FA S H I O N , TEXTILE & BUSINESS
FA S H I O N , T E X T I L E & B U S I N E S S
E t e l Ã¤ r a n ta 1 0 | 0 0 1 3 0 H e l s i n k i | s tj m . f i
Finnish textiles conquer the world
Bruce Oreck: Break the rules, revel in risk
Smart clothes for babies & other innovative textiles
H ERE TO STAY A LT H O U G H A F I N N I S H C O M PA N Y ’ S S H I R T MIGHT BE SEWN ABROAD, MOST OF THE
J OU R N EY OF A JACKET
81 % O F THE P RO D U CT ’S P RICE STAYS IN FINLA ND
THE PRODUCTION CHAIN OF A GARMENT IS MUCH MORE THAN JUST DESIGNING AND SEWING. I T C O N S I S T S O F S E V E R A L P H A S E S T H AT O F T E N TA K E P L A C E A R O U N D T H E W O R L D .
VA LU E W I L L S T I L L R E M A I N I N F I N L A N D .
P R I C E I N S TO R E :
stays Money land in Fin
3 Design A Finnish clothing company designs a jacket.
This is used for paying wages, premises, product development, taxes, ecolabelling fees, control, testing, advertisement and marketing.
Incl. materials and sewing.
stays Money land in Fin
57 euros If the item is on sale, this cut is smaller. stays Money land in Fin
The Finnish company acquires a lining fabric from a trade fair in France. The fabric printing was done in Italy. The Italian company bought the non-dyed lining fabric from China where it had been woven.
The Finnish clothing ompany acquires the c fabric from a trade fair in Germany. The fabric is woven in Turkey. The cotton for the weaving was bought from a wholesaler who had acquired it from Indian and Pakistani farmers. The origin of cotton can vary.
Manufacturing The partner company of the Finnish clothing company cuts and sews the jacket in Estonia. If the brand wants to indicate the origin, it will be Made in Estonia based on where the item is sewn.
Cotton outer fabric
7 Polyester care label and woven label The care label is printed and made in Finland and the thread is spun in India. The woven label is made in Finland and the thread is spun in Italy from cotton that was grown in China.
Polyester thread The Finnish company has an Estonian partner that buys the thread from a British company. The thread is spun in Vietnam. The petroleum-based raw material for the polyester comes from China.
The Finnish company buys the buttons from a manufacturer that made them in Germany. The raw material for the buttons came from Ukraine.
An example of a production chain.
fa s h i o n , Textile & Business
Cover Finnish textiles conquer the world
Bruce Oreck: Break the rules, revel in risk – 16 Smart clothes for babies & other innovative textiles – 40
Ideas p. 5
New concepts, ideas and innovations. We picked the best of the Finnish world of textiles.
Finnish fashion labels take the world by a storm, p. 24.
p. 1 5
Once upon a time
– 16 Time for a lesson in branding. Businessman Bruce Oreck and Makia's Totti Nyberg will be your teachers.
Into the great wide world – 24
What does it take to make it out there? As told by those who have succeeded.
5 ways to boost growth – 34
Anna-Kaisa Auvinen from Finnish Textile & Fashion tells it how it is.
fa s h i o n , Textile & Business
Dress to impress – 36 Finnish MPs and their brands of choice.
Tracking health – 40
Touko Aalto's best-loved outfit and other items favoured by the MPs.
Smart technology blends into textiles.
Risky business? – 46 Sonja Vartiala from Finnwatch and Elli Ojala from Finlayson tell us how to minimise human rights risks.
Success stories p. 5 1
Business brainiacs: Life lessons from successful Finns “Keep it real” – 52 Ville Leino, Billebeino
“Your own store brings credibility”– 54
Jarkko Kallio, FRENN
“Find a niche small enough”– 55
Tellervo Uotila, Frictape
“A change is upon us”– 56
Sophia Ehrnrooth, Marimekko and Finlayson
“It’s time to cooperate”– 58
“Stay true to the core”– 62
“Meet your clients online”– 60
Words of wisdom – 64
Minna Cheung, LAMK Institute of Design
Anna Kurkela, Papu
“People need to be happy”– 61
Pekka Ekberg, Fiblon
Hannes Bengs, Pure Waste Textiles
If nothing else, read at least this.
S TJ M . F I
Finnish Textile and Fashion is the central organisation of companies and employers working in the textile, clothing and fashion industry in Finland. We promote the industry and help our member companies to grow, go global and succeed. GE T IN TOUCH!
