Taking legacy brands online
If you take a step back and think about Scandinavian design, you can see the deep influences of Scandinavian nature and heritage. Unfortunately, many of the products developed in the region have also stayed in the region. But with the collected experience that comes from the different NOD brands, this is about to change.
“A number of people who founded design companies in Scandinavia have handed them down to a new generation with the mission to stay true to their heritage. It is exciting to see these iconic design items repositioned for an online reality,” says Susanna Campbell, Chair of NOD.
A long string of international success, going online
String® has a long history of international recognition. The 1950s and 1960s were eventful years for the company. The String shelf was mounted in the offices of the UN Headquarters in New York after winning the gold medal at the Milan Triennale, part of the exhibition at H55 which was the start of the Swedish design movement, and the String System soon became the best-selling piece of Scandinavian furniture in Germany.
“When we took over String 2004 from the design duo Nisse and Kajsa Strinning, and started String Furniture, String had a long period of very limited distribution,” says Peter Erlandsson, co-founder of String Furniture. ”We had our sights set on exports and we quickly built up a network of agents and retailers with physical stores around the world.”
Today, String Furniture can also see how online sales have increased exponentially. “Nearly 70% of our sales are online. But we can also see that it is important with a mix, to be in the right physical stores with the opportunity to offer large volumes online,” says Erlandsson. “We produce everything in Sweden, but our products are made to go global, and ideally suited for e-commerce. All products come flat-packed making it easy to ship, without wasting any space. This is how it has been from the beginning – String was actually ahead of IKEA with flat-packed furniture!”
Like many of its siblings in the NOD family, Photowall is a design-driven company, but also somewhat of a different animal. Photowall was founded in 2006 by the brothers Niklas and Charlie Johansson, who thought that the existing range of personal wall art was quite limited. With their technical backgrounds and a great interest in design, they decided to try something new: to print wallpaper digitally. Today, Photowall is a company that focuses on quality, creative design and tailor-made products. In the creative headquarters of Stockholm’s Skarpnäck suburb, Photowall manufactures all products with innovation and the greatest technical accuracy. And sales are all online, D2C, and 95% of sales are international.
Susanna Campbell concludes: “I see immense opportunity for our network of companies to learn from each other. If you haven’t created your own online roadmap, it is quite a lot of work, but having close partners within NOD to help you will make that process much smoother.”