Tabletop Show: Mining for Opportunities
Nikko Fortune dinnerware represents a new company effort to showcase its design capability. nikkoceramics.com
By Allison Zisko
Tabletop manufacturers at last month's New York Tabletop Show focused on what they see as profitable niches in the market, such as small giftables, executive desk items for men, and introductions from partnerships with party planners and set designers.
Lenox rolled out new dinnerware collections from Sharon Sacks, a West Coast celebrity party planner, and Brian Glukstein, a Canadian interior designer. Prima Design signed a license agreement with Padma Lakshmi, host of the cooking reality show "Top Chef," and created a full tabletop collection that takes its design cues from around the world. Mottahedeh launched the Tony Duquette collection, featuring the glamorous designs of famed Hollywood set designer Tony Duquette. And TTU unveiled its new Novogratz line of dinnerware and accessories, designed by husband and wife team Cortney and Robert Novogratz, who star in the HGTV show "Home by Novogratz." Their collection, based on the color wheel and centered on the idea of family (the word "family" is integrated into many of the designs), encompasses dinnerware, drinkware, serveware and accessories in ceramic as well as melamine. "This isn't just for the kitchen," said Cortney Novogratz when introducing the line, which includes white ceramic busts that were designed as cookie jars but could be used decoratively or employed in other ways. "It can be tucked into the bathroom with new accessories."
This reflects the approach many tabletop makers continue to adopt in an effort to appeal to consumers more interested in giftware than dinnerware. Waterford showcased its contemporary lifestyle collections that included executive crystal gifts, vanity accessories like jewelry boxes and perfume atomizers, and barware. Michael Aram (who did unveil a new dinnerware collection composed of two solids and three patterns) presented a large assortment of under-$99 gift items geared toward specialty stores. The goal, according to Katherine Koumoulos, associate marketing manager, is to offer a highly visual, compelling story to consumers using any combination of pieces, such as a catch-all bowl, a mini photo frame, a ring catcher, napkin holder or scented candle, available in both well-established and popular patterns, like Olive Branch and Black Orchid, as well as new ones. Ralph Lauren, meanwhile, showcased its many gifts for men, including a men's valet; automobile-inspired games, such as the carbon fiber-trimmed five-in-one game set; and a 20-piece carbon fiber mixologist set.
Other manufacturers enhanced existing license partnerships. Gibson, for example, unveiled Nambe Tilt bone china for the upstairs dinnerware market. The platinum-accented collection includes four patterns, each with Nambe's distinct design flair. Fellow licensee Rogaska offered several new Nambe crystal items, including Twist stemware and barware.
For those shopping for dinnerware and stemware, options were more opulent than in years past, with rich, matte-gold finishes and more elaborate border designs. Examples include Mikasa's Hammersmith Gold and Hammersmith Platinum patterns; their hammered look another trend in the market; Nikko's lavish Fortune pattern and its animal print designs, whose price tags hover around $300 per place setting, part of an effort by the company's new management in Japan to promote the Nikko brand and its design capability; Wedgwood's Palladium dinnerware with rose-gold striping and a micaceous sheen; and the Golden Age of Lismore collection from Waterford, which includes Lismore Lace dinnerware and gold-dipped stemware that retails for $500 per pair.
Several bold black-and-white or blue-and-white patterns from a variety of vendors offered more graphic choices. There were also a number of Scandinavian-influenced designs, including Natura dinnerware from Dansk, Malmo stoneware from Denby (also blue and white) and the Naturally Norwegian collection of flatware from Oneida, created by a Norwegian designer who typically designs ski equipment. The four patterns, all inspired by nature, have elongated bodies and are a distinct departure from Oneida's typical assortment.
For more product from the New York Tabletop Show please see the HFN Gallery at: http://hfnmag.com/product-gallery/2688