On the Stick
Mr. Clean Magic Mop features the Magic Eraser. cleanerhomeliving.com
By Duke Ratliff
Give the people what they want.
That's the goal of stick-good manufacturers as they respond to consumers' evolving needs during a trying economic environment. Efficiency and ease of use continue to drive the category, but recent introductions in the category address consumer trends such as creating a healthy home and the combination of value and low prices.
"We think innovation is driving the category," said Michael Silverman, vice president-marketing for Butler, the makers of Mr. Clean branded stick goods and cleaning products. "Consumers are looking for quality and price points all packaged together."
Butler celebrated its 10th anniversary with the Mr. Clean licensing at the recent International Home + Housewares Show. Fittingly for such an item-driven category, the company introduced numerous stick goods to tackle various cleaning chores.
Butler launched two major mop introductions at the show: The Mr. Clean Super Mop with Magic Eraser and the Mr. Clean Ring Clean, a cone mop with plastic sleeve featuring a cotton, twistable mop.
For the Mr. Clean Super Mop with Magic Eraser, "we've taken the popular Magic Eraser material and put it on a mop," Silverman said. "It provides great scrubbing power so the consumer can get that white kitchen floor they're looking for."
Like numerous consumer product categories, stick-good manufacturers said that they are seeing an uptick in sales this year.
"The market's clearly picking up," said Bruce Kaminstein, chief executive officer of Casabella. "Inventories were held lower, and we're starting to see some recovery."
And like most consumer product vendors, stick goods manufacturers are responding to the economy and consumers looking for value.
"Consumers want a quality piece they don't have to throw away," Kaminstein said. "They're looking at the value/cost ratio."
Recent offerings from Casabella have looked to grab consumers' attention with color. Stick goods and other cleaning items have been introduced that feature orange styling to grab the consumers' eye.
Casabella has applied the orange color to a full line of brooms, dusters and sweepers. Some of the items include increasingly popular microfiber. "Consumers are looking for some color to brighten up their day," Kaminstein said.
Quickie Manufacturing garnered attention at the Housewares Show with its new spokeswoman Tamra Barney from the Real Housewives of Orange County. The actress took photos with show attendees, and the company is in the midst of developing its making marketing plans on how best to use the celebrity to promote its products.
Augie DeLuca, Quickie's chief marketing officer, said that health and wellness is key for many of today's consumers.
"Many of our consumers tell us that protecting their family is their most important responsibility and cleaning their house to keep it germ free is an important part of protecting the family," DeLuca said. Quickie introduced a line of Lysol cleaning products, including stick goods, with this in mind. "Each of these products had an antimicrobial treatment built into the cleaning to insure bacteria and mold don't form there."
In the microfiber category, Quickie has introduced the Quickie Green Cleaning brand which includes the Microfiber Twist Mop.
"Some consumers are concerned with all of the chemicals used to clean," DeLuca said. "The microfiber gives these products the ability to clean without chemicals."
Silverman agreed that microfiber is attracting consumers that are concerned with harsh cleaning chemicals. "Microfiber has taken awhile for people to embrace, but now they're damp mopping and dusting and using it with just water," he said. "It's great for those with pets, children--people concerned with cleaning elements." Mr. Clean also offers a line of mops and dusters featuring microfiber.
Quickie, like many manufacturers, is responding to consumers looking for value.
"We recently incorporated Microban antimicrobial technology into parts of our Quickie Original product line," DeLuca said. "This gives the consumer products treated to help create a clean, healthy home at a good price."