I’m in the Boston Globe!

I’m featured in The Boston Globe (registration required) in an article about the cultural impact of IKEA.

Its prices are just one way IKEA is altering how America decorates
By Linda Matchan, Globe Staff | November 3, 2005

STOUGHTON — When the Swedish home furnishings giant IKEA opened its first US store 20 years ago, the country wasn’t quite sure what to make of it.

”An anomaly to furniture retailing,” concluded HFD, a furniture trade publication, in an article called ”The IKEA impact.”

”IKEA’s main strength is that it is selling hype,” one furniture manufacturer commented suspiciously.

Fast forward two decades, and it’s hard to imagine a home furnishings company that’s had more impact on design and home furnishings retailing than the anomaly called IKEA, which, as it turns out, has sold a whole lot more than just hype. Last year, IKEA’s cash registers rang up more than$2 billion worth of products, among them such signature IKEA items as an $80 Po?ng armchair; a $40 Billy bookcase; a $200 Klippan sofa; and the all-time IKEA bestseller, Glimma tea lights, $3 for a bag of 100. (Not to mention 371,041,280 Swedish meatballs, according to an IKEA bulletin dispatched Oct. 26.)

”To me it’s an amazing emotional experience when I walk through IKEA and see how much stuff I can get for under $10 — and these are all things I already own,” says Steve Portigal, founder of Portigal Consulting, a California firm specializing in research, design, and business strategy.

”And yet I find myself thinking, ‘This is a cool watering can,’ and then fighting the urge to buy seconds and thirds. The low barrier to purchasing things, and the ease with which you can buy more of something you already have, doesn’t make me feel very good,” he says.


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