From Local Danish Store to a Global Operation in Only Ten Years

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From Local Danish Store to a Global Operation in Only Ten Years

Founded by a wife-and-husband-team, but presented to the world through the silhouette of two iconic sisters, Anna and Clara, Søstrene Grene – the Grene Sisters in Denmark – is living proof that a smart, committed and focused company can turn from a local Danish store to a global operation in only ten years.

The fictional Anna and Clara are your hosts in Søstrene Grene and have been so since the opening of the first store in the Danish city of Aarhus in 1973. The company was founded by husband-and-wife team Inger Grene and Knud Cresten Vaupell Olsen.

From Local Danish Store to a Global Operation in Only Ten Years
With close to 250 stores in 15 different countries inside Europe, the company has experienced exponential growth in the last ten years.

It is, however, the two sisters Anna and Clara who has been the driving force behind the success. Anna is a creative aesthete, while her sister Clara is practical and organized – together, they represent all that Søstrene Grene is and has to offer.

With close to 250 stores in 15 different countries inside Europe, the company has experienced exponential growth in the last ten years.

From Local Danish Store to a Global Operation in Only Ten Years
Mikkel Grene and Carsten Grene

The founders’ sons run the company today, with Mikkel Grene as the CEO and Cresten Grene as the creative director. Claus Tjærby is Chief Business Development Officer of the company.

Some years ago, the company realized that they had few shops in a lot of markets and wanted to change its strategy and focus on fewer markets with more stores.

Since March 2020, the company has offered its customers an online universe where the products can both be viewed and purchased. The web-shop is available in six markets and the company itself says that it has been overwhelmed by the large number of customers who visit the web-shop.

From Local Danish Store to a Global Operation in Only Ten Years
Kitchen category

The company is currently improving the digital experience for the customer and seeks to expand the range with even more exciting products. Regardless of whether you visit the physical stores or the web-shop, Søstrene Grene want to create a space where the pace of everyday life slows down for a bit. The stores are designed to inspire body and soul by means of classical music, creative product displays, aisles of ‘hygge’ and with surprises around every corner. A visit to Søstrene Grene must always be full of ‘hygge’.

The stores sell Scandinavian design, home accessories, kitchenware, gifts, stationery and interior furnishings and much more. The extension to online business is considered an omnichannel project as the company wants its online and outline sales to go hand in hand. It is not yet sure if all physical stores will open for online business, since there are some moods which are difficult to reshape on the internet, e. g. ‘hygge’.

From Local Danish Store to a Global Operation in Only Ten Years
Regardless of whether you visit the physical stores or the web-shop, Søstrene Grene want to create a space where the pace of everyday life slows down for a bit.

Søstrene Grene focus on the natural joy and aesthetics of the little things in life. In their stores, you will always find a wide range of products – many of which have been designed by the company with inspiration from its Nordic origins. Aesthetics are in the detail and are therefore always mindful of the importance of the choice of materials and colors. The company firmly believes that being surrounded by high aesthetic quality will bring you joy in your daily life.

The first Søstrene Grene store opened in 1973 on the first floor of Søndergade 11 in Aarhus. The chain expanded with stores in Aalborg and Herning in 1989, and the expansion continued throughout the 90s and 00s. In 2005, the chain opened in Reykjavik in Iceland, while the stores in Stavanger, Norway, and Malmö, Sweden, opened in 2006. The biggest store outside of Denmark is found in Dublin, Ireland.

During 2015, the company opened 20 new stores in Denmark. Today, Søstrene Grene is located on 15 different markets: Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, England, Ireland, Northern Ireland, The Netherlands, France, The Faroe Islands, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Belgium.

From Local Danish Store to a Global Operation in Only Ten Years, compiled by Tor Kjolberg

All images © Søstrene Grene