Expect to see housewares products that are sleekly-designed, eco-friendly, and health-and-wellness oriented when you shop this coming holiday season.
Home brands offered a glimpse of what will line retail shelves during the gift-giving period at the Hot Housewares for the Holidays press exhibit in New York, held by the International Housewares Association.
Suppliers are upping their game to meet the needs of savvier shoppers, who themselves are starting to influence what ends up on the store shelf, Perry Reynolds, vice president of marketing and trade development of the IHA, told DailyFinance. The web has become a key platform for armchair critics to review all manner of products, including housewares. Shoppers are "giving their input on product development via online forums," he said. And they have the ear of manufacturers.
Hence, suppliers have been nudged to offer housewares that move beyond the merely functional, and also deliver that je ne sais quoi that appeals to smarter shoppers. "We're no longer just popping out widgets, as we might have been some 25 years ago," Reynolds said.
Here are eight of our favorites from the show.
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Dansk has mined its archives and reissued Kobenstyle, the Danish-modern, enamel-on-steel, stove-to-table cookware that was popular in the 1960s. The line had developed a "huge underground collector base on eBay," particularly among older baby boomers, a Dansk spokesman told DailyFinance at the event.
The retro cookware line, which includes casserole pots, saucepans, butter warmers, skillets and large buffet pans, will be available this fall at Crate & Barrel in red, white and black. A 4-quart casserole pot will retail for $143; a 9.5-inch skillet will sell for $129; and a large baking pan will retail for $143.
These serving bowls and spoons from Architec will reach stores like Bloomingdale's (M) in October, elevating the design of eco-friendly housewares, the company says. The bowl ($24) and two serving spoons ($9.99) are made from recycled translucent polypropylene with flax husk or cellulose content suspended inside. Translation? This is what gives the bowls and spoons -- which are manufactured in the U.S. by a zero-waste, green factory -- their "amazing looking surface," Architec says.
Don't want to waste precious kitchen counter space on a bulky knife sharpener? No problem: TeleBrands, the as-seen-on-TV giant, has come up with a compact knife sharpener that suctions to any flat surface, but doesn't suck up real estate in your kitchen. Edge of Glory ($10.99) sharpens knives with ceramic teeth, and will be available next month at national chains like Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY). "It makes a great stocking stuffer," said a TeleBrands spokeswoman.
Designed in Italy, the Dash Chef Series Blender from StoreBound is partly modeled after the control panel of a high-end sports car. The blender's motor generates 30,000 rotations per minute, which means you can make everything from ice cream to soup -- all without a heating or cooling system, said Evan Dash, founder of StoreBound. The blender uses friction to heat up soup, for example, and also multitasks as an ice-cream maker, not to mention as a food processor, blender and chopper. The Dash blender will be available in September at retailers such as Macy's, for $399.
BodyRyzm LifeSciences, maker of home spinal health-care products, will launch on QVC (LINTA) this fall the QiPillow, what it bills as the first "clinically designed" sofa pillow. The pillow, which will retail for $30, and is listed with the Food and Drug Administration, looks like a traditional, decorative sofa pillow, but offers medical-grade back support that instantly customizes to your shape, and doesn't collapse under body weight. Its maker claims it improves spinal alignment, relieves back stiffness, pain and back fatigue, and combats the health hazards of a sedentary lifestyle.
The pillow should come in handy for the average American, "who spends [about] four hours a day in front of the TV," Patrice Lee, CEO/Chief Innovation Officer of BodyRyzm, who is also an author and lecturer of human spinal neuromechanics, told DailyFinance.
CorningWare is bringing a contemporary twist to its iconic, classic French White bakeware line with this new serving dish and wood tray, for $29.99. The dish, which will be available this fall in stores such as Macy's, Target (TGT) and Kohl's (KSS), serves as a baking vessel and serving piece, while the wood tray can do triple-duty as a serving platter, trivet and cutting board.
Bodum says its new BISTRO b. over coffeemaker reinvents the drip system, which has gained a bad rep for producing bitter-tasting coffee. The Bistro electric coffee machine automates the manual "pour over" coffee brewing method that's used by many baristas.
With the Bistro b. over, water heats up to a near-boil, and is carried to the coffee grounds via a glass pipe that maintains its heat. The machine also includes a titanium-plated stainless steel filter, which is designed to keep the coffee tasting pure, while eliminating the need for paper filters. The Bistro b. over will start retailing later this month for $250 on Bodum.com.
Energizer, the iconic battery brand, is stretching its name into the Apple world with new cases for the iPhone 4 and 4S, from Premier Accessory Group. The protective cases, which will retail for $39.99, feature a durable silicone skin as an outer layer, and an inner layer made from high-impact, polycarbonate, as well as a built-in flashlight. The Energizer cases come in black, white, pink, blue and green, and will sell at retailers such as Amazon.com (AMZN) and Target.