Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Waterford Crystal

So Waterford Crystal finally cracks, after seemingly going for years from one financial crisis to another. The Irish Times hits the nail on the head here:

However, the company has also been author of its own misfortunes. This is particuarly so in the case of its approach to the US market for Waterford crystal. Long after luxury giftware customer taste had migrated to more modern, informal glassware, such as Riedel, Waterford was persevering with its emphasis on more traditional heavy-cut crystal.

Its investment in Rosenthal and deals with designers such as John Rocha for more modern glassware have amounted to "too little, too late".

It also persevered stubbornly with a policy of distributing its range through A-list department stores, ignoring trends that showed customers increasingly buying their homewares at other outlets such as the Bed, Bath Beyond and Williams-Sonoma chains.

An anecdote:
A few years ago, I wanted to buy something to give as a corporate gift at a conference in Miami. I thought "what about a set of John Rocha Waterford Crystal wine glasses". Sleek, well designed, something that I thought was Irish but still modern and something you'd feel happy using every day. So anyway, i could not find any modern Waterford Crystal wine glasses for sale in places I'd expect. I had to go to Macy's in Downtown Crossing, seek out the small range of chintzy "heavy cut" Waterford Crystal glasses which looked like something from the 1950s, suited to a house with net curtains and shamrock wallpaper, but not something I'd feel happy giving as a corporate gift.

No comments: