What is Hygge? Definition of a Small Business Term You’ll Be Hearing Soon


When a new business buzzword hits our radar (or sonar), we turn to Steve King, Emergent Research partner and a regular contributor to SmallBusiness.com. Sure enough, after learning more about hygge (pronounced “hoo-gah”) from Steve in the post below, we will admit we we’re definitely behind the curve on the term. It has been used in Europe a while and there’s already a co-working space with two locations in Charlotte, N.C., with the name Hygge. Here’s Steve’s warm and cozy catch-up explanation of hygge.


 Hygge is the biggest Danish cultural export since Legos.

Hygge is a Danish word that roughly translates to a feeling of comfort and coziness. It’s also becoming a word used to help sell a wide variety of products and services.

Key quote from a Guardian newspaper article, The Hygge Conspiracy:

“This year’s most overhyped trend is a wholesome Danish concept of coziness, used to sell everything from fluffy socks to vegan shepherd’s pie.”

The article also points out that the word hygge defies literal translation and is very hard for the non-Danish to pronounce properly. (The Charlotte, N.C., coworking space admits its name is hard to pronounce.) According to the Guardian, a closer translation is “a feeling of calm togetherness and the enjoyment of simple pleasures, perhaps illuminated by the gentle flicker of candlelight.”

Whatever hygge is and however it’s pronounced, it is coming to America

J. Walter Thompson Intelligence’s article Comfort Consumerism nicely covers this trend.

Key quote:

“As consumers’ lives become more hectic, they are looking for relaxation and emotional support. Hygge is the latest lifestyle phenomenon to recognize people’s need for comfort.”

And of course you can’t achieve hygge unless you have a bunch of hygge inducing consumer goods: “It wraps in not just good feelings and spending time with family, but also accouterments from candles to blankets to mugs of hot chocolate.”

The article highlights the U.K. company HyggeBox, which uses the tagline “Danish coziness delivered.” They provide monthly subscription boxes filled with goodies, such as tea lights and woolen socks, which vary depending on the season.

hygee-books

Hygge is part of a broader set of trends around the complexities of modern times leading people to seek or at least yearn for a simpler, gentler life. These include the mindfulness movement, the tiny house movement, the simplicity movement, yoga … the list goes on and on.

Expect to see an expansion in the number of hygge branded products in 2017 and beyond.

And remember:

Hygge is pronounced HOO-GAH


VIA |Small Business Labs

Update, Dec. 11, 2016 | A few days after this article was posted, NPR’s Weekend Edition, Sunday, aired a segment on hygge. In the interview you can listen to below, NPR’s Ailsa Chang speaks with Meik Wiking, the author of The Little Book of Hygge, about the concept.