Founded in 1980, the housewares brand Muji has expanded to around 400 stores in its native Japan and over 300 internationally, proving that its philosophy of functional, affordable, and minimalist design has taken hold globally. Muji's full name—Mujirushi Ryōhin—translates to "no brand, good quality." Since hitting a rocky patch in 2001, Muji has bounced back to become bigger than ever with a design-first approach that proves good products equal good business. The products are designed to be neutral, everyday essentials and are based on a modular system of proportions that ensures all of the items “work” together and that customers can easily add to their collections over the years. Unlike Ikea, the Swedish maker of affordable housewares and Muji’s main competition, Muji’s aesthetics aren’t trend oriented. The brand has earned a cult following in the United States, but is adopting a measured approach to expansion. Instead of blindly opening new outposts in all major metropolitan areas, it strategically chooses regions where people appreciate design. In 2015, the brand opened a West Coast flagship in Palo Alto and one on Fifth Avenue in New York City.