Retail “marriages” and shape of things to come
IKEA and H&M, two of the world’s most popular retail brands are teaming up to create an “ideas factory” on the high street that aims to seek out, mentor and promote designers and small-scale manufacturers. It will launch in London in May and later roll out to other countries
The program, called Atelier 100, is the first joint retail venture between the world’s largest furniture retailer and one of the largest global fashion chains.
The store is intended to be a meeting place and workplace for designers and makers, helping to foster new alliances and ideas, and be an outlet for selling their creations.
Successful applicants will receive a special business grant to help scale up their ideas into commercially viable products, and training and mentoring from Ikea and H&M insiders as well as other experts.
All kinds of projects will be considered, from beauty and fashion to jewellery, art and even music. The only limitation is that any end product must be small enough for shoppers to carry away from the Hammersmith store.
The look and feel of the store is also likely to change to reflect the interests and ideas developed by those involved.
“We want to be open to ideas,” said Camilla Henriksson, the global brand innovation manager for H&M. She said the two retailers wanted to “come closer to the customers” and to local people with ideas to ensure they continued to provide what people want.
IKEA, H&M and immigrants in Canada
IKEA is one of the retail choices for immigrants seeking a foot in the employment door in Canada. Last year rolled out a program aimed to hire 150 refugees within a three-year span and is part of a broader commitment from IKEA globally to reach 2,500 refugees.
H&M is also home to immigrant employees, but it usually requires a level of retail experience for most entry- level positions.
The new Atelier 100 program by IKEA and H&M will be welcome news for immigrants, when it is eventually launched in Canada.