift like China’s can be felt everywhere. The world’s largest economies have tended to move in concert throughout modern financial history, with central banks choosing to tighten or loosen interest rates, often in quick succession. But actions over the past two years have diverged from the rule. While one group is now considering raising interest rates for the first time since 2008, another group is still pursuing quantitative easing programs, which are partly designed to devalue currencies and stimulate growth. China’s dislocation from the dollar, particularly if the yuan devalues further against the dollar, moves the country from the first group toward the second, with clear consequences:

The U.S. and U.K.

Following the 2008 crisis, the United States and the United Kingdom were arguably the first to adopt forthright monetary policies to stimulate their economies. Quantitative easing was pursued on both sides of the Atlantic, and, possibly as a result, these two economies have led the recovery in the past few years. Consequently, for the last 12 months the financial world has focused on a key question:When will the U.S. Federal Reserve raise interest rates for the first time since 2008? The Bank of England is wrestling with a similar dilemma. The interest rate rise will be seen as the first step toward “normality” following the extended period of ultra-low rates, and capital has flowed from emerging markets to the United States in anticipation.

Only sporadic growth and low productivity levels, along with stubbornly low inflation figures in both countries, have caused their central banks to delay the rate rise, but recent strong job creation figures led many in the market to expect the United States to make the change in September 2015 (and the United Kingdom in early-to-mid 2016). The U.S. economy does not particularly rely on exports, insulating it from some of the drawbacks of currency strength, which usually hurts exports. But China’s latest move creates another currency against which the dollar can appreciate. Now, a rate hike would likely strengthen the dollar even more, to the extent that it might become an issue for the U.S. economy. China’s reshuffle, then, may have changed the answer to the biggest financial question of the year; market expectations for the rate rise have slipped back to December and may even move to 2016.

Emerging Markets

Emerging markets have suffered a torrid few years. Commodity exporters in Asia, Africa and Latin America enjoyed a boom period between 2000 and 2008, when China was consuming their raw materials as part of its production machine and Chinese investment sustained prices for a few years after. But global commodity prices have fallen since 2011, with the economies of Brazil, Nigeria, Russia and several parts of Asia suffering the most, as evidenced by their steadily falling currencies. The yuan’s depreciation reduces China’s spending power, and unsurprisingly emerging market currencies have continued to decline. Every time the yuan weakens, it creates more problems for these countries, as many welcomed Western capital during the good times and now have sizable dollar-denominated loans on private balance sheets that are becoming harder to pay back.

Japan and the Eurozone

Meanwhile, the depreciating yuan has made Japan and the eurozone’s currencies float upward. The development is problematic because both have undertaken quantitative easing policies, in part to devalue their currencies.

Since coming to power in December 2012, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been pursuing a three-pronged strategy designed to shock Japan out of its economic funk of the past two decades. The first of these “arrows” has involved monetary easing, partly to drop the yen’s value and stimulate export-led growth and inflation. The plan has not been working. Inflation has remained stubbornly far below its 2 percent target, exports in July were down from the year before, and growth has been highly unreliable, with second-quarter GDP shrinking at an annualized rate of 1.6 percent. Even before China’s currency reorganization, talk had begun that the pace of quantitative easing, already redoubled in 2014, would need to be boosted further. Falling Asian currencies relative to Japan will only increase these calls, but there are complications to redoubling quantitative easing.

So-called Abenomics has been losing public support. Even within the administration, Abe and Bank of Japan head Haruhiko Kuroda have been divided on the best way to proceed. The former has pushed for more easing. The latter, perhaps more aware of the complications from the Bank of Japan already owning a sizable portion of the available market in Japanese sovereign bonds, has pushed for fiscal consolidation. This difference of opinion over Abe’s decisions, such as to delay a planned consumption tax hike, and other policies regarding Japan’s military, have garnered the administration its lowest popularity rating since coming to power (in July it was 38 percent, down from 46 percent in June). Abe’s grand experiment is on the ropes, constraining the prime minister’s ability to double down both politically and economically. The time may be approaching for Abenomics to be called off. Under such circumstances, it is hard to imagine Abe remaining in his post.

In Europe, the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing program has also weakened the currency, improving eurozone economies. Talk about the ECB extending quantitative easing past its scheduled end in September 2016 has already begun. The decision would not technically be as problematic as in Japan, since Europe’s quantitative easing has not gone on as long and the ECB could overcome any lack of available bonds by extending its own self-imposed limits to purchase more sovereign bonds. Still, if Europe considers extending its program, there could be difficulties convincing Germany of quantitative easing’s merits, potentially creating undue political issues at a time when the Continent is already deeply fragmented.

How China’s Currency Policies Will Change the World is republished with permission of Stratfor.

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