October 1, 2014 | Alex
There's a new player in affordable and accessible design. Hem, founded by the folks behind online retailer Fab and Finnish design company One Nordic, aims to bring high-end scandinavian design to the world. Quickly and with ease.
The online shop will feature original designs, offer customization options and ship directly from the factory to the consumer. With offices in Berlin, Helsinki, New York, Pune, Stockholm and Warsaw, it's truly a global enterprise. The approach to color palette and materials, though, is fundamentally nordic. The lines are simple and clean. The materials do the talking. And the name, you might have surmised, means home in Swedish.
Hem's affordability strategy is keep costs low through efficient design and factory-direct shipping. Yet keep value high by using quality materials and collaborating with an all-star roster of talented young designers.
The accessibility strategy is three-pronged: 1. Hem is online-only. More consumers are shopping for home products online— the convenience outweighing the risk of purchasing sight-unseen. 2. Taking a page out of IKEA's book, many of Hem's designs will require no tools for assembly, eliminating an intimidation factor that often accompanies online furniture orders. And, 3. Hem's user-friendly online customization tool lets consumers act as their own designers to find bespoke solutions without a bespoke price tag. Plus, a safety net! Hem's team of professional interior designers are on hand provide guidance. (Note: the customization tool isn't available to U.S. buyers yet, but Hem reports that it will be crossing the Atlantic shortly.)
Although the website launched yesterday to VIPs, Hem has been building anticipation for months through their instagram account. And industry insiders got a peek at their product line at Maison & Objet in Paris and London Design Week Industry Preview. A public website launch is scheduled for mid-October, but if you're itching for a particular piece, you can place pre-orders now. Here are a few pieces that have my attention: