Business ideas for 2018: Lagom

Move over hygge! Lagom, the Swedish ethos of finding balance through moderation, is the latest Scandi buzzword to take the UK by storm

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Last year we explored the business opportunities presented by hygge – the Danish appreciation for cosiness and conviviality. This year, we bring you lagom: another Scandinavian concept which has caught the UK’s attention, appearing across mainstream publications, marketing campaigns, social media and more.

The Swedish philosophy of lagom means ‘not too much, not too little’ or ‘just right’, and is illustrated by the proverb “Lagom är bäst”; often translated as “enough is as good as a feast”.

A way of life in Sweden, lagom is about finding balance through moderation: partake in just enough of what you need in order to live well without behaving excessively – but don’t make unnecessary sacrifices either.

Far from just an endeavour in self-improvement, lagom is reflective of Nordic community values. If you limit yourself to just one burger at a barbecue, for instance, there’ll be plenty left for other guests.

Not to mention that it might help you save some cash (living lagom means not buying the same jumper in four slightly different colours), be kinder to the environment by using only necessary resources, and foster a healthier work-life balance.

In fact, the ethos of lagom can be applied to anything; from the way we work and socialise to our diets, fashion and homes – which makes for ample business opportunities for those looking to capitalise on the UK’s latest Scandinavian obsession…

Starting a lagom-associated business: Why it’s a good business idea

Envied for their serene approach to working and living, the Scandinavian countries have long been romanticised by the people of the UK – and the hygge phenomenon encouraged us to truly take Nordic ideals to heart.

Now, as we attempt to navigate an unpredictable period of political extremes, the appeal of a nicely balanced life can’t be understated.

But don’t just take our word for it. Major media outlets including Vogue, Elle UK, Huffington Post, the BBC, The Independent and the Daily Mail have all argued that lagom is set to trend across the UK. Moreover, Google has noted an uplift in interest in the word ‘lagom’, which clocked up more searches in 2017 than ever before.

Social media tells a similar tale: currently, over 50,000 (and growing) Instagram posts celebrating Sweden-inspired décor, moderate meals and more are tagged with #lagom.

Offline, a recent flurry of lagom-inspired self-help and guide books have been published – just as with hygge in 2016 – with the majority of titles released between August 2017 and January 2018. Not to mention the Bristol-based magazine, Lagom, which was founded in 2014.

Lagom has also appeared in the marketing rhetoric utilised by major brands – including furniture giant IKEA’s 2015 Live LAGOM campaign, which aims to help customers live sustainably and cost-effectively with a range of products and workshops – the latter of which were ongoing through 2017.

With so many signs indicating that lagom could be about to boom, here’s what you can do to get involved…

Lagom business opportunities

A philosophy intended to influence all aspects of life, lagom might inspire an array of business ideas across a variety of sectors.

Home décor in particular is forming strong ties with the concept, with designs that are practical and attractive, but not overly complex or colourful (clutter in particular goes against what lagom teaches). Scandinavian-style interior design – which follows similar principles – is already a solid decorating trend with proven popularity, so this could be a winning business idea if your start-up is able to compete in the market.

Creating a brand, shop or online store which retails lagom-inspired clothing, accessories or makeup might also mean success. The aptly-named London-based fashion label LAGOM, for instance, retails clothes which balance style and comfort.

Remember, lagom actively discourages ostentatiousness – so clothing, jewellery, accessories or makeup must be attractive but understated. In other words, veto the fluorescent colours and wacky prints for simple designs and softer shades.

In a separate vein, food entrepreneurs and restaurateurs might succeed with a lagom-inspired offering. London pop-up restaurant Lagom, for example, draws from British and Scandinavian cuisine and serves dishes which it says strike the perfect balance between cleverness and simplicity.

Offering a moderate selection of uncomplicated but tasty Scandi-style food would certainly be in-keeping with the trend – especially if your products are healthy, natural and organic. With ever more health-conscious consumers and the organic food market topping $2bn in 2017 (according to the 2017 Organic Market Report), it’s worth looking into joining this growing sector.

One sector which hasn’t been thoroughly explored by lagom-inspired entrepreneurs is tech, and there’s plenty of scope for unique ideas here. Tech entrepreneurs could look to develop apps or services which help users achieve balance and moderation, perhaps through tracking spending, diet, daily activities, work-life balance and more.

Subscription box services – a growing market among convenience-loving modern consumers – could too be a lucrative opportunity to cater to lagom devotees. Boxes could include relevant books, natural skincare products, minimalist home decorations, healthy snacks and more – the possibilities are truly endless.

If none of these ideas spark your interest, think of a product or service you’d love to provide and try to put a lagom spin on it. Korean skincare company Peach and Lily, for example, has launched a lagom-inspired range with simple branding which focuses on hydrating the skin for a healthy natural look, while UK-based Lagom Design retails Nordic-inspired greeting cards and stationary.

Remember, living sustainably without over-use of the earth’s resources is a key tenet of the philosophy. To make your business extra lagom, employ strategies and guidelines which ensure your materials are sustainably-sourced and your products ethically-made, and your business is run in an eco-friendly manner.

Insider opinion

Sam Manaberi, CEO and founder of TRINE, says:

“As a Swede myself, it’s fascinating to see how the concept of lagom has taken off in the UK, particularly over the past year. One theory I have for its popularity boom is an increased desire for balance and stability, as a result of a pretty unstable 18 months or so, economically and politically-speaking.

“Lagom is an integral part of Swedish office culture, and now that UK workplaces are beginning to adopt the concept, and are already seeing the positive effects, I believe that lagom is here to stay.”

David Brudö, CEO and co-founder of Remente, adds: “There are endless opportunities for anyone looking to set up a start-up based on the idea of lagom.

“Lagom can be applied to so many aspects of life, and as such, it can be converted into just as many useful products and services. Our app, Remente, for example, helps individuals and businesses find balance through personal development and mental wellbeing, but there is plenty of room for more development within this space, particularly when it comes to health and wellbeing.

“The current demand for support in our search for a better-balanced life is huge, and will likely just continue to grow. Anyone who has ideas for a business that could service this demand has great potential to do well.”

Published Jan 2018

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