Store of the Month May 2022: Häggstöms Modehus
Häggströms Modehus (Häggström’s Fashion House in english) is a store of 2300 square meters in Lögdeå, an area with about 350 inhabitants, which this year celebrates a full 100 years. In connection with us naming the store the Store of the Month, we had a chat with David Häggström, who runs the store together with his wife Astrid. We took the opportunity to ask David what he thinks is the recipe for success in running such a large store, in a small community and for such a long time. Amongst other things, we also talked about their biggest assets and challenges, what he thinks is the best thing about running a store and how they work to inspire the customer.
Tell us about Häggströms Modehus, how did it all start?
The year was 1922 when my grandfather Gottfrid and grandmother Hilda started Häggströms Skrädderi och Manufaktur (Häggström’s Tailoring and Manufacturing in english) started in the small village of Lögdeå in Västerbotten. At that time, customers came by horse and cart to have their garments sewn up, we then also sold some pre-sewn garments in a small scale. Even then, we started working with Tiger of Sweden who delivered fabrics to us and we are thus their oldest customer, who still shop after 100 years. My parents Rune and Ingrid Häggström took over, sold out the fabric stocks, and started selling ready-made garments. In 1972, two years before I started working, they made their first expansion of the store. Since me and my wife Astrid took over, we have expanded the business several times. Our Fashion House, 60 km from Umeå and 60 km from Örnsköldsvik, in Lögdeå with 350 inhabitants is now the largest store north of Stockholm with its 2300 square meters.
You are celebrating a full 100 years this year, what do you think has been the key to your existence for so long?
That we have been able to stay that long is really because we love change. We have changed our business and adopted new things and ideas while maintaining our core business, ie our level of service and our assortment.
What type of products do you sell?
We have a large selection of brands because we are a large excursion destination in the small village. We have over a hundred brands with everything from Polo Ralph Lauren, Tiger of Sweden, Stenströms, Peak, J Lindeberg, Sailracing, Bitte Kai Rand to cheaper price ranges such as Bestseller, B-young m.m. We also have, among other things, Lexington’s towels and some interior. The strategy is that we should be able to help all customers who have traveled as far as 60 km or longer, one-way. If they need a Goretex jacket and at the same time a pair of simple t-shirts, you should be able to find it all in one place.
Photo: Inside the store
What is the absolute best thing about running a store?
For me, the best thing about having a store is that it always changes, every day is different from the other. “The only thing that is constant is that everything changes,” I love that expression. And of course also all meetings with new people every day.
What strategy do you have when it comes to the assortment you buy?
The assortment is mixed to be able to meet the customer’s needs, who once wants a stylish suit or exclusive dress for the girl or the guy who just wants something simple. The idea is that you do not have to go to several stores, but rather can solve it with us. Then maybe you have a coffee or a light lunch in our café before you go home.
What would you say your customers appreciate most when they visit you?
What you appreciate most is probably the assortment and service, to be welcomed recognized, and get a feeling of home. I usually say that it is guests who come and visit, so we should treat everyone as our guests and that we would like to be treated.
The issue of sustainability is high on the agenda in these times, how is it in your industry and how do Häggströms Modehus work with sustainability?
We have extensive sorting and recycling in collaboration with Ragn Sells so nothing is thrown away or mixed, we only use sustainable cleaning agents and we have received very high marks for our way of being sustainable.
What would you say is your greatest asset? And what would you say is your biggest challenge?
The biggest asset is all my colleagues who have made Lögdeå a magical place, and of course that we have become so well-known throughout Sweden. The biggest challenge is of course to run a fashion house of 2300 square meters in a village with 350 inhabitants. First, all surfaces should feel inspiring, but we usually take the customer on the small store tour to show off news, colors that are trending, and so on. But it is personal shopping we have done for at least 50 years before it became a buzzword.
Photo: Inside the store
What is your best tip for inspiring the customer?
We always want to exceed our customers’ expectations and create a feeling of home, even though it is so big. All colleagues here are passionate about our company in the same way as I am, because de facto we have to be 120 km better than the shops in the cities. They are 60 km one-way from us and there is where our customers are.
What do you think is the biggest driving force the customer has to want to come and shop in a physical store instead of online?
Right now it is a combination of just being out in a store, making an excursion, and being able to take, squeeze, feel and try. We have an all-time high now in the store with many weddings and parties that everyone has been waiting for, and then live is always better.
How do you, as a store in a village with 350 inhabitants, attract customers in the immediate area and outside, to come to you? And has the way to attract customers looked different during your 100 years?
In the 70s when I started in the industry, it was as simple as placing an ad in a newspaper, so everyone knew the day after what was going on. But over time, that medium has been completely erased and all the different paths on social media have been added. So visibility is more difficult now that there are a plethora of platforms to be on. But the personal touch, to make the customer love our store and share it with others is always a viable way. It is through live shopping, in-store screenings, and so on.