The Textile Company Nordic Knots Opens Its First U.S. Store in New York

Some families take their textiles very seriously.

On a recent morning, Fabian Berglund, one of the co-founders of the Swedish rug and textile company Nordic Knots, carefully arranged a rack of miniature rugs so that each was angled at a perfect 45-degree angle. Liza Berglund Laserow — Mr. Berglund’s wife and another co-founder, along with Mr. Berglund’s brother, Felix — was adjusting curtain samples, explaining why the green she had chosen had a touch of yellow in it, which cast a golden hue. “A green light is very, very unflattering,” she said.

Mr. Berglund, 42, said he prefers to think of a rug in a room as “the fourth wall.” Since starting Nordic Knots in 2016, the couple has built the brand quietly but with influence. This includes their first American store, opening this week in New York’s SoHo.

What is it about this relatively small rug company (Nordic Knots employs about 40 people) that has made it so beloved among a certain taste-making set? The British home ware designer Matilda Goad is a fan. So is the reality television star Scott Disick.

“We want to make design cool, but also accessible,” Mr. Berglund said.

“I think that concept is very Swedish,” added Ms. Berglund Laserow, 43. “We don’t have an elite view on design. We like to say we have a socialist way of looking at design, that it should be accessible to more people. Because that’s what IKEA did, right?”

Of course, the price point for Nordic Knots — rugs in their Grand collection, for example, range from $495 to $3,195 — is much higher than IKEA’s. But the brand was born out of the couple’s own frustrations in trying to find floor coverings that were of a certain quality but not outrageously expensive. When they started the company in 2016, the market offered only very cheap or very high-end options.

Previously, Mr. Berglund worked in advertising as a creative director at Anomaly and Wieden+Kennedy, while Ms. Berglund Laserow worked with her mother, the furniture dealer and interior designer Karin Laserow, who is an expert in Swedish antiques from 1500 to 1850. Their professional backgrounds may help to explain the brand’s savvy strategy.

Scandinavian design also has an enduring popularity in America. But Nordic Knots also understands that consumers these days have too much choice. Its website is organized practically, with offerings grouped under headers such as “solids,” “patterns” and “plush.” The company plans to release only six new collections this fall. The price point, while not low, is intended to be reasonable for the quality. Many of the company’s rugs are made out of New Zealand wool, for example, and all are manufactured in India.

“Our hope is that you take our rugs with you into your next home,” Mr. Berglund said. The founders also pride themselves in making their products instantly available. “There’s no going to a showroom and ordering a rug, and being forced to wait months,” Ms. Berglund Laserow said. Seventy percent of the company’s sales are direct to consumers.

The interior and home ware industry has been wise in adapting strategies long embraced by fashion brands. Early on, Ms. Berglund Laserow styled the company’s rugs in the well-appointed homes of the couple’s friends, with Mr. Berglund photographing the spaces and sharing the images on social media. As the customer base grew, the brand sought out people in industries beyond design, such as fashion, photography, film and art. The company also creates collaborations that have a slightly more artistic bent, such as one with the interior designer Giancarlo Valle or another with the design studio Campbell-Rey.

The new store is minimalist in its design, with leather stools and a couch by Mr. Valle and antique tables by the Swedish furniture designer Axel Einar Hjorth. A painting by Sissòn hangs on the wall, part of the pair’s plan to introduce new artwork from a rotating roster of contemporary artists. Last year, Nordic Knots expanded into curtains, and the long, billowy textiles, made in Milan, hang along the back wall and in front of the expansive store windows.

The co-founders had wanted to open a store in New York for some time. The United States is their largest market, even though they are based in Stockholm. Greene Street, where the store is located, has become a corridor of luxury and design shopping that includes other high-end retailers, such as Tiffany, USM Modular Furniture and Design Within Reach.

The city is like a second home to the couple, Mr. Berglund said. They met at a bar when they both lived in New York, bonding as Swedes abroad. They started Nordic Knots while still working their other jobs but soon realized they wanted to devote themselves to the company full time. They plan on opening a location in Los Angeles next year.

The couple use their rugs and curtains in their own house in Stockholm, and Ms. Berglund Laserow wants their store “to feel not like you’re walking into a design building, but that you feel this is our home.”

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