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Retail buyers urge suppliers to enter EIH Awards NOW

Retailers are eagerly looking forward to judging the Excellence in Housewares Product Awards 2020. Suppliers now have until Friday July 31 to enter via the online portal

Suppliers are urged to urgently get on the case as the entry portal will close in just a few days time and regardless of the world’s current uncertainties, one thing the industry can bank on is that there will be finalists and winners in this year’s Excellence In Housewares Awards, but you can only stand a chance if you enter. Rob Willis, director at Max Publishing which owns and organises the event confirmed: “We have some positive news to share, very shortly, regarding this year’s awards – and rest assured we will absolutely be recognising the products and retailers than continue to shine through the darkness, all you have to do is enter.”

Nicola Hattersley, tabletop buyer, John Lewis (one of the trio of JL judges): “Despite our world of lockdown there is still demand from consumers and retailers need to be more focused in selecting the best products to put before their customers. The Excellence in Housewares Awards gives you a free marketing opportunity to get your products in front of key retail buyers through the judging process by simply uploading your product images and details.”

Matt Thomas, utility buyer, John Lewis adds: “In this world of virtual meetings and virtual trade fairs it can be very difficult for buyers to see newness and innovation for the coming seasons, suppliers should be looking to take advantage of every opportunity to showcase the very best of what they sell. The Excellence in Housewares Awards offers a fantastic window to do this in front of the industry.”

“Come on guys, ‘show us your wares,’” says Chris Lynn-Thomas at Kooks Unlimited, Richmond. “ With no trade shows and no rep/agent visits, it would be great to see some bright new innovative products that we can look forward to stocking. Costs you nothing to enter, but could reap rewards if chosen.”

“This year, more than any other year, you should definitely think seriously about entering your products to be judged by prominent housewares and cook shop retailers,” comments Fenwick buyer Helen Miller (judge in 2019 and many previous years). “Even if you don’t win the award, you will still have won due to the exposure of your product(s) to the judges and then the wider reader audience of Progressive Housewares Magazine. Do it! Stand by your product(s) and enter it (them).”

Holly Wilson at Prep Cookshop and Richard Dare (London) states: “Having missed out on all the shows this year I’m desperate to see some new ideas and re-immerse myself in product. It’s a great opportunity to get product in front of buyers who are looking for inspiration and to see the best of what the housewares industry has to offer to take us forward into the ‘new normal’ and really drive those sales in tricky times. Maybe it’s the most important year?”

Tina Barkway, director at Aldiss, Fakenham acknowledges: “During lockdown the home cooking and entertaining categories took on a life of their own.  Social media was alive with images of homemade cakes, exotic meals and good old traditional dishes, which had been created by home cooks who probably don’t normally have the time to experiment.  With this in mind – and a slow return to what will be normal – I am really looking forward to seeing what innovative, stylish and practical items will be put forward for this year’s awards.”

Above: David Conduit of Harts addressing fellow judges at last year’s Excellence in Housewares Product Judging.
Above: David Conduit of Harts addressing fellow judges at last year’s Excellence in Housewares Product Judging.

“What on earth are marketing teams doing if they are not entering The Excellence in Housewares Awards 2020?” asks David Conduit, director at Harts of Stur. He continues: “You can’t win it if you’re not in it!  I hear suppliers who whinge that they see the same winners, and yet many of the same suppliers don’t bother to enter their products in the Awards! Personally, it is very frustrating to judge a section and know there is a better product that hasn’t been entered.

I can’t understand why every supplier doesn’t enter its top products. A panel of retail buyers will look at every product entry. Then there is all the press coverage for those that reach the finals. And this is all free, without the need to actually send a product sample this year because entry is online.

I hope to a full ‘smorgasbord’ representing a year of top housewares products.”

The judging panel (so far) also includes: Elaine Hooper, Cookshop buyer at John Lewis; 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) and Mandy Cohen, etc (North Berwick), with many more retailers to be confirmed.

* 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 on


Top: Among the buyers who are eager to judge the EIH: John Lewis’s Matt Thomas, and Kooks Unlimited’s Chris Lynn-Thomas and Prep Cookshop’s Holly Wilson.

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