By Andrea Lillo
While there are some young urbanites or newlyweds that live in palatial spaces, there are many that do not, and for the square-foot-challenged, Boston Warehouse has a new collection that targets them.
Called Urban Kitchen, it offers multifunctional pieces that are well designed to boot, and can help the young bride—or city dweller—with her cooking needs, without sacrificing style.
“This collection targets a younger modern consumer looking for smart solutions for the home,” said housewares veteran Richard Smiedt, president of Hammock Productions, who developed the collection for Boston Warehouse. The collection will also move Boston Warehouse into new avenues with kitchenware, storage and gourmet retailers.
“We feel like we’ve really filled a need in the marketplace, thus enabling Boston Warehouse to become a more important and valid vendor now in the important storage and utility housewares marketplace,” Smiedt said. “The market is changing dramatically and innovation is so important to differentiate.”
With 11 items comprising the line initially—and the majority retailing between $10 to $20—many take tight areas into consideration, with products that are multifunctional or store away with a minimal amount of space. The Garlic Stash & Smash, for example, has a ceramic cellar to store garlic, and a soft-grip lid that is also a peeling mallet, so the user can smash the clove to remove the skin easily. The CityDishRack has a rack with a slot design that compactly holds two place settings. Its companion drying mat can be rolled up and snapped back onto the base when not in use. The 2-quart Folding Colander is made of flexible rubber and snaps closed with a click when not in use.
The Cut & Prep System, the group’s most expensive item at $29.99, includes a cutting board with a tray so the user can scrape the results of chopping or slicing directly into the tray. Two prep trays are included, and can be stored in the base of the cutting board.
“We believe each of these items will contribute strongly in their categories,” Smiedt said. In addition, they are “very affordable,” and ideal for gift giving and impulse buying. Though some retailers will have the collection this fall, it will launch officially next spring.
Boston Warehouse was already known for gift housewares, Smiedt added, but “it was important to get [Boston Warehouse] recognized for core, basic housewares products.” In addition, he added that there’s a lack of innovation in housewares and for the newly married, urbanites, renters and first-time home buyers. “They’re looking for something new and different.”
Smiedt himself has been in the consumer hard goods business for 25 years, and recently relocated from Australia, where he ran the housewares business for HWI. Smiedt has known Peter Jenkins, the president of Boston Warehouse, for years, as he handled Jenkins’ global export business in the 1980s, he said. Once Smiedt got to New York, they looked at working on a project together.
Christopher Raia Studio, which designed Boston Warehouse’s Animal House collection, came on board for this collection, and designed the products along with the packaging.