By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
Move over Miniso and Mumuso.
There’s a new kid on the low-cost variety and retail chain store block, and unlike some Asian brands that try to disguise their Chinese origins by having all their staff greet customers with a Nipponese “aregato,” this company is proud of its roots.
The new Ideën Stores brand is a 100 percent Mexican-owned chain, and while its name (which means “idea” in Dutch) may have been inspired by some of the owners’ affiliation with the Netherlands, at least 30 percent of the products it sells are “Hecho en México.”
Moreover, although the product lines for Ideën are similar to those of the Asian chains in terms of variety and prices, the Ideën Stores goods stand alone for being eco-friendly, with biodegradable materials and sustainable sourcing.
“We wanted to follow the Scandinavian example of clean design and responsible environmental stewardship, while still maintaining our Mexican identity,” explained the brand’s founder, Antonio Velazco, during a virtual press conference on Wednesday, Sept. 8, to formally introduce the chain.
“This eco-friendly commitment is one of our core values.”
And while Velazco stated that ultimately the company hopes to produce at least half of its products in Mexico, for now he said Ideën is importing the lion’s share of its goods from Asia because Mexico is still lagging behind in clean manufacturing.
Like its Asia counterparts, the Ideën chain offers a variety of goods for babies, bath, kitchen, sports, beauty, fashion, technology, office, school, parties, decoration and pets, at very competitive prices, and the product line is constantly expanding.
Some of Ideën’s more than 5,000 products are even tailored to Mexican consumers, such as its beauty line, developed especially for Latino skin.
The first Ideën store opened in the State of Mexico (Edoméx) in late 2019 and, with a hefty 150 million-peso investment, the company had planned to have at least 50 stores nationwide by the end of 2020.
But with the uncertainty of the covid-19 pandemic, the Ideën Stores expansion plan was put on hold.
Still, the company did manage to open a total of eight stores and is now hoping to fulfill its 50-store goal by the end of next year.
It is also eying the lucrative e-commerce market in the United States, and already is ringing up sales of about 50,000 pesos a day between it brick-and-mortar and Mexican online sales points.
Since most Ideën Stores are located inside shopping malls, they are open during peak mall hours, that is Monday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.