By Allison Zisko
NEW YORK–Oneida is hoping for a slice of the growing cutlery market through its licensing agreement with Robinson Home Products.
The two companies, longtime licensing partners, will launch an assortment of block sets at the International Home & Housewares Show next month in Chicago, filling what they see as a void in midpriced assortments.
“There’s been a lot of inferior quality, lower-priced products on the market,” said David Sank, chief marketing officer of Oneida. This is the “perfect spot for Oneida to be.”
New block sets will range from $49.99 to $99.99, hitting that target range of just under $100 for a set of high-carbon, stainless-steel blades with forged bolsters. Two collections will debut: the Classic Collection, recognizable for its more traditional looks and pistol-grip handles; and the Performance Collection, whose style is more contemporary. The Classic collection includes an opening-price-point model with a soft-grip black handle, and all-stainless variety with a dimpled handle for security in handling; and a third, triple-riveted version with POM handle. The Performance line includes four different styles: a triple-riveted POM handle, an all-stainless handle, a soft-touch handle and a Pakka wood handle. Open-stock pieces for each collection include a steak knife set and a chef’s set, which includes a santoku and paring knife.
Oneida, a leading flatware manufacturer, has the capability to make cutlery, but opted to have Robinson develop the line, Sank said. Only a handful of flatware makers manufacture cutlery.
Robinson, formerly Robinson Knife Co., manufactures the lines overseas and handles the distribution and marketing.
Robinson licenses Oneida’s name on a number of related product categories, including tools and gadgets, barware and serveware. A cutlery collection is a natural extension to Oneida’s assortment, said Cathleen Zeman, Robinson’s brand manager of Oneida and Oneida cutlery, referring to Oneida as a “trusted brand” known for its “superiority in flatware.”
Oneida has a deliberate licensing strategy, according to Sank, opting not to “blanket the market with our name on everything,” but to stick with “categories the most relevant to metal, where we have core competency.”