In these modern times, there’s still a kitchen item you can give a woman as a present that counts as a real gift, rather than a gender stereotyping offense. I found out the hard way at Christmas ’06 that it’s not an immersion blender. No, it’s the KitchenAid stand mixer – a product whose throwback design and positioning hit a number of consumer sweet spots and command a serious price premium at retail.
KitchenAid makes a great and respected product, to be sure. But it’s careful product design and positioning that make it the first item on the wedding registries of couples that dine out 5 nights a week.
First, take the logo. What is that – Rockwell Extra Bold? When was that font invented – 1934? (It actually was 1934. I looked it up). And what about the product itself? Knobs and levers rather than computers and LED screens, and colors that June Cleaver would have loved (but check out these trendsetters). Decidedly yesteryear, but intentionally so. Because that’s when baking was really baking, ‘industrial-strength’ really meant something, and a home was really a home.
Times have changed, and it’s as likely to be a man as a woman that goes weak in the knees when they tear back the wrapping paper and read those timeless words: “5-quart brushed stainless steel bowl with handle”. But baking and proper 1950’s homemaking remain inextricably linked. And KitchenAid’s product design gives its stand mixers preemptive ownership of that association.