Company: The One
Country of residence: Sweden
Thomas Lundgren is not your typical retailer. The founder of affordable luxury furniture brand The One refuses to think of his shops as “stores” and opts to call them “theatres” instead. Why? He’s fascinated by furniture, continuing to design and handpick 60 percent of the creations showcased at his 20-plus stores located across the MENA region.
The Swedish national first came to the Middle East in search of excitement and a new career, having become “bored” of life in his Scandinavian hometown. After 10 years’ working in the region, he settled in the UAE, where he launched his first “theatre” in 1996 in Abu Dhabi. But it was nothing short of a trial for Lundgren. After two years of rejection letters from banks and investors, he was left with no choice but to self-fund his venture. Thankfully for him, it was a success.