Something Borrowed dinnerware by Mikasa. mikasa.com
By Allison Zisko
Tabletop and housewares vendors preparing for this month's Ambiente fair in Frankfurt, Germany, regard the show as an opportunity to showcase their brands to a much wider audience and display their ability to produce trend-right, design-oriented product.
"Ambiente continues to be the international hub for design, trends and product unveils," said Bernard Reuter, president of Villeroy & Boch's American division. His company is focusing on expanding its hotel and restaurant business and strengthening its retail stores and eShops globally. At this show, which takes place Feb. 10-14, it will highlight its new glass giftware category and expansions to popular existing programs.
Gibson Overseas will use the show to promote its better and best assortments of dinnerware, its whiteware (which it believes appeals to a global market) and its licensed designs, which include Nambe and a sneak peek at its new Isaac Mizrahi collection.
"The global market accounts for a significant portion of Gibson's annual business," said Claudia Ochoa, creative vice president. "Ambiente is another chance to demonstrate to European and other overseas markets that our creativity and delivery capacities are unrivaled in every aspect of the product life cycle."
Lifetime Brands will make its debut at this show by showcasing its Mikasa brand, which will be promoted in a Mikasa booth by Creative Tops, a UK-based company Lifetime acquired late last year. "Our goal at this show is to regain placement of Mikasa in Europe," said Jeffrey Siegel, president, CEO and chairman of Lifetime Brands. "It is already a well-known brand there, though it has been off the market for two years. Mikasa is our key global tabletop brand."
German and other well-established, European-based companies who have exhibited at Ambiente for many years may not have to introduce themselves to the world there, but they do have a reputation to uphold. Rosenthal, for instance, will update its booth presentation, introduce new products across all of its brands, and celebrate 20 years of Rosenthal Meets Versace, said Kelly Ahearn, director of marketing and public relations. "This show is significant for us as it is still one of the biggest shows in our business," she said.
German-based Zwilling, which celebrated its 280th anniversary last year, will highlight new cookware lines at Demeyere, Staub and Zwilling, as well as a new knife series.
Housewares vendors are tapping the latest cooking and environmental trends in their introductions at this show.
"We have seen that the market demand for ceramic non-stick coatings is continuing to grow," said Dieter Naessens, the newly named vice president of Belgium-based The Cookware Company's U.S. office. At Ambiente, attendees will be able to see the company's new Steak King Grill, an electric grill with Thermolon coating that can sear, grill or toast. In addition, it will show its Green+Life label, which targets the mass market.
Woll Cookware USA will also highlight its cookware with non-stick coating; it will debut its Diamond Plus Induction line in Frankfurt.
The latest designs from Chef'n emphasize easy food prep, healthy eating and composting. It is launching a versatile cutting board series which is made from blended materials and offers additional functionality. It is also introducing the EcoCrock, a countertop compost bin.
"We do expect to see more retailers at the 2012 show than in recent years, especially after the stronger than expected holiday figures," said Bob Ludeman, executive vice president of Chef'n. "We already have appointments booked with many of these retailers . . . Based on initial feedback we are finding that our 2012 products are hitting the right note with retailers by being innovative and offered at the right price points."-Andrea Lillo contributed to this story.