On the Table
Gathering around the table has taken on a special new meaning in the last two years. As large holiday gatherings, parties and dining out were all put on hold, consumers put extra energy and creativity into their personal mealtime at home with their families. This has left many consumers hungry for an exciting escape from the norm, a departure from the traditional tabletops they grew up with and the opportunity to start fresh and make it their own.
Consumers seek beautiful accent pieces that can be used to serve the meals and snacks that they so lovingly prepared, as well as pieces that can double as home décor items. This consumer habit opens the door for showcasing tablescapes in-store that are both eye-catching and eye-opening, by highlighting how giftable accessories can add a special, personal touch and provide add-on sales for the retailer.
“Any hostess loves a beautiful table, but not everyone knows just what to buy to create one,” said Deborah Shearer, founder Table + Dine, “Set inspirational tables in store. All the customer needs to decide is how many of each item she needs. Remember to include add-on items such as place cards, flower vessels and even coordinating cocktail napkins to help her see the full vision of the table. And, always add in an element of surprise, with maybe a small gift wrapped with pretty paper at each place setting and have that gift close by your table display for customers to purchase.”
Lauren Brekke, vice president of merchandise for Mud Pie echoed this sentiment and said that home accessories can be just the thing to elevate a table, bringing new interest to a standard tablescape.
“When spicing up standard tabletop offerings, I like to keep a few key elements in mind — height, texture and pattern,” Brekke said. “Utilizing candlesticks or colorful glass vases with pampas grass, will draw the eye to the products merchandised both high and low. When working with simple dinnerware, draw customers in by utilizing striking linens to make the tablescape pop. Opt for texture with woven placemats and cloth napkins and add velvet or beaded napkin rings for a layer of interest.”
In addition to adding in accessories, Heather David, chief operating officer, Le Cadeaux, said to think about merchandising and accessorizing tableware with gift sets.
When selecting the dinnerware, it’s always a good idea to go with new stock, however, you needn’t be too selective on the pieces you use. Textured plates and bowls are very on trend with customers but plain dinnerware that allows customers to play with patterns for a mix-and-match effect are also grabbing attention.
“Always tap into your creative voice when it comes to setting your table,” said Lisa Knierim, chief development officer, Creative Tops, Inc., U.S. distributor of Porland, a Poland-based manufacturer of stoneware dinnerware. “If you find a piece that speaks to you, center an entire table around it. You can never go wrong with filling a table or place setting with white pieces too.”
And don’t forget about glassware. With so many interesting shapes, designs and colors available today, mixing and matching just the right pieces can elevate a table and encourage customers to think outside the box on just what they need at home.
“Colorful glassware adds a simple accent,” said Stefanie Russo, program director, Fortessa Tableware Solutions. “Whether you want to make a grand statement or a subtle nod to the season, colorful touches do all that and more.”
Incorporate deep jewel tones or shades of blue, which she said bring a touch of the outdoors in to create a calming, soothing vibe that so many consumers crave amid hectic schedules.
Think Beyond the Table
Here is a smart tip: Let customers know what’s new or on trend for an upcoming holiday or season by hosting in-store workshops.
“Everyone loves an evening out of the house and time to themselves,” said Shearer. “Recruit and collaborate with a local florist for a floral arranging workshop or host a table setting workshop with the help of your vendors. Local sales teams are usually happy to attend and almost all will support with product for the event and/or a giveaway. Serve wine and light appetizers and like any good hostess, don’t forget a small gift for each guest to say, ‘thank you for coming.’”