What Is IKEA And Why Its First Store In India Is Such A Big Deal

What Is IKEA And Why Its First Store In India Is Such A Big Deal

IKEA Hyderabad store will have a range of 7,500 items to sell


IKEA is a multinational group of companies – founded in Sweden – that sells ready-to-assemble furniture, kitchen ware and home accessories. IKEA is the biggest furniture company in the world, with over 400 stores worldwide, selling affordable household items to millions of customers. It was started by Ingvar Kamprad in 1943, who was 17-year-old at the time, in Sweden. The company is opening its first store in India on Thursday.

IKEA will provide Nordic-inspired furniture to its customers. The store will also have a large restaurant which can accommodate around 1,000 people at a time. The IKEA store, a 13-acre complex, is situated in Hitec City, which is on the outskirts of Hyderabad.

IKEA’s Hyderabad store will have a range of 7,500 items to sell. Out of these, around 1,000 items will be sold at a price less than Rs. 200. The company plans to open 25 such stores across the country by 2025.

IKEA’s restaurant will serve “Biryani” for Rs. 99 per plate.

The company expects a whopping annual footfall of 6 million customers. The company has invested around Rs. 1 billion in its first venture in India.

IKEA plans to open other stores as well, including a store in Mumbai that is expected to be opened in 2019. It will also have stores in Chennai, Ahmedabad, Pune, Surat, Bengaluru and Delhi.

The company will currently employ around 900 employees for its Hyderabad store. It aims to provide employment to 15,000 people by 2025.


Nokia 8.1’s extensive leak confirms it’s the X7 global version

This is a big one. An unexpected leak just confirmed what we’ve suspected all along – the upcoming Nokia 8.1 powered by the Snapdragon 710 chipset is indeed the codenamed Phoenix smartphone we’ve been hearing about.

Nokia 8.1 front and back Nokia 8.1 front and back
Nokia 8.1 front and back

It’s all in the leaked press materials explicitly saying “Phoenix” more than one time and at first glance, the hardware is identical to the Chinese Nokia X7. The leak comes just in time to clear the confusion before the December 5 event in Dubai. We can now say with almost complete certainty that the Nokia 8.1 would be one of the three phones introduced there.


Romania has the money but not enough workers for its construction projects – Bloomberg

romania_has_the_money_but_not_enough_workers_for_its_construction_projects_bloomberg_70709.jpg Image Source: Business-Review.eu.

According to a Bloomberg analysis, Romania is now one of the hottest building markets in Europe as it has the money for its construction projects but not enough people to complete them due to labor shortage. In northern Bucharest, a crew led by Vasile Kocori scrambles to lash hundreds of steel reinforcement bars for the next section of yet another high rise that will grace the skyline of Bucharest. They work at Skanska Property Romania’s EUR 37 million Equilibrium project comprising two 11-story office towers.

According to the author, one of Kocori’s main challenges was to find the workers who could actually do it in the first place. Kocori ended up culling the most skilled from other projects and then directing the less experienced ones to other building sites across the Romanian capital. “Half the guys I have can do the job, while the other half need more training,” Kocori explains.

Another major project is located in mid-town Bucharest, where Israeli group Hagag Development Europe is transforming a former oil company headquarters into a modern seven-floor office building with an EUR 8 million rehabilitation – with 35 workers onsite.

Project manager Mr Alexandru Draghici said that the crew, all Romanians, may change as a decline in skill levels is exacerbated by an unwillingness to do “dirty and unappealing” labor. He said that “There still are enough workers, but I don’t know for how much longer. Construction is getting bigger and bigger and the workers are going away from the country.”


PepsiCo Continues Health Kick, Reveals First Startups For Its Accelerator Program

PepsiCo picked health-and-wellness-focused brands for its first U.S. Nutrition Greenhouse.Credit: PepsiCo

PepsiCo announced last week that it will acquire U.K.-based snack maker Pipers Crisps, the latest in a series of acquisitions that are a key part of the company’s growth strategy. The brand makes familiar crisps, but its newest products, Pipers Crispeas, are high-protein, high-fiber, pea-based snacks that play in the better-for-you space.

It’s a space where PepsiCo is becoming increasingly at home.

The company that used to be known for its sugary sodas and salty snacks is rapidly growing its investment in plant-based products and other food and beverage brands that are focused on health, wellness and sustainability.

