Reimagined Quintessence: Top Ten at IHHS 2016

Much of the research on Millennials paints them as aliens. They are a species so multi-dimensional, so multi-faceted that their natures are foreign to modern researchers. They are novel yet traditional; free-spirited yet practical; idealistic yet realistic.This is a generation pulled in many different directions, yet they have common values at their core.  There is order in the chaos.


At AIMsights, we’ve explored the nuance in this cohort and discovered many underlying motivations behind their behaviors. Millennials are looking for quintessential products for their homes, the tried-and-true products they know to be functional and long-lasting. But they are also looking for something fresh that fits their different, more intentional, and often, smaller homes. They want a new twist on the classics.


This year at the International Home and Housewares Show (IHHS,) we scoured the halls for products that captivated the idea of “reimagined quintessence” — quintessential products that have been reimagined for today, yet preserve their timeless function.
Here are ten products (in no particular order) that we found to exemplify this idea of reimagined quintessence — a perfect fit in today’s homes:

1. Crafthouse by Fortessa Barware

This new line is beautiful to look at, but its function is what earned it a spot on the top ten list. Each piece is thoughtful and each detail provides a purpose — like etched glass with measurement markings — for the perfect marriage of fashion and function. Cocktails are coming back in a big way, as shown in growing bourbon and whiskey sales. Millennials want to experiment with spirits, but they also want it to be simple, never overwhelming. The Crafthouse line makes spirits accessible. It makes it easy for even the novice mixologist to experience the perfection you get with accurately measured ingredients.



2. Kitchen IQ — Compact Kitchen Scale

Millennials love to cook. They enjoy trying new recipes, exploring new cuisines…and, of course,  Instagramming the end results. For many ethnic recipes, weights are the preferred unit of measurement, over volume. But bulky kitchen scales don’t have a place in the intentional, curated kitchens of today’s consumer. The Compact Kitchen Scale provides all the measuring capabilities without the huge footprint. It folds up for easy storage in even the tiniest urban kitchen, yet can measure up to 11 pounds of food. The digital reader makes the scale quick and easy to use, and when the job is done, it can be quickly folded away.



3. OXO — FurLifter Furniture Brush

It’s no secret that Millennials like to pamper their pets, but bedazzled pet carriers and costumes are making way for more practical purchases. Millennials are looking for pet products that perform and the FurLifter from OXO certainly does. It’s a classic tool that removes pet hair — made even better with its new easy-clean feature. In short: it simply works. Clean-freak Millennials will love how easy it is to keep their furniture fresh, while environmentally-conscious Millennials will love its waste-free nature, as compared with paper-based pet hair removers.



4. Icon — Cast Iron Cookware

As IHHS and Houseware industry veterans, the AIMsights team was excited to see this new innovation in cookware. The Icon line offers all the benefits of cast iron – even heating, oven-safe, withstanding extremely high temperatures, no fat needed to cook — in a completely new way. Pieces are smooth and thin like ceramic and 30% lighter than cast iron.  They can be used on glass and induction stovetops, which makes a big difference in how it can be used in the Millennial kitchen. It’s also rust-proof and chemical-free, and its non-stick properties improve with time. We look forward to seeing where this technology goes in the future!



5. Casabella — Spin ‘N Dry Mop

For urban-dwelling Millennials, space is at a premium. It becomes a challenge to fit their “stuff” in smaller and smaller spaces. The Casabella spinning standing mop solves this challenge beautifully. Spray mops are great for easy storage, but they don’t provide the deep clean that clean-obsessed Millennials are truly after. The Casabella spinning standing mop provides that quintessential loose-mop clean without needing a giant footprint in the linen closet. After use, the handy cylindrical cover slides down to wring out the mop in the shower or bathtub to easily dispose of dirty water. It’s a classic cleaning product designed to work in today’s Millennial home.



6. Eva Solo — Window Bird Feeder

Is there anything more quintessential than a birdfeeder in the backyard? It’s one of life’s simple pleasures, a staple in the classic home of the American dream. But city-living Millennials — many who don’t want to move to suburbia as they get older — haven’t been able to enjoy the trend. Until now, that is. The Eva Solo Window Bird Feeder isn’t hung from a tree in the backyard, it’s attached to outside windows. Birds fly up to the glass bird feeder, giving inhabitants inside a fantastic up-close look at nature. It’s a perfect way to bring a touch of nature to the urban environment.



7. KitchenAid — Artisan Mini Stand Mixer

Is there anything more quintessential than a KitchenAid mixer? For Millennials, who are waiting later to start families, and Boomers, who are increasingly empty nesters as their kids leave home, the large mixers simply aren’t practical. One- and two-person households don’t need to make large batches of food and smaller homes can’t justify an appliance taking up so much counter space. That’s where KitchenAid’s new model hits a sweet spot. It has a 3.5-quart capacity cup and is 20% smaller and 25% lighter than the original, which makes it a perfect fit for smaller households. It has the same powerful motor — for which there is no substitute — and all the attachments of the full-size mixer fit onto the Mini. Users don’t have to sacrifice quality and performance for the smaller size, which is exactly what today’s households want and need.



8. Sassafras Paper Napkins

Millennials love to try new cuisines and spend time with friends, and at-home entertaining is gaining popularity. For those looking for a more elegant option than a haphazardly-ripped sheet of paper towels, Sassafras paper napkins are a great choice. They provide the elegance of cloth napkins without the hassle of dry cleaning linens. We couldn’t believe they were paper when we saw and felt them at the IHHS booth! Sassafras offers many patterns and colors to match any decor, and the low price point allows customers to switch up their look without a huge investment. They also offer holiday patterns, which is a great way to celebrate the season without having to store holiday napkins the other eleven months of the year. 



9. Stasher — Silicone Baggies

We all remember heading to school or work with a brown paper bag and lots of plastic baggies holding everything from sandwiches to carrot sticks to cookies. But in today’s environmentally conscious world, consumers don’t want all that waste. Stasher silicone baggies provide a welcome alternative to bulky storage containers. They’re a reusable alternative to the plastic baggies we all know. They are small in size, lightweight, and have an air-tight seal to keep foods fresh. The baggies are made of European food-grade platinum silicone and do not contain petroleum, PVC, or latex, making them good for us and for the planet. They’re also microwave- and freezer-safe, eliminating the need for transferring food to another container to heat or freeze. And after use, the bags can be put in the dishwasher for easy cleanup. 



10. Vitaclay — Smart Organic Multicooker

Slow cooking is a big trend among Millennials. Their tool of choice has always been traditional electric cookers, but with concerns about chemicals leaching into foods, they’re looking for a better way. This classic clay cooker eliminates that worry. Organic unglazed Zisha clay enhances the dishes, intensifying the flavors and preserving nutrients in the food. The timer is programmed with 10-minutes intervals (up to five hours,) making it easy to cook precise recipes. The rustic orange color is reminiscent of traditional cooking methods, which is a hit with Millennials as they search for reimagined quintessence. The cooker can also be used to cook rice and yogurt, making it a versatile tool for the adventurous chef’s kitchen.


Which item would you most like to have in your home and for what reasons? What major trends have you noticed in your household and homes of your friends?