Retail buyers are saying that this year’s The Excellence in Housewares Awards Products Judging is more important than ever for sourcing innovative new products. The judging will take place online, enabling participation from a diverse panel from across the UK.
Today (Friday July 31) is the final day for suppliers to enter their products (launched at retail from June 2019 to June 2020), free of charge, via the online portal HERE.
Among those joining the 2020 Product Judging Panel are: Andrew Bluett-Duncan, director of Art of Living Cookshop (three Surrey cookshops and online), Farzana Janjua, buying director for The Wedding Shop and Prezola (online), Lyanna Winter, owner of Cook Central (St Andrews). Rachna Dewan, product director of Lords At Home (six stores in London and Chorleywood, and online) Sue Hopkins, owner of Kitchenmonger (Hungerford), Paul Geoghegan, owner of The Kitchen Range (West Wickham) and Justin Kowbel and David Caldana, co-founders of Borough Kitchen (four London stores, and online). Further confirmations are expected early next week, in time for the virtual Product Judging.
“We’d encourage brand partners to put their best newness forward – it truly is an opportunity to get visibility especially this year with so many events cancelled when we might have missed something in our hunt,” states Justin at Borough Kitchen.
Silver Mushroom’s managing director Rebecca Kane admits: “Having missed out on so many shows this year, we are really excited to be able to get out there (virtually) and see what’s new in the housewares market.” She observes: “Lockdown has seen so many people doing more at home in recent months and we are looking forward to seeing how this has influenced the latest trends and to seeing what innovative new products are coming to the market.”
Jason Somers, general manager at Divertimenti (London) also recognises that this year’s judging presents an exceptional opportunity for retailers and suppliers. He reflects: “It really has been a strange year up until now with the majority of people across Britain working from home, getting their hands dirty in their kitchens experimenting in different culinary techniques that they would never of dreamt of attempting in the past.” He continues: “I am really looking forward to seeing how our industry has now adapted over the last quarter, as well as thinking about how we plan for success in the latter stages of the year leading up to peak.”
Jason emphasises: “I’m looking for innovate products that might not have had as much emphasis on the shelves in the past but should now be in the limelight as we come out of lockdown.”
Meanwhile, The Kitchen Range’s (West Wickham) Paul Geoghegan, owner of The Kitchen Range (West Wickham) comments: “It really is a ‘no- brainer’ for suppliers to enter their best products in this year’s Excellence in Housewares Awards, particularly when many sales reps are still furloughed and retailers are keen to see the best housewares products to help their customers who are enjoying cooking at home.”
* The 2020 Product Judging Panel (so far) includes: Elaine Hooper, Nicola Hattersley and Matt Thomas of John Lewis, Tina Barkway of Aldiss (Fakenham), David Conduit of Harts of Stur (Sturminster Newton and online), Keith Crowther of La Cookshop (Blagdon), Richard Barker of Cilla and Camilla (Sherbourne); Becca Hardingham of Dinghams (Salisbury and Winchester), Tom Carter and Alison Hobbs of Potters Cookshop (Hockley), Lisa Austin of Brambles Cookshop (Audlem), Rebecca Kane and Emmie Brockman of Silver Mushroom (online), Jason Somers of Divertimenti(London), Chris Lynn-Thomas at Kooks Unlimited (Richmond), Mandy Cohen at etc (North Berwick), Holly Wilson at Prep Cookshop and Richard Dare (London), Andrew Bluett-Duncan, of Art of Living (Surrey and online), Farzana Janjua of The Wedding Shop and Prezola(online), Sue Hopkins of Kitchenmonger (Hungerford) and Justin Kowbel and David Caldana, of Borough Kitchen (London), Rachna Dewan of Lords At Home (London and Chorleywood) and Lyanna Winter of Cooks Central (St Andrews).
* If you are a cookshop or housewares buyer from anywhere in the UK who would like to join the Judging Panel for the online judging process (flexible, with no travel involved), please contact Jo Howard by Tuesday August 4 firstname.lastname@example.org
* Retailers have a few more days to self nominate their shops for all the retailer award categories (including Display, Initiative, Training, Independent Cookshop of the Year, Multiple or Small Group of the Year, Best Garden Centre, Best Supermarket, Best Department Stores), with the extended deadline for retail submissions of Tuesday August 4. To enter, click HERE.
* Today (Friday July 31) is the final day for suppliers to submit product entries (free of charge) HERE.
Top: Some of the renowned retail specialists that are judging the product categories of The Excellence in Housewares Awards 2020.