Is This It?
I don't know about you, but I think the pending acquisition of Yankee Candle by Jarden is the biggest gift industry story of the year and maybe the biggest story of several years.
Part of it is of course the numbers: for an industry where $10 million a year in sales is a big deal, those kinds of zeroes are just rounding errors for both of these companies. They play in the big leagues, the kind that most other suppliers in the business can only dream about.
But it's more than just sales volume. Jarden is a world-class consumer products marketing company that has assembled a stable of brands that short of P&G can hold their own with just about any other player in the general merchandise area.
I know Jarden from previous lives and they are a well-run, professional company.
The fact that a company of that ilk wants to get involved in the candle business - and with it, the gift industry - says a lot about where gift and home is going today. It says that an industry composed of zillions of little companies eking out a living while struggling to survive may be ready for the kind of world-class, sophisticated supplier base that has penetrated virtually every other product segment in this country.
It says that while there's always a place for the new start-up -- the inventor with a better widget - it is newly merged and consolidated companies that are going to take this business to the next level. They are going to introduce a level of professionalism and expertise this industry has never had the chance to experience.
And yes, I know there are lots of small companies reading this and getting angrier by the minute, believing I am saying they will go away. That's not what I believe.
But I do believe that the introduction of some larger suppliers into the business can help the entire industry. Yes, it will change the dynamics, but I think mostly for the good.
I think this is it indeed, the start of a new era for the gift and home industry.