Ekornes Inc. kicked off its 80th Anniversary celebration at Las Vegas Market
SOMERSET, NJ (January 28, 2014): Ekornes Inc., one of the world’s leading furniture manufacturers and creator of Stressless® seating, is celebrating 80 years of production and global success.
Since its inception, the Norwegian company has been known as an industry leader and inventor. The company’s innovative thought processes started in 1934 with the idea of incorporating springs in furniture cushions and mattresses. In the company’s early decades, it made progress in Europe through utilizing state-of-the-art machinery and proprietary materials. After seeing success abroad, Stressless® became available for North American markets in 1980.
“Once Ekornes began its first sales campaign in America, revenue from Stressless seating soared. It was truly remarkable,” said Peter Bjerregaard the North American president of Ekornes Inc. “Since then, the United States has been our largest export market.”
Alone, it is impressive that the Stressless® brand has grown in North America, but factor in the economic landscape, and its success is unprecedented in the industry. Even during the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, Ekornes Inc. saw increased sales and strong profits. In 2012, furniture sales in North America were 8.4 percent higher than in 2011 and the company is anticipating a record sales year in 2014.
“Very few luxury brands can say they’ve experienced growth in the past five years,” said Bjerregaard. “With a unique marketing concept, we’ve been able to succeed during difficult times. Our accomplishment throughout the recession is another reason to celebrate a milestone anniversary.”
The organization’s tremendous success is attributed, in large part, to the organization’s strong marketing model focused on distribution strategy, a global approach to new product development and high-quality dealer relationships. With a unique in-store studio concept, extensive training opportunities and co-op marketing, Ekornes Inc. truly values the success of its dealers.
“Our goal in North America is to grow the Stressless brand,” said Beverly Kastel, marketing manager. “In addition to local co-op advertising, we implement five retail promotions each year that are supported by national advertising. In 2014, our campaigns will include national television, consumer public relations, as well as a more robust digital advertising schedule and social media, to reach and engage our consumers and, in turn, drive them to our dealers.”
A differentiated product helps propel the marketing model to success. The brand boasts no direct competitors due to patents and ingenuity. Stressless® recliners are equipped with patented Glide® and Plus® systems and the chair is engineered to move with every adjustment of the body. Offered in two or three sizes for a perfect custom fit, each seat is hand crafted with the human body in mind, making it the ultimate chair for comfort and relaxation.
In an effort to reduce delivery times for sofas, Ekornes Inc. recently opened a manufacturing plant in Morganton, NC, serving as the company’s first production facility to open outside of Norway. The facility started with 11 employees, but aims to quickly grow to 60 employees.
“North Carolina was the perfect location due to its heritage of furniture production and knowledgeable employee base,” Bjerregaard said. “The dedicated staff has rich knowledge in furniture craftsmanship and a strong focus on ingenuity.”
To continue its tremendous success, Ekornes Inc. has big plans in store for its 80th year as a company including a switch to manufacturing completely halogen-free products and the launch of a new mid-century modern style grouping similar to the vintage Stressless® recliners seen in previous decades. The release of the Stressless® Metro and City mark the 80th Anniversary celebration in North America, which was kicked off yesterday at Las Vegas Market and there are plans to mark the milestone for the remainder of the year.
“We have many reasons to celebrate and we want to share the excitement with the world,” said Kastel. “We’re looking forward to 80 more years of prosperity.”