As I’ve been upgrading the Emerson Street house, I’ve had the pleasure of working with IKEA. A lot to the point that I love IKEA. What started as a closet overhaul as turned into a new kitchen. But why did I choose IKEA? Why not another store?
IKEA is Simple
The IKEA vision is “to create a better everyday life for the many people. We make this possible by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home-furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.”
SIMPLE! IKEA was born in Almhult, Sweden in 1943 and today is Sweden’s largest export. Sweden rates high on the Happiness Index, as do neighbors Norway, Finland and Denmark. Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark and have highly rated education, healthcare and economic systems. How does IKEA fit?
IKEA’s DIY approach teaches resiliency from a very young age. Children all over the world grow up knowing how to assemble IKEA furniture AND, in the process, learn basic math and measuring skills, organizational skills, homemaking, cooking, and gardening skills. IKEA Family, a free membership plan, offers discounted merchandise for the while family.
Portland IKEA is packed every weekend and on school breaks. Child care is provided in Småland, a supervised children’s play area just inside the front door. IKEA Family members get an extra 30 minutes free. IKEA date night – Moms and Dads drop off the children in Småland and have dinner at the IKEA Restaurant – an easy, low cost respite for busy, cash strapped parents. Coffee and tea is always free for IKEA Family members.
IKEA Restaurant always has a $2.00 breakfast, a $3.00 lunch, a $4.00 dinner and children’s portions for $1.49 each. Each month IKEA Restaurant offers discounts to IKEA family members on selected dishes. All food served in IKEA Restaurant can be purchased in the Swedish Food Shop, located between the main entrance and the checkout area. All IKEA food uses natural ingredients, flash frozen for freshness. IKEA’s web site includes IKEA Restaurant recipes, portion controlled for families. Traditional Swedish meatballs are 84% meat (pork and beef). IKEA has vegetable and chicken meatballs, as customers have told IKEA they vegetarians dishes because they come with a lower carbon footprint.
Why Should Other Shop at Ikea?
IKEA listens to its customers. IKEA Portland employees are our neighbors; local folks like you. Local IKEA stores are empowered to make local decisions. For example, IKEA Portland has several specials in honor of their 10th anniversary in Portland. I wanted new kitchen appliances and countertops in The Emerson Street House and decided to try IKEA kitchens. In January, I made an apportionment with the IKEA kitchen to design and purchase a new kitchen for my home, the ADU at the Emerson Street House.
In February, IKEA Portland announced a kitchen sale – 10% off on kitchen, 20% off if the order included an appliance. IKEA Family Membership, which IKEA’s kitchen designer signed me up for, includes 90 days’ price protection. I took my receipts back to IKEA and received a gift card for $506.00 on the already installed kitchen, which I put towards a new kitchen in the MAIN space of the Emerson Street House. The two new kitchens cost approximately 15% of the original kitchens, have 3 times the kitchen storage space and a laundry area.
IKEA is bringing down the cost of affordable housing while improving quality. IKEA kitchens have a 25 year warranty and IKEA appliances have a 5 year warranty. These warranties, which are new at IKEA, come at a time when other appliance makers are making customer’s responsible for quality control and building planned obsolesce into their products.
IKEA respects and listens to its customers. Other manufacturers, retailers, etc. may pay lip service, but, in the end, they only care about their shareholders.
How Does IKEA Help Low Income Residents?
IKEA actively seeks to meet the needs of low-income folks by designing, manufacturing and selling the best value products available. IKEA’s sustainability report says that IKEA intends to reduce every day prices on IKEA products.
My new sofa from IKEA where the “everyday price” was just reduced from $599 to $499. IKEA has how to produce the sofa less expensively and is passing the savings onto the customer.
Other manufacturers, retailers, etc. often use a “sale” to unload excess inventory and products with reliability problems.
Room for Improvement
Of course IKEA isn’t perfect. Some of their products are made to look beautiful, but lack in quality. From my experience, the kitchens are far superior to their other products and I can highly recommend them. They aren’t cheap and require considerable design and engineering.
If you’re tired of fancy new gadgets that are overly technical and are planned obsolescence, then I recommend giving IKEA a look. You may just fall in love with them too.