Last month, PepsiCo acquired Health Warrior, a maker of plant-based protein bars, powders and other snacks, for an undisclosed amount. Earlier this year, the company paid $3.2 billion for carbonated beverage machine maker SodaStream, betting that demand for unsweetened bubbly water drinks would continue to climb.

“We continue to position ourselves at the forefront of changing consumer preferences and trends,” PepsiCo North America CEO Al Carey said when the company announced its acquisition of Health Warrior.

The most recent acquisitions in the healthy snacking and better-for-you beverage arena have been established brands with significant sales and distribution. But PepsiCo’s also looking ahead with its Nutrition Greenhouse project.


On Monday, the company released the list of the first 10 startups for the first round of the program in the U.S.

The companies receive $20,000 from PepsiCo at the start of the program, along with mentorship and support to help them achieve specific, growth-oriented goals. At the end of six months, the company that has come the furthest will receive an additional $100,000.

PepsiCo is looking to ventures that resonate with changing consumer tastes, said Daniel Grubbs, managing director of PepsiCo Ventures Group and project lead for the Nutrition Greenhouse program.

“The Greenhouse companies are a reflection of where the consumer is,” he said.

Mentorship and advice will come from executives in PepsiCo’s established brands including Quaker Oats, Naked Juice and KeVita, a kombucha brand it acquired two years ago.

The roster of 10 companies selected for the Nutrition Greenhouse includes Remedy Organics, a plant-based functional beverage maker that began with a food-as-medicine strategy, said Cindy Kasindorf, who founded the brand with her husband, serial entrepreneur Henry Kasindorf.

Remedy Organics’ beverages are made with superfoods and fresh ingredients like hemp seeds, turmeric and spirulina, which are listed on the front of the clear bottles.

Cindy, a nutritional health counselor, dreamed up the idea for the company after she introduced her clients to plant-based beverages and other natural remedies and saw that they were helping, she said.

The venture began in her home kitchen, where she made enough to sell at the local bagel shop. Her story and her passion sold the products, she said, and today the drinks are sold at more than 1,000 stores in the New York metro area including Wegmans, Whole Foods Market and Shop Rite.

The husband-and-wife team sought expert advice from the beginning and the Nutrition Greenhouse will allow them to do that on a larger scale as they expand nationally and develop new product lines.

“We’re using this a vessel for our mission to bring better food to the world through mainstream channels,” Cindy said.

Rule Breaker Snacks, another Greenhouse company, has already overcome some significant hurdles to growth, starting with its name.

Nancy Kalish started the venture to devise healthier versions of the treats that daily tempted her sweet tooth. Kalish named the startup Pure Genius and started promoting her chickpea-based brownies and other baked goods at trade shows, only to find out the name she hoped to trademark was already taken.

Kalish cried a tear or two, then came up with Rule Breaker.

“It hit me that we really are rule breakers, we’re disrupting the snack industry,” she said.

A tougher challenge cropped up when the brand tried to expand into more retail outlets. It already had a distribution deal with Whole Foods Market, which had helped the brand get set up to deliver the product to the store frozen, where it was defrosted with a shelf life of three weeks. Other retailers needed the product to stay fresh for much longer, so it was back to the drawing board, this time with food scientists.

About a year ago, the team started from scratch and reformulated the recipes to create a product that’s shelf-stable for a year, she said.

“I honestly think that opened the door to a lot of bigger retailers who didn’t want to touch us with a 10-foot pole before,” she said. “Without that I don’t think I would have been in a position to apply for the Nutrition Greenhouse.”

Now the products are in Wegmans and Kroger stores and available via Amazon, and Rule Breakers faces new challenges.

“Now big retailers do want us and we need some help with that,” she said.

Her team is dedicated and working seven days a week, she said, but it’s a small group and there’s no time left for big-picture planning and strategizing for not only keeping up with existing demand but also driving growth. That’s where PepsiCo’s program comes in.

“I want to learn about e-commerce and customer acquisition and scaling up so that we don’t overextend ourselves,” she said.

Kalish met with her mentor for the first time last week and, in addition to the welcome advice on offer, she enjoyed her first chance in years to take a break from putting out fires and just talk about her business and feel nurtured by someone who was there to listen and help.

