Stainless Steel Strong. Going Retro? Maybe Yes. Maybe No
Is color becoming a well-trod path to the retro look that's being felt in so many home furnishings segments? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Brian Maynard, director of marketing communications for KitchenAid Small Appliances, cited mixed results. "Our majestic yellow, which is a buttercup color that kind of reminds baby boomers of their grandmother's kitchen, has done all right," he said."But seacrest green, a '50s malted mixer color, did not sell particularly well. For a time, we also had a product in aqua, a very '50s-ish color. It did not sell well either."
Maynard added that "KitchenAid was retro before retro was cool, because I would contend that the stainless-steel look is retro. Some of the styling on our stainless-steel products has a retro feel to it, albeit a commercial retro feel. It harks back to the classic diner, which was all stainless steel. And sales of stainless-steel-look appliances and appliances with stainless-steel facades are increasing, not decreasing. There's no question that it's a niche marketnot mainstream, not for everybodybut it's a viable market nonetheless."
One of the mainstays of KitchenAid small appliances is the stand mixer, introduced in close to its present form in the early 1930s and still a strong seller. Like the vintage Coca Cola bottle, its shape is so distinctive and recognizable that it's been trademarked and was included in an exhibition, "Icons: Magnets of Meaning," at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1997.