Without an in-person event since March 2019, the pressure was on for The Inspired Home Show to deliver its usual great mix of inspiration and innovation. Sarah Selzer reports…

The Inspired Home Show in Chicago has been waiting three years to welcome back international and home-grown brands and buyers to a show that prides itself on being packed full of trends. From the New Exhibitor Preview and Trending Today events which take place on the Saturday morning before the show starts – this year saw 90 new exhibitors from across the globe, with Health @ Home the trend theme – to the keynote address on future colour and designs trends by Lee Eismann, executive director of the Pantone Institute.

There is the Inventors Revue which gives start-ups and entrepreneurs a chance to shine, the Cooking Theater welcoming names including the legendary Martha Stewart and the Innovation Theater featuring seminars on all aspects of retail. Then there are the Global Innovation Awards – for Excellence in Retailing, Product Design and Student Design as well as three halls of exhibitors including ‘show within a show’ areas like Dine & Décor and Discover Design. There is plenty to see and listen to!

The show ran for a day less this year, finishing on the Monday, but still managed to include a whole host of networking opportunities as the show drew to a close each day.

Here’s a small selection of brands on show!

Lynn & Liana is a family-run business in Canada combining Canadian maple or acacia with the plant-based UVPoxy resin made with recycled bioproducts. The result is stunning! Products can be custom-made and a price example of the tray pictured is approximately $150. The company were exhibiting in the Discover Design section of North Hall.

Lynn & Liana

US brand Oggi has long been known for its barware and used the event to showcase new items like its GROOVE™ double-walled insulated cocktail shaker as well as stand-out ranges like the Modernist collection pictured. Paul Williamson, Vice President of Oggi, led the development of GROOVE™ to address all the known pain points that consumers dislike about traditional cocktail shakers like its grip and keeping the cold on the inside. “With the new GROOVE™, we wanted to create the undisputed best shaker in its class by really looking in depth at what could be improved in order to enhance the experience for our consumers,” said Paul. “The result is a product we can be very proud of and which helps make the art of home mixology even more pleasurable.”

Oggi

Nuts Innovation from Switzerland had innovative bags and wraps (including vegan) and some really different products like these cork-bottomed bread bags. You can use them to store on the counter-top or simply roll down the top of the bag and serve directly from there on the dining table. For storing, unroll the top and draw the string. Produced with 100% organic cotton and feature either the soft cork base or a stylish â€œjeans” cotton.

Nuts Innovation

Verve Culture featured a great eclectic collection of products from artisans in countries including Mexico and Thailand. Verve co-founder Jules Vertrees, who runs the business with her mother Jacquie Lewis and Sarah Laping Garland, explained the idea behind the business came as a way of moving from mass market.  “We became disillusioned with the mass produced products prevalent in the marketplace, we started to seek products that were more unique and have actual heart and soul!” Products include hand-blown glassware made from recycled bottles in Mexico like the Orange Swirl Collection pictured here.

Verve Culture

Inventors Revue – Pitch to the Pros

As a visitor, one of the elements of the show I love is the Inventors Revue and this year I was lucky enough to be invited onto the panel element, called Pitch to the Pros. I lent my PR expertise alongside other professionals ranging from patent law to product design and we received presentations from a varied selection of entrepreneurs (some definitely better than others!) The sheer enthusiasm and love for their product, often with a very personal story behind it, can’t be beaten! The stand-out for me this time in tabletop terms – and the engaging presentation – was Tappas. A beautiful selection of serving dishes all contained in a bamboo and beechwood sphere. Designed in Miami by artist and mother of two, Sandra Portal-Andreu, the Tappas is three inter-connecting dishes which close up as a sphere so great for transporting as well as an eye-catching centre-piece. The product grew out of finding a practical solution to her family’s get togethers and the number of different dishes that would be brought along. Sandra said this was part of the family tradition but as an artist she wanted to create “a statement, a conversation starter and a modern piece to exhibit your delicious bites!”

Tappas

Next year’s The Inspired Home Show runs from March 4-7 at McCormick Place, Chicago. Check out https://www.theinspiredhomeshow.com/ for details on exhibitors, GIA 2021-2022 winners, keynote addresses, Innovation Theater and more.