Forming a group with design icons and born-digital brands
Network of Design (NOD) was formed three years ago and, the CEO Therese Hillman is reflecting on the journey so far and says that the main reasons why she chose to join the group were the opportunity to build something from scratch and the backers’ very high ambition with the group.
“The fact that the two building blocks that we started with were one design icon and one digital native company with similar size and resources was very exciting. I immediately bought into the mission that people in every corner of the world should be entitled to enjoy unique Scandinavian Design.”
Why does your company exist?
Because there is a strong demand for Scandinavian Design internationally and we have the platform that is required to sell design products internationally, both physically and digitally. The home interior design market is generally lagging in terms of online penetration, and we have the ambition to be part of driving this development.
Most of the companies we come across have come relatively far in their product and brand recognition in their home markets but have not had the muscles to grow internationally or digitally, even though the demand is there.
Our goal is to build a group of design-driven companies with strong brands that all benefit from the investments that have been made within each company. Great examples of this are our international sales force, our digital platform and marketing expertise, our sustainability knowledge and efforts, and established product development processes.
Any specific moment that is memorable?
“I would say all the acquisitions that we have made so far – every deal always has something special considering that it is usually a tough negotiation. And at the same time, it is also a phase when you are getting to know each other, etc. Some companies have been family-owned for generations and of course there is a lot of emotions that must be taken into consideration.”
NOD started with String Furniture and Photowall and today consists of nine design brands, what have you learned since the start?
We have been experiencing boosted demand during Covid, and all the challenges related to that specific time. Now we are operating in a very different market with other types of challenges and it is very clear that we are stronger together as a group.
What we have learned is that the degree of maturity and the size of the companies are important, the larger companies seem to be much more resilient due to the diversified geographical footprint and product range. Usually, they have also been operating in similar market conditions before and have the experience of acting fast.
With the macro-economic factors that we are seeing now, we choose to focus on what we can influence and to follow our plan to strengthen our position in the market. Today we are even more convinced that quality products, strong brands, healthy cost control and strong cash flows will mean that we will be able to strengthen our group further.
What have you been most impressed with so far?
The fact that even if we have the legacy we have, our management teams are eager to adapt the operations quickly and they are willing to challenge ”old truths”. They are all very passionate about developing their companies and they are also keen on learning from each other.
Our very long industry experience has been strengthened since the start and when this is combined with our digital expertise, I always feel like magic things are happening!