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Fab EDITOR’S LETTER
Future looks bright for Finnish textile and fashion companies. Fab is a magazine published by Finnish Textile & Fashion. This issue concentrates on business opportunities and growth in the industry.
D I D YO U K N O W T H AT helicopter landing nets, makeup remover wipes
and air domes are all made from textile just as are T-shirts and pillow cases? Or that 80% of the value of an item produced by a Finnish company will remain in Finland whether it’s manufactured in Finland or some where else (p. 65)? These examples describe well the variety in the Finnish textile and fashion industry. Finland has industrial manufacturing of non-wovens and technical fabrics whereas the clothing sector has gone through major changes. Common for both is that businesses are growth-oriented and increasingly more interested in going global. This is Fab, the magazine by Finnish Textile & Fashion, that concen trates on growth and possibilities in the industry. I see the future looking very bright for the textile and fashion sector. Especially the export turnover has increased and there are unbelievable new innovations in the pipeline. This Fab is also about bringing you great business stories and introducing the people behind them. Dimex and their working man attitude (p. 6), Ville Leino and the journey from NHL to the clothing business (p. 52), and Sophia Ehrnrooth’s emphasis on responsibility in invest ments (p. 56) – these are just some of the stories worth checking out. Anna–Kaisa Auvinen, Managing Director, Finnish Textile & Fashion
pub lisher Finnish Textile & Fashion m anaging director Anna-Kaisa Auvinen COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER Mari Kamaja email@example.com LAYOUT AND ARTICLES Gut Studio Oy, gut.fi ART DIRECTOR Leena Oravainio GRAPHIC DESIGNER Inga Tammivuori ARTICLES Anna-Kaari Hakkarainen, Antti Järvi, Anna-Sofia Lahdensuo, Laura Mattila, Tia Nikkinen, Leena Oravainio, Pauliina Suominen PHOTOGRAPHERs Timo Anttonen and Suvi Kesäläinen COVER PHOTo Timo Anttonen feat her collar on t he cover Anni Ruuth ILLUSTRATIONS Inga Tammivuori TRANSLATION Helmi Kaydamov, and Kielikuvitus (pages 24–33 and 46-50) PRINTING HOUSE PunaMusta FEEDBAC K firstname.lastname@example.org Printed 5/2018
Dress Uhana Design
LIVE AND LEARN
fa s h i o n , Textile & Business
“A sense of humour is a competitive advantage for a company.” –Entrepreneur Tuire Krogerus, Dimex, p. 6
the term to know
Branding with attitude “ W H E R E D O P E O P L E wear their Sunday Dimex suits to a graduation party?”
That was the question Dimex posted on its Facebook page. There were almost 200 replies. Many of them said Leppävirta, a town in eastern Finland, where Dimex comes from. Workwear manufacturer Dimex makes clothes for the heroes of worksites, industrial environments and earthworks. The company has focused its branding directly to the target group. Entrepreneur Tuire Krogerus sees sense of humour and honest attitude as competitive advantages distinguishing them from competitors in workwear. The company already had a fan base but social media took the interaction, especially with younger consumers, to a whole new level. “A polished content would not be a good a fit with our target group. Even our models are regular working guys”, says Krogerus. Branding for the working man pays off: there was a 20 percent growth in the beginning of the year. The turnover in 2017 was 14,2 million euros.
and advancements in technology a new business model has emerged. Put simply, it’s similar to a traditional marketplace: one company provides the lot for the stall, i.e. the platform onto which other operators and companies can create their own services. The platform can also act as a network across different branches, for example, bringing together companies working with smart textiles to join forces.
Source: Taina Ketola, PhD student at Tampere University.
Dimex has come up with the idea of the Dimex attitude. It means a straightforward, honest and down-to-earth way of doing things.
a t r ea t
DOWN ALL YEAR ROUND Whatever the occasion, be it Christmas or Nordic Midsummer, a light down jacket works a treat. The light down jacket embodies several trends and phenomena: athleisure is slowly becoming a part of office wear, and with seasons blending into one another people now tend to go for practical clothes that can be layered. Joutsen started the production of light down coats ˝a d ecade ago after several mild winters. A third of its coat sales comes from light down jackets.
Joutsen’s Anton down coat has a small pocket on the inside so you can fold the coat and carry it with you.
Andiata Basics’ leather pants are a classic.
a t r ea t
TIME AFTER TIME How about a wardrobe with the perfect pair of black trousers, the perfect wool coat and the perfect light blue blouse – all the classics? Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? Andiata’s Basics collection is in the spirit of the times: classics made from natural materials that make your everyday life easier and last throughout the seasons.
