Intercraft, for one, is targeting the drug chain channel, particularly through its licensing agreement with Kodak to produce and market frames under the Kodak name. “We think there’s a tremendous opportunity there and are trying to educate chain drug retailers about that opportunity,” Scott Slater, vice president of merchandising comments. “The Kodak frame line will help them coordinate film, photofinishing and frame sales.”

In September, Intercraft launched a collection of Kodak fashion frames called Royal Gold, the same name Kodak is using for a new line of film. The frames retail at $3.99 for metal styles and $ for wood, and a coupon good for $1 off on a box of Royal Gold film comes with each frame purchased.

Do-it-yourself (D-I-Y) products are a growing category, spurred by the popularity of home improvement television shows. One particularly significant trend is the rise in the numbers of women undertaking D-I-Y projects. Some home center stores report that 50% of their customers are women. Retailers have divided consumers into those interested in light D-I-Y and those with professional aspirations, providing appropriate equipment for both groups.

The popularity of TV shows like “This Told House” and the hit sitcom “Home Improvement” reflect the interests of a do-it-yourself market that is larger and more diverse than ever before.

“There are a lot more do-it-yourselfers out there, including women,” said James Dehner, group product manager at Rubbermaid which has targeted the D-I-Y consumer with a growing line of tool boxes and carriers, storage containers, small-parts organizers and modular storage cabinets for the workshop, garage or basement.

The profile of the D-I-Y consumer is changing dramatically with the increase in single-parent families and the breakdown of traditional gender-specific roles.

The rise of the woman do-it-yourselfer is a significant trend led by an increase in single- female homeowners and heads-of-households,” said Ann Hanson, product manager in Black & Decker’s household products division.

In many homes of the ’90s, “women have to take on all the tasks themselves,” Hanson noted. As a result 50 percent of the customers at some home centers are women, she said.

Retailers of D-I-Y merchandise “have got to be thinking about the woman coming in to buy the product,” said Rubbermaid’s Dehner. The female do-it-yourselfer responds to products that are colorful, convenient and easy to use, and she wants knowledgeable sales help, Dehner said.

Well over half of all tool boxes are purchased by women, and Rubbermaid considered the female perspective in developing its line. In consumer research, a traditional gray color tested well with men over 40, but blue was the number-one choice of women and men under 40. Accordingly, Rubbermaid added tool boxes in “hardware blue,” and they’re selling extremely well, Dehner said.


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