Making the most of every challenge
Lina Ringefelt jokingly says she was ‘born within IKEA’ because her father worked at the IKEA headquarters in wood trading, and she’s been with the company since 1998. For six years, she has developed products for storage and organization, like boxes, baskets and bins. When she was working on new PLUMSA baskets, she did something that’s in our IKEA blood—she turned a challenge into an opportunity!
At any given moment, Lina is involved in making almost 45-50 products in various stages of the development process. She keeps track of all of these products and those being created in other IKEA departments like the bedroom and living room. It’s part of making sure the storage pieces are different from one another but still work well with other products like shelving units and drawers. “It’s like this puzzle of knowing what’s coming, keeping up with styles and trends and trying to make unique products.” At the same time as PLUMSA baskets, she was working on another basket, too. She says she really loved the other basket because it was going to look like an old-fashioned apple basket made from poplar and pine with a leather handle on each side.
A puzzling leather problem
All was well until the product development team encountered their first puzzle. They realized the leather handles would make the basket too expensive. The puzzle was easily solved; they could just use another material. But there was a new, even more challenging puzzle! Before they could inform the factory that they were going to use a different handle, they received word that the leather was already bought and waiting to be used. “It felt like we had all these cows walking around. "We didn’t want to throw away the money or the leather, so we said ‘Ok, lets’ try to do something else.’” Almost instantly, Lina had an idea.
A time for resourceful creativity
Lina already knew how PLUMSA baskets would look and what the design would be—and realized leather handles would work perfectly. More than a pretty decorative detail, the handles make both sizes easier to carry. They give the smaller basket a hook-friendly hanging function, too. Ta-dah! Nothing would be thrown away. “Everything just happened really quick. We probably didn’t do everything by the book, but we still have two nice baskets that can be used for more than laundry. It could be storage next to your sofa and the small one is beautiful in the bathroom, kitchen or hallway.” Although all the pieces came together just right with PLUMSA, not every IKEA product becomes a puzzle. But when we’re challenged with one, we see it as an opportunity for creative thinking, just like Lina did.