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A behind the scenes look at this years’ Excellence in Housewares Awards

Kate Godber, from the CHA takes a behind the scenes look at the housewares industry ‘Oscars’ – The Excellence in Housewares Awards at The Lancaster London

Putting on an event like The Excellence in Housewares Awards is no mean feat. It takes the team at Max Publishing, publishers of industry magazine Progressive Housewares, months to get the Awards ready. And it’s not just one night either… in the run up there are two judging days, countless meetings with sponsors and co-hosts like us, bags to be packed, invites to be designed, scripts to be written, sets to be set up, entertainment to be decided upon… the list really does go on.


Sarah Golden, our Membership, Marketing and Publishing Director and I arrived on Wednesday afternoon to support Progressive Housewares, in our role as co-hosts. Like little ants and with military precision we started putting out the gifts, menus, mugs, scissors and goodie bags on to the tables. At that time in the afternoon it is hard to see how the event will ever be ready when you see the mountain of cardboard boxes waiting to be unpacked but the team have this all under control – they’ve done these awards for 16 years! Quickly the room transformed and with sound check happening, the mood was set.

Excellence in Housewares Stage

After a quick shower and a splash of glitter Sarah and I were back downstairs to rehearse with Chris Lynn Thomas, the CHA’s Chairman who was making a speech on our behalf. A few photos later and a glass of champagne in hand we joined the guests in the Nine Kings Suite bar upstairs.

This year’s theme was Bollywood and every detail had been thought of, from the film posters around the room and the bindi’s available on the tables, to the Bhangra drums as people walked in. Dancers opened the evening and I was particularly impressed with the handsome Karan Pangali, who definitely had a touch of Aiden Turner (Poldark) about him! The compere for the night was the incredibly funny Tommy Sandhu who kept us on track for the 26 awards – which isn’t easy especially as the drinks were flowing and people were itching to dance!


We filled three tables on the night and were joined by some of our industry pals, including National President 2016-17 of bira Vin and his wife Anu, as well as some of the special retailers who were up for awards.

Guy and Ian from Barkers Home in Northallerton won Best Department Store

Shanker and Tilak from Lords took the CHA Retailer of the Year title

Holly and Sonia from Prep Cookshop, were finalists for Most Promising Newcomer

Retro Cookshop’s Sandra and Trevor were also finalists for Most Promising Newcomer

Maureen and Michael from Bakers & Larners were finalists for Retail Employee of the Year (Maureen) and Best Independent Department Store

Helen and Sarah from Abraxas were finalists for the Excellence in Specialist Retailing Award and their employee Maureen was up for Retail Employee of the Year

And Dom and Ali from Prezola were finalists for the Excellence in Direct Retailing Award


Once the awards were over, it was over to the Vitamix table for a cocktail (or two), a Bollywood dancing workshop and then dancing and mingling on the dancefloor into the early hours. You know it is a good night when the lights come on in the room and so we took the party upstairs to the first floor bar where I was thankfully able to rest my poor feet!

Thank you so much to the Max Publishing team. Once again you’ve done the industry proud! So much work goes into these awards but the work certainly pays off and the CHA is incredibly honoured to be involved. Bring on the 2017 awards!

Read about all the winners here.