Fiskars’ Brand Plans
Posted on April 13, 2016 by
By Allison Zisko
Ulrik Garde Due: “The DNA and heritage of each brand is so deep.”
Having amassed some of the biggest, oldest and most venerated brands in tabletop, the Finnish consumer goods company, which is 360 years old, is poised to lead on a global scale in what it calls the Living sector.
The company is also establishing itself as a powerful entity in the tabletop world, and would consider other acquisitions, including tabletop, to enhance its lifestyle approach, said Ulrik Garde Due, who was named president of Fiskars’ Living business unit in January.
The Living unit includes the English & Crystal Living division of Waterford, Wedgwood, Royal Doulton, Royal Albert, Johnson Brothers and Rogaska brands that were acquired last May, as well as the Scandinavian Living business which consists of Iittala, Royal Copenhagen, Rorstrand and Arabia. Fiskars’ other divisions include functional products such as knives, garden tools and the scissors which gave the company its start more than three centuries ago, and an outdoor products division.
The Americas management team, from left, Lucas Updegraph, Michael Craig, Robin Goad and Rick Fencel
Updegraph was promoted to divisional vice president, head of sales for Scandinavian Living and English & Crystal Living, Americas, and reports to Craig. Updegraph was formerly vice president of sales for WWRD Americas and he will continue to handle national accounts, Craig said.
Fencel, also formerly vice president of sales at WWRD, is now vice president of sales, specialty retailing and Canada for English & Crystal Living, Americas. Fencel reports to Updegraph.
Goad has been appointed vice president of sales, independents and luxury retailing for Scandinavian Living and English & Crystal Living, Americas, while continuing her current role as general manager of Scandinavian Living, Americas. Goad reports to Updegraph for sales of both businesses and to Craig for marketing and operations of the Scandinavian Living, Americas business. The brands are also now located in the same place—the Scandinavian companies moved their Americas offices from Princeton to Wall, N.J., where WWRD is located. The Scandinavian brands ship from Vineland, N.J., while the English brands ship from Wall. All the brands will be showcased in one New York showroom on the 23rd floor of Forty One Madison at the New York Tabletop Show this month.
The new sales structure and physical relocation is indicative of the collaboration, not the integration, of the two business groups, Craig told HFN. “We believe we’ve aligned the structure to better serve the channels and provide better service,” he said.
The partnership creates great back-end synergies in running platform, supply chain and other operations, said Garde Due. It will have no impact on the consumer’s point of view of the brands, but it will allow for more in-depth partner collaborations, he added.
The Scandinavian brands are strong in the independent and museum store channel, while the English and Irish brands are leaders at department stores, and Garde Due said he will look at crossover possibilities where relevant.
Garde Due joins Fiskars from the luxury world, having served most recently as CEO of Temperley London, the British luxury fashion brand. He was also president and CEO at Georg Jensen and was on the management team at Burberry that was charged with revitalizing that English brand.
“His extensive experience in luxury brands, proven business skills, as well as background in revitalizing consumer brands into some of the world’s best known brands will help in strengthening our position, developing the brands and further improving our business,” said Kari Kauniskangas, president and CEO of Fiskars Corp., at the time of Garde Due’s appointment.
Garde Due told HFN that his goal in tabletop is “to make sure to keep each brand integrity separate and well defined.
“The DNA and heritage of each brand is so deeply rooted in the countries where they originate from. That is fascinating,” he said. “We have great archives which we are actively working with and making as accessible to our design teams as possible to really use the incredible assets we have. Each brand is well recognized for either iconic products or iconic colors or specific craftsmanship in one area. Some brands do need to be repositioned and revived to be [more relevant]. There’s a great opportunity there.
“It’s still early days,” said Garde Due, who had been on the job for eight weeks when he spoke with HFN. “There are some initial feelings that I have for some of the brands. A good example of a strong designer collaboration was the Iittala launch with Issey Miyake,” he said, creating a lifestyle presentation and integrating a soft element into Iittala’s design language.
There will be similar collaborations among the other brands, he added. There’s an opportunity to take Wedgwood from the perception of a specialized china brand into a lifestyle brand, for example. Wedgwood currently has a license agreement with Revman International for bed ensembles, and Garde Due envisions extending the Wedgwood brand further into soft home.
There are also opportunities to build a stronger omnichannel culture across all the brands and consistently align the images projected from one channel to another. Its Web business, both direct-to-consumer and with its wholesale partners, will be bigger. “We will do an audit on range planning to have a more focused offering with a global point of view,” he said. “We will make sure marketing has that 360-degree consistency, from whatever consumer touchpoint.”
Garde Due said he also plans to fine tune the price pyramid to protect the aspirational aspects of each brand. Waterford’s strength in personalizing crystal giftables will be maintained, for example, while also exploring beautiful gifting ranges in great packaging at lower price points.
Garde Due, who attended the Tabletop Show in October, said he is eagerly anticipating the spring show. “I look forward to coming to New York,” he said. “I was blown away by the beauty of our showroom, and I’m looking forward to seeing the presentation of the brands.”
Craig said, “Our showroom is the ultimate location for our customers to see the brands and how they should be presented. It should be an exciting and action-packed show for us.”