Muji – Design Fuels Private Brand Growth

Muji 1Pioneering Japanese retailer Muji – is one part Ikea, one part Apple and 100% private brand. This article from takes a look at the retailer and the influence of design on the cult brand.

“Muji Is Not A Trend”: How Design Fuels Muji’s Growth

With around 400 stores in Japan alone, and another 300 operating internationally, housewares brand Muji shows no signs of slowing its rapid clip of expansion. For the past 35 years, the company has unwaveringly remained faithful to its philosophy of functional, quality design offered at a reasonable price and plans to stay the course for the next 35 years. But in a climate that constantly celebrates novelty, how can Muji continue to thrive?

Since hitting a rocky patch in 2001, Muji has bounced back to become bigger than ever with a design-first approach that proves good products equal good business.

muji2The Philosophical Compass
Muji’s full name—Mujirushi Ryōhin—translates to “no brand, good quality.” When the company launched in 1980, Japan was very brand conscious. Muji’s generic, anonymous products were a statement against the excessive labeling and high price tags accompanying luxury goods. While it was popular at the time to buy a name-brand product regardless of how well it worked, Muji smartly recognized that a growing segment of the population placed a premium on functionality, affordability, and quality over marketing hype, inflated price tags, and status symbols.

Read the entire story.

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.