Created for the purpose of providing a unified trade marketplace for the housewares industry, the International Housewares Association (IHA) celebrates 80 years of bringing manufacturers and buyers together in 2018. Since its incorporation on May 17, 1938, the Association has grown to become the voice of the housewares industry, providing opportunities and programs to assist members in increasing profits and growing their business.
The Association the housewares industry knows today is the result of mergers with competing groups throughout the years, beginning its journey as the House Furnishing Manufacturers Association of America (HFMAA) and holding its first housewares trade show in 1939 at the Palmer House. In 1940, HFMAA changed its name to the Housewares Manufacturers Association (HMA) after merging with a rival show organizer, the National House Furnishings Manufacturers Association. In 1946, HMA merged with the New York Housewares Manufacturers Association to create the National Housewares Manufacturers Association (NHMA) and operate the industry’s primary Housewares Show in 1947.
The NHMA name served the association well until 2000, when its board of directors, recognizing the global nature of the housewares industry, changed the corporate name to the International Housewares Association. The Housewares History series on IHA’s blog commemorates 80 years of serving the housewares industry with a historical timeline and individual articles spotlighting memorable moments of the Show’s early years.
“Through the decades, IHA has been led by board of directors and professional staff who are committed to maximizing the success of the global home products industry and focused on providing value to the retailer/supplier relationship,” said Phil Brandl, IHA president & CEO. “We are proud to serve the industry and appreciate the continued support from members and retailers alike. We look forward to many more years of being the voice of the housewares industry.”
From Trade Show Organizer to The Home Authority
Primarily known as a trade show organizer during its early history, IHA today offers its 1,700 member companies not only a world-class trade event, the International Home + Housewares Show that brings key retailers from around the world to Chicago every March, but also meaningful member services, including:
- Executive-level member share groups and conferences through CORE – Chief Officers Reaching Excellence and CHESS – Chief Housewares Executives SuperSession.
- A wide range of international business development tools through the International Business Council, including networking and learning at the annual Global Forum as well as trade missions and pavilions in key global markets.
- Access to the consumer through TheInspiredHome.com consumer engagement initiative and press events in New York.
- Information services such as the annual State of the Industry Report and the quarterly Housewares MarketWatch publication, as well as free webinars on critical issues and the latest industry developments.
- Group rates on container freight through the International Housewares Shippers Association and discounts on domestic shipping.
- Housewares Connect 365, the Show’s online directory where retailers, news media and consumers can search for new products and new suppliers year-round.
And although IHA’s name and mission have changed and expanded over the years, its primary focus to provide a world-class home goods marketplace has not. From the first House Furnishing Manufacturers Exhibit with 266 exhibitors in 1939 to the 2018 International Home + Housewares Show with more than 2,200 exhibitors, each year IHA continues to improve the Show with value-added programs and services to enhance an attendee’s visit:
- Five show-within-a-show expos that organize products by category: Clean + Contain, Dine + Décor, Discover Design Expo, Wired + Well and International Sourcing.
- Educational programs include keynote sessions on consumer trends, industry issues and Lee Eiseman’s annual color forecast; expert presentations on innovation, design and consumer trends in the Innovation Theater; and advice and guidance on product development and marketing in the Inventors Revue.
- The Hall of Global Innovation features displays on color trends in Pantone ColorWatch, the best in retail merchandising and product design through the IHA Global Innovation Awards (gia), the future of housewares through the IHA Student Design Competition and the latest in smart and connected products with the IHA Smart Home Pavilion.
- Events such as the Networking After Dark Reception, Toast to Trends reception, Housewares Young Professionals Event (HYPE) and Housewares Charity Foundation gala offer attendees time to relax and network after a long day at the Show.
The International Housewares Association is the 80-year-old voice of the housewares industry, which accounted for (US)$355.4 billion at retail worldwide in 2016 ($87.1 billion at retail in the U.S.). The not-for-profit, full-service association sponsors the world’s premier exposition of products for the home, the International Home + Housewares Show, and offers its 1,700 member companies a wide range of services, including industry and government advocacy, export assistance, State-of-the-Industry reports, point-of-sale and consumer panel data through Housewares MarketWatch, executive management peer groups, a unique Web-based community at www.housewares.org and group buying discounts on business solutions services.
Featured Image: Telchron booth at the 1949 Show at Navy Pier in Chicago