The Economy of Gastronomy
MOVE OVER, LIVING room—you're so '90s. The kitchen is the new centerpiece of the American household.
According to a study by the Electrolux Group, the average American family spends 175 hours a month in the kitchen, compared to just 31 hours in the living room—but you don't need statistics to see the way the kitchen has captured hearts, minds and stomachs. There are TV networks devoted to cooking (and, more recently, eating). There are social networks seemingly devoted entirely to recipe-sharing (we dare you to go on Pinterest and not gain 10 pounds). And, in perhaps the most telling development, the phrase "tile backsplash" has entered the vernacular.
The kitchen is the place to be, is what we're saying—especially if you're a promotional products distributor. So what are you waiting for? Capitalize on the culinary craze with these six sales tips.
1. Favor the Functional
Kitchens come in all sizes and styles, from stainless-steel-and-granite Ikea-showroom recreations to cinderblock-walls-and-a-microwave college dorms, but they all share one dark, dirty secret: the miscellaneous items drawer. It's the Bermuda Triangle of storage spaces, the place where obscure, over-specialized utensils vanish in a tangle of aluminum and plastic—and you don't want your client's promotional kitchen items to end up there.
That's why Dan Norris, president of Starline USA Inc., Grand Island, N.Y., recommended functional items people will use often, as well as items designed to be kept in the open. "These products are designed with both look and function taken into consideration," he said. "With wooden knife blocks or bamboo cutting boards that will remain on the countertop for daily use, to wine and cheese accessories for entertaining, these products will be on display with logos prominently displayed."
2. Find the Right Market
Food-related industries such as restaurants, grocery stores, catering companies and the like are obvious markets to target, but Sarah Sumner, sales and marketing coordinator for Bay State Specialty Co., Middleboro, Mass., noted that just about any industry can make use of kitchen products. "Every end-user has a kitchen and will find these products useful," she said. "Any industry that provides home services, such as contractors, cleaning services, food delivery and propane/oil delivery services could all use kitchen items related to their service."
Chris Flynn, national sales manager for Owosso, Michigan-based TARGETLINE, mentioned other potential markets for kitchen items. "Many of the kitchen or household product orders I see are for the insurance and real estate industries," he said. "As we see the housing market start to bounce back we are starting to see more and more orders come through."