Gorham Catches a Wave with New Kathy Ireland Collection
By Allison Zisko
The introduction of Kathy Ireland Home by Gorham--the latest license program by parent company Lenox--allows Gorham, which is 181 years old, to move in new directions and do "unexpected" things, said Vice President Jim Mylonas.
Kathy Ireland Home makes it debut at the New York Tabletop Show this month with a full suite of dinnerware, glassware and flatware positioned at the "very affordable end" of the casual upstairs dinnerware department, expanding Gorham's presence in the dinnerware market and giving it entree to bridal registries.
"It allows us to step out from our metal heritage and do some interesting things," Mylonas said.
The license opportunity was attractive for several reasons, according to Mylonas. "The [Kathy Ireland] brand is transacting in the marketplace at a very high level across broad categories," he said. kathy ireland Worldwide, the parent company, now has license programs in furniture, bedding, rugs, window coverings and replacement windows, among other categories, in addition to bridal gowns and furs and a destination wedding business. Annual retail sales hover near $2 billion, according to both License Global magazine and Forbes magazine.
The Kathy Ireland name is well known among American consumers, Mylonas said, and Gorham welcomed the opportunity to partner with "a high-profile personality who is known as much for her charitable and philanthropic works as the products with her name on them."
The goal of the tabletop program is to bring quality casual tabletop to the marketplace at an affordable price (a place setting of decorated dinnerware would retail for $39). Ireland's overriding mantra was that "it had to be beautiful," Mylonas said.
The Kathy Ireland design team has eight established design themes for its home products, and Gorham selected three of them for its initial launch: European Country, American Country and Aloha. European Country offers patterns that incorporate the elegance of European gardens into their designs; American Country looks celebrate the romance and beauty of our American heritage, particularly through tapestry and florals; and Aloha conveys the peaceful tranquility of Hawaii through a wave pattern. In the Aloha grouping, a pattern called Kahala is available in all mediums, including bone china.
The glass component of the collections opens the door for Gorham to a new category and presents a "nicely coordinated look," Mylonas said. Rogaska holds the license for crystal, and Gorham's glass offerings are "supplemental and incremental" to Rogaska's presentation, Mylonas said.
Ireland will be at the show on Tuesday, Oct. 9 for an afternoon tea, an opportunity for her to meet with customers, something Ireland is happy to do, according to Mylonas. "Kathy gets very involved in the product development process and working with retailers," he said. "It's one of the reasons the brand is so successful."