“It’s obviously going to impact sales substantially for us,” Knork president Tom Carson says. “It’s probably our largest retail account for a box store.”
The company began working with the chain in 2008.
“Bed Bath & Beyond started as a test,” says Knork vice president of marketing Lacy Simon.
Initially, the flatware that features its signature knife and fork in one utensil — a Knork — was in only the Wichita Bed Bath & Beyond stores.
“It’s just built from there,” Simon says. “The product sold very well.”
The number grew to 200 before jumping to 650, though Carson notes there are many more Bed Bath & Beyond stores than that, and he’d like to be in all of them. Knork is on the chain’s bridal registry as well.
“That’s done very well for us, too,” Carson says.
“I like to get Knork anywhere there’s heavy bridal,” Simon says.
There are 200 Dillard’s stores that sell Knork.
“Right now, Dillard’s is exploring the opportunities to expand, and that might be a possibility for spring 2013,” Simon says. “Macy’s is looking at a test for next fall.”
There are now about 50 Knork products and $2 million in annual sales for the company, which started in 2004 with one product that Wichita resident Mike Miller created.
“It was kind of gadgetry,” Carson says. “A fork that cuts like a knife.”
The issue was “just overcoming some of the consumer skeptics of the new kind of unfamiliar product,” Simon says.
“It was quite a struggle at the beginning.”
It sometimes still is.
“It is truly such an experiential product,” Simon says. She says the goal is always to put the product into someone’s hands.
“You’ve really got to put it in your hands to experience the functionality of it,” Carson says.
Starting out, Carson says the company sold direct to other businesses.