Muji is a Japanese retail company that mainly focuses on minimalistic designs; the brand started off selling household products and food items in 1980s. Over the years, they have gradually expanded their product lines, now selling stationery, apparel, cosmetics, and even furniture. The brand’s full name literally translates into no brand high quality goods, which I think precisely describes their products and their stores.
I think I’m been a Muji fan for as long as I could remember. It all started with their gel pens that I got for grade school, and I quickly got hooked and started buying their other stationery, organization products, and even clothing items. Their designs are exactly as advertised—brand-less. Peel off the sole label on their products and you’re left with pristine products with no markings whatsoever. Even their stores are design to be minimalistic and calming; you may have wandered into one of their retail stores—perhaps in Japan or even in New York City—and felt that you’ve walked into a haven of tranquility in the midst of a bustling city with slow music and diffusers pumping out soothing scents. (…is that too much?)
Anyway, Muji started in Japan, but has expanded worldwide in the past few decades, and now operates over 400 stores around the globe. Interestingly, almost half of these stores are located in Greater China, and it looks like Muji is ready to enter a new business sector in China. Next week, the first Muji Hotel will officially open in Shenzhen, China on January 18, 2018.
The Shenzhen location just started taking reservations yesterday, so if you have an upcoming trip, you can definitely check them out. Muji Hotel Shenzhen will feature just 79 rooms, with a book store (library), a diner, a gym, meeting rooms on site. Of course, there will also be a Muji store for Muji fans (new or old) to shop their heart out. Looking at the pictures, the design is very much in line with their brand image: minimalistic yet cozy.
Of course, Muji isn’t the first traditionally retail-centric brand to enter the hospitality market. Here in the US, West Elm is opening their own hotels soon, with rooms decked out with furniture that the company sells. Of course, Muji’s strategy is slightly different, focusing heavier on the lifestyle of the brand than the products themselves.
Muji has a few more locations planned, with another Muji Hotel opening in Beijing in March 2018, and a third one opening in Ginza, Tokyo in 2019.
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