A panel of leading buyers representing multiples, department stores and independent housewares retailers took time out from their businesses to judge the Excellence in Housewares Awards Product categories yesterday (July 17).
The product finalists will be announced next week on HousewaresNews.net
The panel of retail buyers included: Amanda Reed of Leekes; David Caldana and Simone Hillman of Borough Kitchen, London; Matt Thomas of John Lewis & Partners; Rachel Taylor of Home Hardware; David Conduit of Harts of Stur; Helen Miller of Fenwick Group; Tom Carter and Alison Hobbs of Potters Cookshop, Hockley; Jason Summer of Divertimenti, London; Paul Geoghegan and Lucy Richards of The Kitchen Range, West Wickham; Chris Lynn-Thomas of Kooks Unlimited, Richmond; Holly Wilson of Prep Cookshop and Richard Dare. London; Miia Wren and Dawn Brown of Emporium Cookshop and Hannah Hyde of Diss Ironworks.
Also in attendance was Julie Holden, on behalf of Awards co-host, Bira, and key sponsors, Seema Grantham of BHETA, Lyndsey Hoyle of Exclusively Shows and Mark Chapman on behalf of the IHA.
New category, The Eco Award was particularly well received by the judges. Holly Wilson from Prep Cookshop commented: “This is an exciting category with new innovative products that are capturing everyone’s imagination. It is good to see it supported by suppliers.”
Jason Summers at Divertimenti described the category as “very relevant,” while Matt Thomas at John Lewis & Partners stated: “It’s really important we have this category, showing products that cut the need for single-use plastic.”
Many of the judges were delighted to find new products and suppliers across the Awards entries. For example, Chris Lynn-Thomas at Kooks Unlimited enthused: “I’ve found a couple of new ranges I wouldn’t otherwise have seen.”
Helen Miller, cookware buyer for Fenwick Group reflected on the event: “This is a great opportunity for suppliers to showcase products to buyers at no cost, and I’d love to see more suppliers involved.”
Leekes’ buying controller Amanda Reed described the Judging Day as “very good, with lots of innovation.” She elaborated: “I was very happy with the Eco Award category and thought the brand diversity in the Plugged In Award was better than ever. I also enjoyed seeing new suppliers in Top of the Table.”
Among those judging for the first time, Hannah Hyde of Diss Ironworks was also a fan of the Top of the Table category, while also finding the Eco category “interesting.”
Paul Geoghegan, owner of The Kitchen Range, West Wickham took a break from his canal and sea-voyage spanning England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Eire to take in the Judging Day. He summed up: “This is a wonderful opportunity to see all these products together. When we know and stock them it’s all well and good, but we also see some things that we have missed. It is also good to see and compare experiences with fellow traders.”
* Each of the finalists will be featured in the next issue of Progressive Housewares, and all of the winners will be announced at the Excellence in Housewares Awards Night taking place at The Royal Lancaster Hotel in London on October 2. Tickets and tables can be purchased online via the Max Ticket Office.
This year’s Excellence in Housewares Awards sponsors include: Ambiente/ Sherwood Events, Bira, Bira Direct, BHETA, Burton McCall, Exclusively Shows, FKA Brands, HousewaresNews.net, Joseph Joseph, KitchenAid, KitchenCraft, Le Creuset, Meyer Group, OXO, Spring and Autumn Fair, SMART Worldwide (an SMA Worldwide company), Tefal, Tramontina and The Inspired Home Show.
The Excellence in Housewares Awards are produced for the industry, with the collective support of the industry, in association with bira. Sponsors include: Ambiente, Bira, Bira Direct, BHETA, Burton McCall, Exclusively Shows, FKA Brands, HousewaresNews.net, Joseph Joseph, KitchenAid, KitchenCraft, Le Creuset, Meyer Group, OXO UK, RKW Wholesale, Spring and Autumn Fair, Sherwood Events / Ambiente, SMART Worldwide (an SMA Worldwide Company), Tefal, Tramontina and The Inspired Home Show.
Top: Members of the Product Judging Panel scrutinising entries for the new Eco Award.