Bright Colors, Bright Future for Zak! Designs
By Lorrie Baumann
And Zak! Designs achieves all of these by serving consumers’ interests with inventive designs and social consciousness.
Color is an important design consideration for the maker of casual tableware and products for home entertaining, and Zak! designs around colors that fit into color stories with a strong trend behind them. Grape is a favorite this year, and it fits well into a bright color story that includes raspberry, kiwi and yellow shades. Along with a citrus story, these colors are a great way for consumers to add a bright note into a kitchen and dining room with a more neutral background—and that’s a scheme that’s trending strongly this year with encouragement from the makers of countertop appliances and other kitchen accessories who’ve brought out colorful lines this year.
“Color plays an important role in everything we do at Zak Designs,” Zakheim says. “Each year we study the color trends from around the world and find new and unique ways to incorporate them into fun and functional products that are stylish enough for formal meals and durable enough for outdoor gatherings.”
The Zak! Designs color stories are designed to make it easy for a consumer to add service items for a party table that coordinate with the casual dinnerware that’s already in the cabinet. “We try to create solutions for all different kinds of entertaining needs – from our appetizer plates and Non-Skid Gallery Trays to our Multi-Tiered Dessert stands and cupcake trays, we want to help people make a strong color statement from the first course to the last,” Zakheim says. “And because we know life isn’t all about entertaining, we design all of our products to be just as functional for everyday use as they are for special occasions.”
The company is also responding to consumers’ growing interest in entertaining at home. “People have rediscovered how much fun it is to entertain at home, and they are looking for new products that will help make entertaining easier and more colorful,” Zakheim says. “Our products not only give them the fun and functionality that they’re looking for in their serveware, but also the versatility. So whether they’re hosting a get-together with a few friends or a huge New Year’s Eve party, our products help them entertain with a style that fits the occasion.”
The company is putting a lot of emphasis this year on the Moso line, a line of products that looks and behaves like melamine but is actually made from bamboo, so it’s environmentally friendly and biodegradable. “We designed all of the products to have smooth, natural, organic shapes as a way to highlight the environmentally friendly aspect of the line,” Zakheim said. “We wanted to make sure that it was the design of the products that would catch people’s eyes, then the environmentally friendly element would become a bonus feature because they had already fallen in love with the look and functionality of the products. It makes it much easier for retailers to sell it that way.”
It’s been observed that environmental considerations aren’t driving the housewares market as strongly this year as in previous years, which may reflect the fact that there haven’t been much in the way of environmental scandals in the news lately. Zakheim, however, still feels that it’s important to his company to honor the sensibilities of those who are strongly motivated by their concern for the environment.
“As a company, we feel strongly that it’s up to all of us to do our part. Little steps can lead to big changes, and we’re trying to do what we can to be more environmentally responsible – from the products we make to the business practices we implement,” he says.
That same note of caution about the necessity of consideration for customers’ hot-button issues echoes when Zakheim speaks about social responsibility. Several factories took a look at their manufacturing operations after a disastrous fire in Bangladesh brought to light poor working conditions in the factories that many international apparel companies use to source their goods. For Zakheim, that awareness is not new, he says, and Zak! Designs has long been careful about inspecting and auditing those facilities to ensure that his company isn’t caught up in such an event.
“The quality and safety of our products has always been – and will always be – our top priority, and we recognize that this starts at the factory,” Zakheim said. “We audit every one of our factories on a regular basis to ensure that they meet the highest standards of quality, safety, and social compliance.” Many of the Zak! Designs products are produced in Asia, and the company has an office in the region with 65 employees who are tasked with making sure that compliance issues are above standards, he adds.
All of this ensures that Zak! Designs has a future as well as a past—and Zakheim is enthusiastic about the company’s future, starting with the anticipated introduction of new items in the Moso line in time for next spring’s Tabletop show. “I’m very excited about where we’re heading. We’re growing globally, we’re forming new partnerships with great retailers around the world, and we’re coming out with new products that I think people will really gravitate toward,” Zakheim said. “I feel very good about our future.”