Thursday, 29 October 2009

The good things in life still exist

One welcome sound at this time of year is the thud of a good old-fashioned catalogue in the post box. It all starts with IKEA, of course, while the leaves are still green if a little dusty.

Another retailer who operates via the catalogue as main purchase channel and who, like IKEA, have a well-defined brand and philosophy is Manufactum. This retail brand has been going for 21 years now in Germany and was originally started by a politician from the Green Party.

The Manufactum catalogue is a 400 page delightful traditional emporium. The company seeks out products that are made to high quality standards, with excellent design and usually made from classic materials. These are objects built to last. There is everything you could want from bakelite phones, to Swiss Army blankets to copper saucepans to Florentine paper to deer-leather jackets to wild boar pate. In addition, there are charming traditional toys such as the "bulldog" tractor above.

Manufactum is now owned by the Otto/Heine group but the retailer's brand voice and philosophy remains firmly intact. There are stores, too - seven so far and a new one opening here in Frankfurt on 19th November.

For my UK friends, I was also interested to see that Manufactum is now operating in the UK, out of Bedford. As they say in the english translation of their slogan, "The good things in life still exist". And that's a Good Thing.

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