Discover the lagom concept for fresh merchandising ideas.

As a trend watcher, I scan lots of websites ripe with the fruit of design influences, lifestyle nuances, and trend forecasts. Some of what I encounter is fun to find and suggest design concepts that may become future products for our industry. Some ideas are way out there, while others are just plain scary. But every now and then I find something that inspires me to reframe the way I think about things.

In 2016, the idea of hygge caught my eye. The Danish-inspired lifestyle concept embraced all things cozy and gracious. In 2017 a new buzzword took root: lagom.

According to Wikipedia, lagom is a Swedish word meaning “just the right amount.” It has also been translated to mean “enough, sufficient, adequate.” That set me to thinking—could lagom be a lifestyle choice for Christians?

Our industry is in the business of helping people discover salvation and then to live it out in ways that are pleasing to God. Scripture does not teach us to pursue material goods, power, prestige, or to indulge in excessive pleasures of the flesh. Instead, a spiritual journey will always teach us that God is enough.

“Just enough” denotes the idea of having enough to meet basic needs and just the right amount more to make life fulfilling and enjoyable.

Lagom has also been translated to mean the doctrine of decluttering space, donating excess to others, and simplifying life. Interestingly enough, these ideas appear to be part of the millennial mindset.

None of the ideas of minimalism, simplified lifestyle choices, or donating unused items are in conflict with Scripture. A life that bears the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, faithfulness, kindness, and self-control) is a life that has embraced, at least intuitively, the concept of lagom.

Is lagom a condemnation of consumerism or of retailing in general? I don’t think so. Instead, it is a call to recycle, to donate, and to move old things out that aren’t in use or that don’t have personal emotional value. Adopting this lifestyle is a thoughtful and purposeful selection of what should surround us and what occupies our time. It is offering something to others that they will use or that will provide an emotional value to hopefully earn a place in their personal space. Lagom gifting is also offering a benefit in the form of a contribution to a mission, a ministry, or some other “make the world a better place” cause.

In terms of lifestyle product trends and merchandising, lagom should be interpreted as showing things in the context of how products are used and/or what kind of emotional value they might provide. Again, millennials are the banner carriers of simplicity and minimalism. A store that features at least some lagom lifestyle trends will appeal to this important and much sought after demographic.

Here’s an example of a lagom store window or lifestyle display in a book section: A comfy chair (preferably with clean lines and a maybe with midcentury modern style), a side table (repurposed item or something with a modern vibe) with a few books, a cup of coffee on a coaster, and a trendy piece of art/canvas/plaque speaks a visual message: “Come discover books to read for leisure, coffee to enjoy, and great decor pieces to personalize a space.” Keep the background color neutral in shades of gray, white, and beige.

Lagom thinking can inspire other merchandising ideas, too. Taking a cue from the story of Goldilocks, set a table and put three packages in the center on risers: a big package, a medium package, and a small package. Add signage that says: “Too much? Too little? Hey, Goldilocks! Which one is just right for you?” Offer various price points of similarly themed items on the table.

All things considered, the idea of lagom can help put into practice retailing ideas that are important to millennials. For the rest of us, the ideology of “not too little and not too much” is another affirmation of a foundational spiritual truth: God is enough. Everything else is His blessing.

—Sherry Morris