Mini Case: Scandi Home Furnishings, Inc.

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Kaj Rasmussen founded Scandi Home Furnishings as a corporation during mid-2002. Sales during the first full year (2003) of operation reached $1.3 million. Sales increased by 15 percent in 2004 and another 20 percent in 2005. However, profits after increasing in 2004 over 2003 fell sharply in 2005 causing Kaj to wonder what was happening to his “pride and joy” business venture. After all, Kaj has continued to work as close as possible to a 24/7 pace beginning with the startup of Scandi and through the first three full years of operation.

Scandi Home Furnishings, located in eastern North Carolina, designs, manufactures, and sells to home furnishings retailers Scandinavian-designed furniture and accessories. The modern Scandinavian design has a streamlined and uncluttered look. While this furniture style is primarily associated with Denmark, both Norway and Sweden designers have contributed to the allure of Scandinavian home furnishings. Some say that the inspiration for the Scandinavian design can be traced to the “elegant curves” of art nouveau from which designers were able to produce aesthetically pleasing, structurally strong modern furniture. Danish, and the home furnishings produced by the other Scandinavian countries—Sweden, Norway, and Finland, are made using wood (primarily oak, maple, and ash), aluminum, steel, and high-grade plastics.

Kaj grew up in Copenhagen, Denmark and received a college degree from a technical university in Sweden. As is typically in Europe, Kaj began his business career as an apprentice at a major home furnishings manufacturer in Copenhagen. After “learning the trade,” he quickly moved into a management position in the firm. However, after a few years, Kaj realized that what he really wanted to do was to start and operate his own Scandinavian home furnishings business. At the same time, after traveling throughout the world including the U.S., he was sure that he wanted to be an entrepreneur in the United States....
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