Guests and speakers praise inaugural all-industry networking event.
More than 120 delegates packed into the ballroom of the Millennium Mayfair Hotel in London on April 1 for the inaugural Housewares Conference - and gave the event a resounding thumbs up!
"I thoroughly enjoyed the whole event," said Geoff Fendall of Essentials in Hazlemere, Buckinghamshire. "The speakers were all excellent, the hospitality was spot-on, and there was about enough time for networking."
GIMA director Neil Gow echoed this: "I really enjoyed the event," he said. "It was interesting, useful and most informative."
Mr Gow was a speaker as well as a delegate, discussing the potential for housewares sales through garden centres.
Other speakers included GfK business group director Erol Sukan, who presented new market research on housewares sales; Kathy Tierney, ceo of US housewares chain Sur La Table, who addressed the issue of marketing the retailer as a brand; and Steamer Trading md Ben Phillips, who talked about the opportunities for independent cookshop retailers.
Wrapit retail director Pepita Diamand encouraged delegates to explore the wedding list market.
John Lewis Partnership's buying director for home departments, Maureen Dunn, discussed some of the opportunities in the broader field of homewares; and the conference closed with a thought-provoking performance from designer Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, in which he ranged across future design trends, the questionable value of celebrity endorsements, and what colour Addis should adopt for its next range of bins.
"We're hugely encouraged by the response to the first Housewares Conference," said diyweek.net publisher Colin Petty.
"We believed there was a need for a networking event which would bring together people from all quarters of the housewares market, and the market seems to agree with us.
"This inaugural conference has given us a very solid platform on which to build for the future."