Danish design brand Georg Jensen has been available in the United States for nearly 100 years, but until recently most American consumers have probably never heard of it.
“We never fulfilled our potential here,” said Managing Director Thomas Miang-Perez. Its New York City store on Madison Avenue, which it opened in 1924, served as a flagship (it closed at the end of 2020), but its limited distribution meant very few people outside the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut were familiar with the brand, Miang-Perez said. In an effort to grow, it began to seek out retailers with a broad reach.
It curated its assortment, tailoring it for individual retailers and their younger consumers. In home, it focused on items for entertaining, such as bowls and barware. It also has created more functional items for the kitchen, with more colors and more affordable price points.
“That has been contributing to the growth and success we’ve had,” Miang-Perez told HFN.
It recently launched a collection of glassware, dinnerware and tabletop pieces called Bernadotte, and another tabletop collection called Cobra, which debuted in 2017, and the gift and tabletop collection Sky, which debuted in May, that is available at Williams Sonoma, Macy’s and Nordstrom. Dinnerware and glassware are new categories for the metalsmith. The porcelain dinnerware —sold as a three-piece place setting consisting of two plates and a bowl—is made in Thailand and the glassware is sourced in Europe.
”Our Scandinavian heritage is the perfect complement for the home chef that appreciates quality and timeless designs,” Miang-Perez said in a release about the Bernadotte collection at Williams-Sonoma. “As we expand our collection into functional kitchen tools and barware, we are excited to partner with such a powerhouse kitchen retailer for this category in the North American market.”
The aforementioned retailers also carry several other George Jensen collections or items, including bar tools and game-related items, such as a deck of cards in a stainless-steel carrying case; as well as lighting pieces and other home décor.
Bergdorf Goodman, meanwhile, is offering Georg Jensen’s classic sterling hollowware and a new Caviar Bowl 1507 and several items from the 2021 Masterpiece Collection. They are all exclusive to Bergdorf’s and will be available through the holiday season. Pottery Barn Kids sells the company’s iconic Moneyphant, a money bank introduced 10 years ago that features two small oak elephants that nest in the larger mirror-polished stainless -steel elephant. There are also frames and a small assortment of curated giftware SKUs. Saks, meanwhile, carries some of the company’s jewelry line.
Jewelry accounts for about 30% of its sales in the U.S.; home accounts for the bulk of its business.
For next year, Georg Jensen is exploring more functional SKUs such as hydration, food storage and cutting boards. And it recently came out with its first menorah. “It’s out in the market and it’s doing amazing,” Miang-Perez said.
It is also working on more games and accessories in the $50 to $100 range, “good gift price points,” Miang-Perez noted. Most new gift pieces from Georg Jensen, long affiliated with luxury shoppers, hit the $50 core price point and go up to about $200. “If you want to get that younger customer you need those lower price points,” Miang-Perez said.
The company is considering once again opening Georg Jensen stores in the U.S., and a possible return to the New York market, but for now is waiting to gauge New York real estate, which saw many retail stores close in the years before the pandemic and additional ones shutter during it.
For now, however, Miang-Perez is focused on building its relationships with its current retail partners. “They represent a good selection in the market,” he said.
“There’s still a lot of potential for us.”