Home Aji Das Remembered as Housewares Industry Leader
March 2, 2023

Aji Das Remembered as Housewares Industry Leader

By Peter Giannetti


Housewares industry pioneer Aji Das, who recently passed away at 79, was remembered by colleagues and customers as a tireless, hands-on business leader with masterful new product timing and a knack for building enduring relationships.

Das most recently was CEO of Oggi, an Anaheim, CA-based developer and marketer of barware, beverageware, kitchenware, serveware and storage products. Das founded Oggi in 1993.

London-born Das began his career in England pitching homewares at agricultural shows, exhibitions and London’s Petticoat Lane street market. After working the U.K. show circuit for several years, Das in 1977 moved to the U.S. He soon thereafter established A.K. Das & Co., specializing in thermal carafes, ceramics and acrylic serveware. Das in 1992 sold A.K. Das to Kamenstein then started Oggi a year later.

Known for building strong trading relationships in the housewares business, Das specialized in reading the market, finding niches and unmet needs and acting with creativity and speed to bring new products to market.

Oggi moves forward under the ownership and direction of Paul Williamson, Das’ son in law, and the Oggi management team and staff.

“A master at product development and a pioneer in Asian manufacturing and sourcing, Aji Das never wavered from his personal and business philosophy to bring affordable, practical products to the retail marketplace,” Williamson said. “Suffice to say, Aji  touched peoples’ lives in so many ways, regardless of status, position or so-called station in life or business.”

Retailers who worked closely with Das fondly recalled his disarming, personal approach to business partnership.

“Mr. Das was the ultimate gentleman,” said HomeGoods housewares buyer Harry Jacobs. “He was so generous and loyal. I am saddened he and I are never going to have tea again during a show. A spot of tea and a little negotiating: That was always nice.”

Rick Kratchman, co-owner of gourmet housewares retailer Kitchen Kapers, said. “Aji always liked to poke fun at life, and he always made you feel comfortable.”

Colleagues of Das said he leaves the legacy of a strong business foundation that will remain anchored by values on which he built it.

Debi Sapolin, director of business development at Oggi, said, “Aji was a relationship builder. He built, valued and treasured his relationships with the factories he worked with and the retailers he sold to. For decades, he successfully merged the relationships he cultivated to bring to market excellent quality product at an exceptional value.”

“Aji was a brilliant titan in the housewares industry, and, most especially, perhaps the nicest, most caring person I’ve ever known to customers and colleagues alike,”said Richard Murphy, Oggi sales director. “His passing leaves a massive void in our hearts and the entire industry.”

“Aji was a man who lived his life as he chose and did it his way, and the modern Oggi brand reflects Aji’s unique personality,” said Will Symonds, Oggi president. “Oggi is an Italian word which means ‘Today.’ The Oggi brand motto is ‘Life Starts Today.’ This was exactly how Aji lived his life, making the most of each day and building a famous brand known for delivering affordable, on-trend housewares products to consumers, helping them to live a life well lived, today.”

The Oggi team will toast Das at a special cocktail reception during the Inspired Home Show, Sunday, March 5, 5:30 p.m. in room s105B/C on Level 1 of the McCormick South Building.

Pin It on Pinterest