1. What happened to Kenilworth, and what is its relation to RAK?
Homer Laughlin’s Kenilworth® brand of fine dining porcelain has changed its backstamp to RAK Porcelain. The RAK line has been available here in the United States for five years, but only — and exclusively — through HLC Inc. and under their Kenilworth brand.
2. Is the Kenilworth brand completely gone? If not, why? What is Homer Laughlin’s plan for the brand?
The Kenilworth Trading Company, a member of the Homer Laughlin China Company® (HLC Inc.) family of companies, has always been the distributor of RAK porcelain. It was just decided early on to backstamp RAK’s product as Kenilworth. The Kenilworth backstamp is no more — but Kenilworth Trading Company remains the HLC Inc. company that distributes RAK.
3. Who/what influenced the decision?
The decision to shift to the RAK backstamp was a joint decision between HLC Inc. and the RAK enterprise. The decision was made in order to take advantage of RAK’s growth over the past five years in the global dinnerware market. In addition, the brand change would allow HLC to make use of RAK’s marketing materials to a greater degree. The time had simply come to bring their strong brand to the tabletops of our American customers.
4. Did RAK insist on the name change?
No, it was a joint decision made to further penetrate the fine dinnerware market in the United States. We both agreed we could increase sales, and we thought customers would appreciate the access to the growing global RAK brand.
5. Will/does Homer Laughlin manufacture high-end dinnerware as a complement to the RAK line?
No. While HLC does manufacture pieces that mix well with the RAK line, RAK has a complete offering that takes care of virtually any customer need or request. In fact, it is for this reason that we entered into a relationship with RAK five years ago. They offer excellence in this category that we do not need to duplicate.
6. Who is RAK? Tell me about their company.
RAK Porcelain is part of the internationally known RAK Ceramics Group of the UAE, the world’s leading maker of ceramic tile products and bathware products. RAK offers the finest products and exceptional durability at reasonable prices, and is on course to become the largest global player in the dinnerware market. RAK Porcelain is offered globally and is distributed in the United States exclusively by The Kenilworth Trading Company, a member of the Homer Laughlin China Company® (HLC Inc.) family of companies.
7. From the customer’s point of view, what is different? What is the same?
The change in the backstamp is the only change in the actual dinnerware that any customer will see.
On the delivery side, customers will likely see a positive change — shorter lead times because of the multiplying of warehouse space here in the United States. The Kenilworth Trading Company has invested in a new warehouse that employs KTC staff (versus a third-party warehouse). Our new warehouse nearly doubles the square footage relative to what was previously available. There will be no changes to the product or the line, and the popular dinnerware will still offer the same exciting contemporary designs and trends, the same high quality, and the same meticulous attention to detail.
8. What is the RAK brand’s niche in the total US dinnerware market? How does RAK compare against other players in the market?
The RAK Porcelain brand will be shaped by its competitive advantages:
• Unlike other imported porcelain lines, RAK is manufactured in one factory. This single sourcing ensures we have no color continuity issues and that our shapes match from order to order, year after year.
• RAK offers a tremendous quality-to-price ratio, offering high manufacturing and material quality, consistency, and distinctive shapes that are attractively priced.
9. Can you speak to RAK quality?
We like to say that anyone picking up a piece of RAK Porcelain will immediately feel the quality right in their hands. Anyone who knows and understands the commercial dinnerware business will say that RAK Porcelain is “as good as it gets.” RAK Porcelain uses only the _ nest clays and raw materials and state-of-the-art equipment that allows unsurpassed attention to detail and excellent durability. RAK employs the _ nest ceramic engineers and technicians, and their in-house and celebrity designers are world renowned. RAK’s selection process for flawless product produces fine dinnerware with an impeccable appearance that discriminating chefs, hoteliers, and customers will appreciate.
10. Can I buy RAK direct from RAK or other distributors in the market?
HLC Inc., through its Kenilworth Trading Company, is proud to remain the only distributor of RAK in America with the rights to offer this fine dinnerware product. The RAK line (previously known as Kenilworth) is designed by leaders in the industry. That makes Kenilworth/RAK an extremely important part of the HLC family of companies.