Be bold in building your brand, urges Sur La Table chief

Housewares retailers should be bold, take risks and believe in themselves, according to Kathy Tierney, ceo of Sur La Table – the fastest-growing cookshop chain in the US.

Be bold in building your brand, urges Sur La Table chief

Speaking at this week’s Housewares Conference, she was explaining to delegates the importance to retailers of having a recognised brand and how to nurture it.

Tierney said that Sur La Table divided its business into products for preparation and presentation, and had identified that its customers fell into one of several groups. These were culinary aficionados, home cooks with a genuine interest in cooking, entertainers – for whom atmosphere was important, and beginners.

Working with this information, the stores’ brand attributes included catering for multi-cultural trends, offering real expertise, discovering new products (“we shop the world”) and providing inspiration.

Most important, though, is Sur La Table’s authoritative selection. “We sell everything,” said Tierney. The business has 10,000 SKUs, making up an offer that is “accessible, extensive and specialised”.

Developing a brand, said Tierney, is beneficial not only for stores but the best way to exploit multi-channel retail opportunities.

Tierney offered the following advice to retailers looking to build their brands: be bold and take risks but understand what resonates with customers; believe in yourself and be your brand’s champion; create boundaries – that is, “say no to doing crazy things”, and make good judgments.

Finally, be patient, Tierney urged: “It doesn’t happen overnight”.

The Housewares Conference is organised by and Housewares Magazine. For a full report on the day’s presentations see Housewares Magazine’s April issue.

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