“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.
The 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.