The Wonder Wheel of GOOP
How to spin a single product into an empire
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The Wonder Wheel model is when a business expands from the first product that’s made it known, and thrives beyond it by entering into products and services from other categories. Unlike in the Diamond and Galaxy models, products in the Wonder Wheel do not decrease in quality or price level, but stay consistent. Example of this model is Muji, which started from forty products sold in the supermarket chain The Seiyu, Ltd. in 1980. Mujorushi Ryōhin (“no brand quality goods”) then expanded to its own store in 1983 and the current 7000 products, a Muji hut, a hotel in Beijing, Shenzhen, and Tokyo, a car, a cafe, and food. (MUJI’s expansion recently came to a halt, as the retailer filed for bankruptcy in the US. Apparently, Muji neglected to invest in a robust online presence, and the onset of the pandemic didn’t help).
Muji’s Wonder Wheel spins according to its brand philosophy of “Muji is enough,” which is consistently implemented across product design, color range, selection of materials, streamlined manufacturing process, and minimal packaging. There’s a clear aesthetic and functional link between a Muji hotel and a Muji store below it in Ginza, and between all Muji products and, for example, the Muji house. They all share the same ethos of minimalist Japanese lifestyle, quality, and sensible pricing.