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The Tabletop Industry Dishes Out New Collaborations image

The Tabletop Industry Dishes Out New Collaborations

By Mark Seavy

Brand licensing and collaborations are bringing new consumers to the table in the tabletop industry.

A number of collaborations were on display at the recent Tabletop Show in New York as suppliers touted not only the more typical partnerships with artists but also pairings with streetwear brand Supreme (Villeroy & Boch), the Roland Garros Tennis Center (Christolfe), and with former model Claudia Schiffer as well as the film Argylle (Vista Alegre).

These collaborations are a break from the more standard place settings of the past, a trend that was accelerated by the pandemic and one that is popular among younger consumers who prefer mixing and matching their tableware rather than aligning with a single brand.

It’s also part of an effort by tabletop companies to expand their reach through partnerships that bring their wares into new distribution channels, potentially attracting new consumers to the brand.

In the case of Villeroy & Boch, the collection with Supreme ($1,000) drew long lines of customers to the streetwear brand’s store for a chance to purchase the limited edition product. The seven-piece La Boule dinner set featured a 9.5-inch diameter round serving platter with a checkerboard design that also housed four bowls and two dinner plates.

For Vista Alegre, the tie in with Argylle was an old-fashioned glass ($195) that was featured in the film and sold separately as a licensed product. Vista’s pairing with Schiffer came together after it discovered the model was a collector of its Bordallo Pinheiro porcelain brand. The result was a collection of home décor stretching from a $45 dinner plate to a $2,000 vase. Vista also unveiled an extension of its Oscar De La Renta-licensed dinnerware and the addition of two, three-ounce shot glasses in a co-brand with Cachaça rum.

“Consumers are no longer vested in an eternal pattern [of dinnerware] for life and the tableware industry has gained a lot of relevance, especially during [the pandemic],” said John Weeth, VP of Sales at Vista Alegre.  “We have these partnerships all for different reasons and this introduces our brands to new customers. But the pairings have to be authentic.”

At the recent Tabletop Show, that authenticity was most evident through suppliers’ long-term agreements with licensed artists as well as through new ranges that speak very specifically to consumers’ interests.

Certified International, for example, has worked with artist Susan Winget for more than 30 years. It is readying a new 18-piece forest animal collection including mugs, a teapot, plates, and other products based on Winget’s designs that will ship later this.

And Christofle, which is based in France, has launched three new SKUs inspired by the Roland Garros Tennis Centre ranging from a 24-piece flatware set ($2,290) that has a terracotta color to match the clay courts of the tennis facility to a six-piece expresso spoon set ($575). The limited-edition sets launched in late March and are being sold through Christolfe’s eight boutique stores and at Roland Garros, which will host the French Open later this year (May 22-June 5).

To further capitalize on recent growth, tabletop vendors are also extending strong sellers into new categories. Zrike Brands, for example, has been selling a large collection of Hello Kitty melamine dinnerware through Marshalls and Homegoods. Moving forward, it will extend its partnership with Hello Kitty (along with other brands like Lilo & Stitch) into its first outdoor line of bird houses, watering cans, and plant vases.

“These collaborations all get more eyes on a given brand and that is as important as ever these days,” said Nicole Hallenbeck, Brand and Digital Marketing Communications Manager at Villeroy & Boch. The company recently ran a promotional sweepstake offing the winner a De’ Longhi coffee maker, La Colombe coffee, and one of the company’s coffee mugs. “We hit their demographic, and they get our customer base.”

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