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WATERFORD LIGHTING REPOSITIONS FOR GROWTH; THE DIVISION HAS INCREASED PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT WHILE ALSO TARGETING A YOUNGER MARKET.

Byline: Waterford Lighting Repositions for Growth The division has increased product development while also targeting a younger market Waterford Lighting Repositions for Growth The division has increased product development while also targeting a younger market Nancy Meyer

WALL, N.J.-Waterford Lighting has taken an aggressive approach to gaining market share in a highly competitive product classification.

The division of Waterford Wedgwood USA, under the leadership of Kevin O'Malley, vice president of lighting, has beefed up product development and design efforts and has launched a branding campaign that includes opening in-store Waterford galleries.

In the past year and a half, Waterford Lighting has doubled the number of new fixtures and lamps introduced, with an emphasis on targeting a younger audience, and a more contemporary clientele.

"We've got the 50-plus generation covered. We want to expand the appeal to the 30-to-50 set with more transitional and contemporary designs," O'Malley told HFN.

New designs feature colored prisms, drops and buttons; cleaner lines and sleeker silhouettes, as well as a variety of metal finishes. There are many more chandeliers, including oversized statement pieces and many more flush-mount fixtures, in a full array of metal finishes. Relegated to the back of its market showrooms, and the back of the newly redesigned catalog, are the bright brass and crystal pieces that have been staples of the line, but are clearly not up to date in terms of market trends.

Additionally, the Evolutions by Waterford line of hand-blown Italian artglass giftware and lighting has gotten a strong retail response and significant placement, O'Malley said. All of this is a departure from the traditional style for which Waterford has been known. If a buyer hasn't seen the Waterford line in a few markets, they're in for a surprise, he said.

"We say, 'See Waterford in a new light,' but one of the major furniture chains, who hadn't been through the showroom in a while, said, 'This is not your grandmother's Waterford.' I like that tag line better," O'Malley said.

Evolutions by Waterford, he said, has "broken us out of the mold. It's a true piece of art, a combination of giftware and lighting."

In Waterford's High Point, N.C., showroom, the company merchandised a full dining room, complete with a well-appointed table set with Waterford dinnerware, flatware and glasses on fine linen. The centerpiece was the three-tier Waterford crystal chandelier hanging overhead. The look is relatively easy to replicate for lighting showrooms and furniture dealers alike, since the company can sell the whole package, O'Malley pointed out.

In-store merchandising is another initiative.

"Our biggest asset is our brand name, so we're setting up a shop-within-a-shop," O'Malley added. The first in-store Waterford Lighting gallery made its debut this month at Annapolis Lighting, a four-store chain that is advertising the gallery and hosted a crystal-cutting demonstration by one of Waterford's artisans this month.

"It's made the front showroom bright and beautiful," said Annapolis Lighting buyer Holly Miles. "Waterford has made great strides to broaden their customer base. I think it will make a big difference."

"I really think that it's something that enhances the showroom. Obviously we hope that it will increase sales. Because we've sold Waterford portables for years, and know there's a great track record, we made quite a monetary commitment." She said the growth will most likely come from fixtures.

Waterford's modular galleries-with slat-walls, windows and crown molding in the brand's signature light gray-feature a panel of flush-mount fixtures, a cloud overhead for pendants and chandeliers, and electrified cabinets for table and accent lamps to be displayed at different heights. The Annapolis gallery measures 8 feet by 16 feet, but each gallery can be customized to the retailer's needs.

"We found that consumers go into lighting stores and don't know what they're looking at. There's no brand name; it all looks the same," O'Malley said. "This gives us the brand presence because it's the only brand in lighting. It's an investment in our brand."

Waterford's lighting gallery differs from that of other suppliers, including a certain crystal competitor, which just put up fabric panels as backdrops to delineate their space in a store, O'Malley pointed out.

The first furniture retailer to install a gallery will be Jarretsville Furniture, in Jarretsville, Md., in early November. By the end of 2007, Waterford expects to have eight to 10 galleries installed, in lighting and furniture retailers. "We're being very selective," O'Malley said. Retailers must write "sizable" orders, advertise it and commit to keeping "sizable" backup inventory on the goods. The payoff, it's hoped, is significant sales increases.

Already, with all the changes, Waterford has started to see some return on its investment.

"The business is growing fantastically. This year, we expect to be up significantly and that just continues," O'Malley said.

For the January Dallas Lighting market, Waterford will unveil its new showroom and many SKUs, including its piece-de-resistance, an 8-foot-tall, fully dressed crystal chandelier with a retail value of $75,000.

Caption(s): The first Waterford Lighting gallery opened in Annapolis Lighting this month. / Colors are a new direction for Waterford, such as this red crystal Lismore chandelier, accented with clear drops and dressing, to retail for $7,000. / This Evolutions amethyst and amber table lamp, with ebony finished wood, is topped with ochre Ultrasuede shade and a tiger's eye finial, for $495 retail.
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Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 30, 2006
Words:886
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