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From homes to hotels: Nordic designer sees the light

Interview with Mats Salomonsson, Business Development Director at Belid Lighting AB

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Belid was founded in 1969 in a small village just outside Gothenburg on the west coast of Sweden. From its roots as a producer of lighting components for other manufacturers, the company developed its first complete product – a lamp – in 1974.

Multiple changes of ownership brought the capacity to expand and diversify the product portfolio to include indoor and outdoor lighting of all kinds for the residential and hospitality sectors. In 2008, the company entered the OEM market, and in 2017, it began working in the professional segment.

“We are very proud of our typical Scandinavian design,” says Business Development Director Mats Salomonsson. “We have our own, unique style, created by in-house designers, and that is what we have built upon. One of our core values is that we control the entire production process, from the first sketch to the finished product.”

Since the majority share acquisition by Accent Equity in 2019, Belid has increasingly focused on the professional market. “There is huge growth potential in the OEM and professional segments, and we have created a dedicated business area with a new focus on technical lighting,” explains Mr. Salomonsson. “On the professional side, we work with architects who are responsible for projects in sectors as diverse as retail, commerce and hospitality. This spectrum is focused on sustainability and flexibility, and that is exactly what we offer. We have a dedicated project team which acts as a partner to our clients, and is able to offer holistic solutions. We provide a great service and we love these special projects.”

Sustainability, partnership, and an increasingly holistic approach will be key factors in our ongoing success. Mats SalomonssonBusiness Development Director
Mats Salomonsson

This change in direction has been driven by stagnation in the physical stores sector of the home lighting market, although there is great potential in domestic and international online sales.

“In general we don’t anticipate much growth in the domestic physical store market,” notes the Business Development Director. “Our strategy is therefore to optimize the business we have, and raise our brand profile. In contrast, there is huge potential in the wholesale and professional sectors. The business split across domestic/wholesale/professional is currently 45/35/25%, and our long-term strategy is to turn these figures around in favour of our new business areas. This has demanded a complete change in mentality from consumers to the B2B market, but we are flexible, very close to the market, and we work in real partnership. Lighting technologies have made quantum leaps over the past few decades; digitalization in the form of smart homes and smart living has become a very important trend. Sustainability is also crucial, and we are incorporating this into all our business services, materials and processes.”

From its position as a well-established player in domestic lighting, its agility means that Belid is now a keen challenger in the wholesale and professional markets, resulting in a period of strong growth. The corona crisis has naturally had an impact, but the recent diversification has proved a key advantage.

“We operate in a wide range of different markets, which has really helped us through the crisis,” Mr. Salomonsson points out. “We reached all our targets in Q1, and for the first half year we are only a little behind the 2019 results. In March, we adapted our business strategies to the corona situation, focusing on what can be achieved and how costs can be reduced. There was no lockdown in Sweden so we were able to continue, but nevertheless, we took all the necessary precautions.”

Scandinavian design is popular and, while the Nordic countries are currently still the focus, Belid sells online around the world, in particular in Europe and Asia. All in all, the future looks promising.

“Overall, we feel strong and optimistic,” Mr. Salomonsson sums up. “For many years, we focused our marketing on products and how we make them, but in 2019, we set a very clear strategy to build a future based on the company’s core values, embracing its history as a localized Swedish manufacturer. Now, we tell Belid’s story, talk about its fantastic, dedicated employees, and focus on craftsmanship and sustainability by producing high-quality Nordic-designed products that stand the test of time.”

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