The IKEA hacking trend has an overwhelming presence on social media, Pinterest, YouTube tutorials and Twitter. The concept of customising the minimalist Swedish designs has swept the web due to the broad accessibility of the brand.
The website IKEAhackers was created back in 2006 as a way for Ikea fanatics to find all the great hacks in one handy place. Popular hacks include adding polka dot patterns and metallic edges to cabinets whereas the more complicated hacks involve creating room dividers from wardrobes and book cases.
As the hacking trend gained popularity and hit the mainstream, the website caught the attention of the IKEA legal team. In the summer, IKEA threatened legal action against the popular fan site. Because IKEA is trademarked, the company is granted to certain exclusive rights on words, symbols, phrases and designs. The Swedish furniture company sent a Cease and Desist letter to the creator and operator of IKEAhackers Jules Yap, requesting the URL be handed over. Yap, who has a Bachelor of Mass Communications from the University of Malaysia, left her full time job to keep up with the demands of the site. She blamed her naivety for the error. A true fan of IKEA, Yap understood the need for IKEA to protect their trademark but felt she was treated as if she headed up an organisation rather than just being a home blogger. Yap has been made to take down the adverts from the site which created a source of income and funded it.
Yap used her site to explain the situation to the fellow IKEA hackers. Fans of the site showed their support by moving it to a new domain and signed up to a new mailing list to keep up to date with news. Jules later updated the site, relaying that due to the support from the IKEA hackers community, the retailer had contacted her to say they were rethinking its actions. IKEA invited Jules to The Netherlands to discuss the trademark dispute face-to-face to map out a solution together. Despite no recent updates, the website is still live with advertisements but a new domain is set to be launched.
IKEAhackers may be taking a trademark but the site promoted the brand in a positive way and encourages hackers to purchase from the store. Showcasing ideas on how to update and personalise Ikea’s designs to suit tastes, has been well received. The trend of customising IKEA pieces is not limited to this one site as top Vloggers show their viewers how they decorated their IKEA designs and Pinterest has a flood of IKEA hacks in their DIY section of the site.