Osti began as the family-owned company Rollex ApS. Rollex founder Nils Jagd Jensen invented the first double-wired Osti cheese slicer in 1963. Since then, millions of “Ostis” have been sold and it is not unusual to find 25 year-old cheese slicers in Danish kitchen drawers.
Today, Osti is led forward by a new generation, but still stands for great functionality, quality, design and price. In 2012, Osti teamed up with Danish design agency LAND Designlab, and in just four years have won eight design awards with a 2016 Red Dot Design Award as the latest addition.
A need for change
When Osti first approached LAND Designlab they were in the middle of a succession. Osti was aware that change was needed in order to build and maintain its status as market leader and the first task for LAND was to update the packaging for the classic double-wired cheese slicer. During this project, however, it quickly became apparent to LAND designer Sten Jauer that the time had come for an update of the entire brand.
The Osti 01 design combines functionality, resource awareness and friendly aesthetics, and makes Osti 01 an optimal ambassador for the Osti brand.
In collaboration with LAND Designlab and Sten Jauer, Osti developed a gently redesigned version of their classic cheese-slicer, as well as the cheese plane Osti 01, now with a more conscientious use of resources and updated, innovative packaging. As a result of the new design collaboration, Osti was able to relaunch its product line as designer objects, rather than just “affordable kitchen utensils”.
“The Osti 01 design combines functionality, resource awareness and friendly aesthetics, and makes Osti 01 an optimal ambassador for the Osti brand - an ambassador which already is found in one out of eight Danish kitchen drawers.”, says Sten Jauer.
A new competitive parameter
When incorporating design in a market where price is the dominant competitive parameter, a whole new axis of competitive differentiation is created. This competitive edge has only been augmented by the many design awards won by the new products.
The awards make it easier for us to initiate dialogue with important dealers and distributors and thus may have a big effect.
It was a bold move for the Osti 01 to enter into design competitions, which have a history of being associated with pricy products. Never the less the move turned out to be a keen strategic approach. The market - and the design award juries - have accepted, understood and embraced the Osti 01, its resource awareness, functionality and aesthetics - at affordable prices. The eight design awards have opened the doors to new customer segments, in countries which have never seen Osti as anything more than a provider of good functionality.
“Markets such as Iceland and Great Britain as well as our design-conscious neighbours in Sweden show great interest for the Osti 01, not least driven by having won the Red Dot Award and the iF gold awards as a seal of approval for great design and craftsmanship. The awards make it easier for us to initiate dialogue with important dealers and distributors and thus may have a big effect”, explains CEO Peter Hemmingsen, Rollex Aps (Osti).
Open doors and increased turnover
The recognition received through the design awards has helped opening the doors to new markets, and Osti is now sold in Iceland, Great Britain, New Zealand and Australia, with even more countries on the list of potential export markets.
Osti’s turnover has risen steadily since 2013. This is without doubt caused by the larger and more attractive selection and the products’ transformation from being regular kitchenware into great design products that consumers appreciate. Osti’s financial figures clearly demonstrate that investments in design yield a handsome return.
Design has turned out to be a great way for Osti to differentiate itself from its competitors in a market where price typically is the strongest competitive parameter. The design awards have raised awareness of Osti, and have opened the doors to new export markets.
The success does not mean that Osti rests on its laurels. The collaboration between LAND Designlab and Osti is an ongoing partnership, with new markets being explored. Currently, Osti and LAND Designlab are exploring how to “transcend the boundaries of cheese” and investigating whether the Osti approach to functionality can be used to slice vegetables and cabbage, bringing within reach a massive Asian customer segment.