STORY LINES: Every picture tells a story, and at Marimekko, the same is true of every product and print. In fact, the Finnish design house has a traveling storyteller who coaches the brand’s retail sales staff on company lore. Such as why the cows on Miina Akkijyrkkä’s Itlavilli print look so happy.

“In Finland, cows spend the long winter in barns and when they’re finally allowed out in May, there are also calves who’ve never yet experienced being in nature. And the designer, who raises cows in Helsinki, wanted to express that joy,” said Marimekko chief executive officer Mika Ihamuotila, who was in Berlin to celebrate the opening of the latest Marimekko store on Mitte’s trendy Alte Schönauser Strasse.

Marimekko, which operates about 85 stores, has been on an international retail rollout. The 1,300-square-foot store follows new doors in Seoul, a 1,775-square-foot shop-in-shop at Crate & Barrel in Soho, with Malmo, Sweden, due to open soon. An online store will probably bow in late 2011, but the strategy is to strengthen Marimekko’s physical presence before going virtual, Ihamuotila said, with new venues now being scouted in central Europe, New York, San Francisco and the major Asian cities.

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