Plant-based seafood company Sophie’s Kitchen began with a passion for solving the global problem of overfishing and the looming challenge of feeding the more than 9 billion people expected to inhabit the planet by 2050, said founder Eugene Wang.

“A lot of the Asian countries consume a lot of seafood and I think I’m possible the best ambassador to help the world correct the problem [of overfishing,]” he said.

Wang’s family has been making vegetarian food for half a century, often using the Asian root vegetable called konjac that’s the base of the shrimp, crab and other vegan seafood dishes sold under the Sophie’s Kitchen brand.

“Demand for anything plant-based, especially seafood, is growing around the world,” he said.

Now that the eight-year-old company’s products are in grocery stores around the country, Wang has a new goal he hopes to get help with during the PepsiCo program – foodservice.

“Shrimp alone is an over $1 billion market in U.S. foodservice, not to mention the global market, so a lot of foodservice operators are talking to us,” he said.

The group of applicants for the Greenhouse was bigger and more diverse than PepsiCo expected and the 10 selected reflect that, Grubbs said.

“The common thread among the companies is that they’re all really passionate and focused in terms of their personal missions, they’re clean ingredients focused and putting new spins on the category,” he said.


Denmark’s coolest design brand opens its first U.S. store

Soon it will be easier to make your home look irresistibly Scandinavian. Hay—the Danish manufacturer of modern furniture, punchy housewares, and vibrant textiles from a roster of contemporary design’s most exciting practitioners—opens its first retail store in the United States in Portland, Oregon, November 15. Its second will debut in Costa Mesa, California, later in the month, and four more brick-and-mortar locations in the United States are planned for 2019. Plus, an e-commerce site launched early November, so fans of the brands are now only a few clicks away from shopping their favorites. Hay is laying the groundwork to become the next hit international design brand in America.

Rolf and Mette Hay founded their design brand in 2003.
Courtesy Hay

Hay was founded in 2002 by Mette and Rolf Hay, a married couple, and businessman Troels Holch Povlsen. The brand sought to introduce attainable and stylish products for midrange shoppers to the design market. Think playful cat-shaped sponges ($5); prismatic organizational trays (starting at $20 each); Memphis-y coffee pots ($95); plush towels (from $20); and gilded coffee tables ($695).

“It’s not about turning a toothbrush into an art object to display in your living room,” Mette Hay told the Wall Street Journal in 2016 about the brand’s sensibility, “but about making quiet, ordinary moments a bit nicer—that’s the backbone of what we do.”

Hay’s first collection debuted in 2003 with 13 products. Today, after making a number of partnerships that have sustained steady growth, the company’s total equity is valued at around $200 million, based on Herman Miller’s recent purchase of a third of Hay’s equity for $66 million (Hay declined to comment on its total valuation); it has 38 stores in Europe, Asia, and North America (including the forthcoming Portland store); and collaborates with a who’s-who list of designers including Nathalie Du Pasquier, Inga Sempe, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, and Pierre Charpin, among others. Instead of going the typical startup route—launching a brand, quickly taking on investors, and eventually scaling too fast—the company has adopted a watch-and-wait approach.

The brand’s product range includes furniture, like the Revolver stool, and accessories, like the tea towel, vase, and water bottle on the counter.
Courtesy Hay

Rather than create its own digital e-commerce infrastructure, it sold a 33 percent stake to Herman Miller (which owns Design Within Reach) to take advantage of its established retail and distribution infrastructure. Instead of spending millions on marketing campaigns to get customers in a new market to know its brand, Hay partnered with MoMA Store, one of the most respected and prolific design retailers in the world. And instead of trying to reinvent mass manufacturing completely on its own, Hay collaborated with Ikea on a collection, augmenting its own expertise with the Swedish retailer’s cost-saving manufacturing techniques.

Rolf and Mette Hay oversee the brand’s creative direction and the two worked in the furniture industry prior to founding Hay. The brand’s products don’t follow a formula, but they do share similar traits, namely striking silhouettes, like the Dapper lounge chair by Doshi Levien, and vivid colors, like the Glass jug by Jochen Holtz and tea towels by Scholten & Baijings. They’re essentially ultra-Instagrammable modern pieces an increasingly design-aware culture will gobble up.

