Williams-Sonoma Breaks New Ground With Cookware, Personalization Brand

Part of the team behind Mark and Graham: Marta Benson, senior VP, left, and Laura Alber, president and CEO, Williams-Sonoma, Inc

Part of the team behind Mark and Graham: Marta Benson, senior VP, left, and Laura Alber, president and CEO, Williams-Sonoma, Inc

By Andrea Lillo

While the holiday season is in full swing, it’s been an extra busy quarter for Williams-Sonoma Inc., with the introduction of Williams-Sonoma’s own brand of cookware, kitchen tools and smart tools, and a new personalization brand called Mark and Graham.

All of this follows the debut of a new format for West Elm, called West Elm Market, in October.

 Williams-Sonoma’s new brand of cookware, called Thermo-Clad, uses an exclusive aluminum alloy that provides up to 35 percent more conductivity for precise and even heating and temperature control. With such features as stay-cool, ergonomic handles and double-wall insulated lids, the Italian-manufactured line comes with a lifetime guarantee. Initial Thermo-Clad products now available include a 10-piece cookware set ($799.95), a 10-inch non-stick fry pan ($99.95) and a 12-inch non-stick fry pan with lid ($129.95). The nine new kitchen tools, which include a classic ladle and a fine mesh skimmer, retail between $26.95 to $49.95 individually; they are also available in sets.

Williams-Sonoma’s new smart tools—a kitchen stand ($49.95), a speaker ($149.95) and screen shields ($14.95)—enable the tablet-owning chef to bring the iPad into the kitchen. The splash-proof Bluetooth speaker wirelessly delivers sound from a Bluetooth-enabled device and has a line-in port for connecting iPods and other portable music players, as well as two USB ports for charging devices. The kitchen stand supports Apple’s iPad and can be used by itself or sit on top of the speaker. A set containing a speaker, kitchen stand and screen shields ($199.95) is also available, and the speaker is also sold at Apple retail stores.

“By combining our years of authority and product expertise, we created a line so innovative—we put our name on it,” said Laura Alber, president and chief executive officer, Williams-Sonoma, Inc. “This introduction is an important strategic development for our business. The products introduced today are just the beginning—over the next several years, we will be introducing many more new products that will bear our name.”

The retailer also debuted Mark and Graham, a new direct-to-consumer brand that specializes in personalized gifts and accessories. With a name that plays on words about creating one’s own mark or monogram, Mark and Graham offers products with more than 50 custom monograms and creative type treatments and is available through a direct mail catalog and an e-commerce site, markandgraham.com.

Mark and Graham’s specialty shops include home decor, men’s and women’s accessories, jewelry, entertaining and bar and seasonal items, and personalization is complimentary. Home products include glassware such as highballs and double old-fashioneds, cotton and linen napkins, paper placemats, cashmere throws, kitchen towels, mugs and cotton bath towels. The holiday shop, subdivided into areas for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s Eve, includes such items as cookies, napkins, drinkware and more. 

Every purchase arrives in a signature linen box with extra-wide grosgrain ribbon and a customizable gift card. All orders over $49 will be shipped for free with the promotional code FREESHIP and will arrive within five days.

“One of the things that differentiates our company is our ability to incubate and launch new brands that can grow into substantial businesses,” said Alber. “With Mark and Graham, our goal is to create a destination for beautiful, high-quality, thoughtful gifts that are personalized by the artful use of typography.”