Housewares Design Awards

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2009 Best in Category: Furniture

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Meco Corp.

Nichola Collection - Folding Table and Chairs

Over the past two years, Meco Corporation has worked to redefine the folding furniture segment by bringing to market fashionable products with on-trend designs that also offer new folding mechanisms.

As that effort is beginning to pay off with placement at specialty stores, catalogers and Internet-based retailers, Meco’s work to develop upscale folding furniture assortments was also recognized at the 2009 Housewares Design Awards as its Nichola collection was named Best In Category for Furniture.

According to the company, the table and chairs in the Nichola line are designed to offer the appearance of case goods furniture. Items in the collection are said to set up quickly with no assembly required and fold flat for easy storage.

“What we have found is that the upscale collection empowers some consumers to save but other consumers to splurge,” said Bob Hebner, director/marketing with Meco. “Some consumers can choose our products in an effort to trade down and save money, but others who are willing to spend a bit more, can trade up and purchase our folding furniture.”

When the company unveiled its upscale collection in 2007, Meco officials realized they needed to separate their higher-end, fashion forward products from the opening pricepoint metal folding furniture assortment the company has been selling for many years. As a result, the Innobella brand was launched.

While products marketed under Meco’s upscale Innobella brand were well-received by many of the company’s retail customers, it was the catalogers and e-commerce retailers that were among the first to carry selections from the upscale folding furniture assortment.

“They came aboard immediately when we were ready to ship the products,” he recalled. “Since we were launching a line that was new, unique and up-market, it proved to be a win-win for us and our retail customers.”

Hebner said the next step from the standpoint of retail distribution is likely to be the warehouse clubs, which typically look for better quality products, but can sell them at sharp pricepoints given their margin requirements. Looking ahead, he also feels there are opportunities to sell lower-priced versions of the Innobella designs to discounters as well.

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