Because of this assortment, price, and strong design sense, the brand believes it will take off in the United States. “We think our designs will resonate with America’s diverse and discerning consumer base,” Rolf Hay tells Curbed. “A younger American design buff with limited budget may not be looking to outfit their entire space, but perhaps they are looking to purchase one or two items at a time that are durable, functional and made to last.”

Emmanuel Plat, MoMA Store’s director of merchandising, agrees. He believes Hay’s uniqueness in the market—there are few midlevel brands with a strong point of view—will lead to success stateside.

The brand is known for its creative partnerships. For the Hay Kitchen line, it worked with chef Frederik Bille Brahe on a series of dinnerware, tableware, and accessories.
Courtesy Hay

“You have the usual suspects [in the design market]—Vitra, Herman Miller, Knoll, Cassina—but Hay fits a different niche,” Plat says. “While Hay shares the same aesthetics and same designers, its pricing is competitive compared to these brands. It’s definitely going to play favorably and will be well received.”

Three years ago, Hay introduced itself to the U.S. market with a pop-up shop in MoMA Store’s Soho location. (Smaller, local boutiques may have stocked a product or two of Hay’s here and there prior.) The Hay Mini Market was supposed to be a three-month installation, but customers kept flooding the store and MoMA Store kept extending the partnership, which continues today. The shop began selling smaller items from the brand’s repertoire—think pens, notebooks, cups, decor items, pillows, and linens—and over the years increased its inventory to include lighting and furniture, meanwhile testing the shopping habits and desires of American consumers.

Plat points out that Hay doesn’t follow the typical pattern for retail collections. In his experience, about 20 percent of products from a brand usually account for 80 percent of sales. For Hay, all product categories sell strongly, though it’s usually small items that move the quickest. Pens and trays are among the most popular. This fall MoMA Store put Hay’s water bottles, designed by George Sowden, on its catalog cover, which has a circulation of about 1 million, and those have been selling well, too.

The Sowden water bottle became one of Hay’s bestsellers at the MoMA Design Store.
Courtesy Hay

“When you visit the Hay Mini Market, it’s hard not to leave with something,” Plat says.

Now, it seems, Hay has cemented enough of a following in the United States to stand on its own.

With its retail strategy, Hay is following a similar trajectory to Muji. The Japanese retailer of design-minded furniture, housewares, clothing, and more also began as a MoMA Store pop-up before mounting its expansion in the United States. While the two brands reflect different aesthetic philosophies—Muji is timeless Japanese minimalism, Hay has a more fashion-forward approach—and have different price points—Hay is a bit more expensive—they both speak to audiences that care about design.

While Muji has been able to succeed in the United States, that’s not guaranteed for Hay. Promising midrange home-design brands have faced challenges in a market saturated by Ikea, CB2, and West Elm. However, Hay is does have a few factors working in its favor.

Hay’s competitive edge is stylish, vibrant, and modern products at prices more accessible than its peers.
Courtesy Hay

One is Herman Miller’s 33 percent stake in Hay, worth about $66 million, citing the brand’s appeal to a “younger more aspirational demographic,” more affordable price point than its current offerings, and strong design sensibilities. Meanwhile, consumers’ desire for highly Instagrammable products and spaces align with Hay’s eye-grabbing offerings and its retail design strategy. Hay House, its flagship store in Copenhagen, is the anti-showroom experience: products are arranged in photogenic vignettes that make you feel like you’re walking into the home you wish you had.

Each of Hay’s stores is different, but expect a similar experience in the 3,400-square-foot Portland location, which is in the Pearl District adjacent to Design Within Reach. The open-plan store will sell furniture, textiles, kitchenware, tabletop accessories, and more and will be divided into areas dedicated to each room in the home, including the kitchen, living room, dining area, and office, to create a “seamless shopping experience,” in the words of Rolf Hay.

While Portland seems like an unlikely city for a major design launch, Rolf points out that it shares a lot of similarities with Hay’s home base.

“There’s an appreciation for heritage, craftsmanship, and collaboration in Portland that we identify with,” he tells Curbed. “Portland’s inclement climate is also similar to Copenhagen’s, and because of this, we understand there’s a greater emphasis on making one’s home feel warm and inviting. … Ultimately, we hope our visitors take home a piece of Hay and make it their own.”

Hay’s retail store opens November 15 at 825 NW 13th Avenue, Portland, Oregon