In mid-March, the kitchenware shelves at Walmart received a face-lift as Drew Barrymore’s Beautiful collection arrived in stores across the country.
Consumers received a sneak-peak of initial items in the line — kitchen electrics designed by Made by Gather — on St. Patrick’s Day with a selection of products in Sage Green.
But this was just the start and an expanded assortment of electric and non-electric kitchenware that will officially be unveiled on March 29.
KITCHENWARE TODAY: How did Made by Gather and Drew Barrymore get connected?
SHAE HONG: I was introduced to her and we hit it off immediately. She was very excited about developing a product line for the kitchen and had a lot of ideas. After our initial meeting, we met a few more times and spent several hours listening to her thoughts and ideas about the kitchen. She had some great insights about product and organically it turned into a partnership. Overall, we worked on developing Beautiful over a period of about 18 months.
KWT: What was Drew’s vision?
SH: She is really very hands-on and had some very strong opinions about the look of the products. One time when we were standing in (Made by Gather’s) New York City showroom, she was looking around at some Crux product and wanted to know why it was all black and stainless steel. She made the comment that she would never buy products with that type of look. Her vision was of items that had a soft, but modern look. Also, she just didn’t want the products to look “cool,” she wanted to offer consumers innovation. When she saw the touchscreen on our $300 coffeemaker that we sell to Williams Sonoma, she wanted this on Beautiful. This is where our expertise came in and we were able to figure out how to bring touchscreen technology to items that are more cost-effective.
KWT: Why was Walmart the retailer of choice for Beautiful?
SH: We wanted to launch the line at a mass retailer. To do this we knew it was important to create a brand that would have an emotional connection to the consumer, especially younger shoppers. This vision needed a mass retail partner and Walmart was very excited as they have a long-standing relationship with Drew.
KWT: You mentioned it took about 18 months to develop Beautiful. Did the pandemic slow that process?
SH: We were fortunate that the pandemic did not negatively impact our product development efforts. Fortunately, we were able to get much of the work done prior to the pandemic.
KWT: You along with the Made by Gather team have a great deal of experience in kitchen electrics. But did Drew teach you anything?
SH: She taught me more about color and how color can be brought to life in a way that is not niche. When we were doing our product photoshoots, it was amazing to see how her vision for using color came to life and how well it all worked together. There was nothing mismatched or haphazard about it. I think that was a real learning experience for me.