Inspired by Nature: Charles Viancin Group
Charles Viancin formed the company in 2005 and celebrates its 10th anniversary with its ninth
appearance at the International Home + Housewares Show. While Viancin spent time in Asia, he was inspired by the beautiful form of a water lily in bloom. He sketched his first product—and the LilyPad® lid started the company that makes attractive and functional products for healthy cooking. The LilyPad’s playful design became the company’s biggest seller. Their affordable, colorful kitchenware items, such as chopping boards, drinkware accessories, food storage and cookware lids, are made of BPA-free silicone. Products are durable, flexible and easy to clean – even the multi-functional kitchen towels and aprons incorporate silicone pads so cooks can quickly grip a hot dish.
Based in Seynod, France, Charles Viancin began distributing its products in Japan in 2011 and in the United States in 2012 and opened branches in Canada, New Zealand and Australia. The success of the brand abroad prompted Charles Viancin to expand to Europe in 2014 with the addition of a new branch in the U.K. and the launch of an online shop in 2015. Columbus, Ohio is home to the company’s U.S. operations.
Today we are speaking with Ben Johnson, president of Charles Viancin USA. Prior to his partnership with Charles Viancin, Ben had complimentary businesses headquartered in Columbus. His industry experience includes Blend Sales and Marketing, a rep group covering 26 states; Bink Davies, which has two retail stores; and Gratewares, a specialty grocery housewares management company.
Where does the Charles Viancin Group find inspiration when designing new products?
Always from nature, sometimes from simple inspirations and we certainly always listen to our customers. They have given us amazing ideas.
Are there any specific designers, places or eras that influence you?
The beauty of being inspired by nature is that is surrounds us constantly. We, of course, pay attention to the marketplace but it’s great being able to find true inspiration elsewhere.
How do you choose which idea to take to the next step — to product development?
There are so many factors, but it is usually a strong group effort and financial planning. Every once in a while a trump card is played and pays off.
How do you identify the key user audience for your products?
We have been identified as a “ping pong” product, which I had never heard of. Meaning that we appeal to both a young and older audience. We sell just as well in the gift environment as we do in the true gourmet housewares world.
How do new technologies influence your product design?
Technology is certainly helping us more and more in the process, but that said, all our original drawings still seem to start on paper. We have a dedicated staff to social media and are on all relevant platforms.
Where are your products manufactured?
China and Sweden.
How do you see design’s importance in our industry as it moves forward?
Tell us about your previous experience with Discover Design.
Discover Design is a great area of the Show. Buyers always walk the area to be sure they see the latest trends in the home. We are focused on the center of the home, the kitchen and entertaining areas.
Thank you, Ben, for giving us these insights in how design thinkers work at Charles Viancin. We look forward to seeing your lovely colorful products in your booth N7913, in the Discover Design Expo in the North Building, just steps from the Grand Concourse.
Learn more about Charles Viancin by visiting www.charlesviancin.com
Discover Design Grows and Moves
Discover Design is the premier destination at the International Home + Housewares Show for trend spotters who make design their priority. Now in its sixth year, Discover Design is a key attraction for fashion-forward buyers and a supportive community for design-driven exhibitors. Nearly 200 design leaders and brands will present their products in all Show categories to delight retailers looking for the unique. And in 2016 it will be even easier to discover design—as the Discover Design Expo will be located at the front of the North Building, set beside well-known, design-focused exhibitors such as Umbra, Design Ideas and Casabella.
Anchored by brands such as Alessi, Nambe and Joseph Joseph, Discover Design welcomes new exhibitors, including Chilewich/Sultan LLC and Cookut, and introduces 10 emerging companies in the Design Debut incubator. Additional fresh offerings from veteran design-focused exhibitors such as Dreamfarm, Koziol and Three by Three will also inspire your choices for the coming year.
Get acquainted with the people behind the stylish products that will appear at the 2016 International Home + Housewares Show in Discover Design. We’ll be posting conversations with exhibitors to give you a glimpse of the inspirations, influences and ideas that go into creating the exciting products that you’ll see in March in Chicago.
Learn more about Discover Design exhibitors here.