T U OT E N A U H A is probably the company behind
the label in the back of every Finn's neck. The company is one of the largest manufacturers of labels, washing instructions, ribbons and stickers in the Nordic countries. It celebrates its 70th anniversary in 2018.
did y o u know?
The mat is made using a lot of material which makes it sturdy and durable.
DESIGN Finarte’s Aitta rug was a collaboration with the designer couple, Saana and Olli. The inspiration for the pattern drawn by hand came from architectural motifs as the couple was renovating a 100-year-old house.
4. U N I Q U E TO N E S
When you look closely, you see tiny little specks or a bit of glimmer. Recycled cotton is made by sorting the material first roughly by the colour. This means the recycled yarn is not plain white. The yarn is not re-dyed which makes the rugs unique.
R E C YC L E D M AT E R I A L The carpets are made by hand in India using recycled cotton. The material comes from the textile industry. The cutting waste and trimmings are shredded and re-spun into yarn. The recycled material is environmentally friendly and saves a lot of water.
Rug with a past T R A D I T I O N A L LY R A G R U G S A R E M A D E U S I N G O L D T E X T I L E S . F I N A R T E , A C O M PA N Y F R O M KOT K A , S OUTHERN F I N L A N D , M A N U FA C T U R E S M O D E R N R U G S F R O M L E F TOV E R M AT E R I A L F R O M T H E T E X T I L E I N D U S T R Y.
“Skilled Finnish employees are a competitive advantage we cannot give up.”
LET'S FINVEST LARGE INVESTMENST ARE BEING MADE IN THE FINNISH T E X T I L E I N D U S T R Y. T H E S E I N V E S TO R S W I L L T E L L YO U W H Y.
Swedish producer of wound care products, Mölnlycke, invested in their factory in Mikkeli, eastern Finland, around 20 million euros in 2018. That’s half of the investments of the entire group in the current year. The investment programme goes on till 2022 and by that time the investments in the Mikkeli factory will reach 60 million euros altogether.
Luhta Sportswear Company has invested around 25 million euros in a new logistics centre in southern Finland. The centre will be completed at the end of 2019 and it will be fully automated. This is where the orders for entire Europe will be handled.
SNT-Group from Tampere acquired the business of Tammer-Suoja for a seven-figure sum in 2017. Around half a million euros were invested in machinery and equipment to develop other operations in their business.
WHY? “Investments enable acquiring new technology, expanding the production capacity and growth of the group. What matters more than machinery is the people – we are known for our world-class competence in our field. Skilled Finnish employees are a competi tive advantage we cannot give up.” –GENERAL MANAGER T I M O S A A H K O , M Ö L N LY C K E
WHY? “We invest in Finland because this is where we need to provide swift response for customer needs. Most of our own retail happens in Finland. The new centre ensures the shortest possible internal processing time: the turnaround time is reduced and material flow enhanced.”
WHY? “We believe the Finnish textile industry is worth investing in. There is demand and customers are eager to buy Finnish workmanship and services. Our strengths are quick, reliable deliveries and the option to be able to produce small series.” – CEO JUHA KOSKIMÄKI, S N T- G R O U P
- C E O V E S A L U H TA N E N , L U H TA S P O R T S W E A R C O M P A N Y
YOURS & MINE G E N D E R E Q U A L I T Y I S O N E O F T H E B I G G E S T M E G AT R E N D S I N F LU E N C I N G FA S H I O N . L E T U S I N T R O D U C E YO U TO T H E S E FINNISH UNISEX LABELS AND PRODUCTS.
1 – b i l l e b e i n o O f f i c e t- s h i r t 36 e. 2 – p a s o t o ta l Au g u s t u s t- s h i r t 60 e. 3 – m a r i m e kk o J o ka p o i ka s h i r t 100 e. 4 – v y n e r a r t i c l e s T- s h i r t 110 e. Lo n g s l e e v e t- s h i r t 125 e. S h o r t s 295 e. 5 – r - c o l l e c t i o n U n i s e x a n o r a k 120 e. 6 – a r e l a A l m a s c a r f 295 e. 7 – n o m e n n e s c i o S l i m t r o u s e r s A 200 e. 8 – b a l m u i r C r e m o n a h a t 169 e.
You can customise your Goyard items.
Farfetch offers delivery in 90 minutes in London for Gucci products.
NEW DIRECTION FOR RETAIL SARA K APPELMAR K IS THE LEADER OF MC K INSE Y ’ S SCANDINAV IAN APPAREL , FASHION AND LU X UR Y GOODS HUB . SHE LISTS THE TRENDS THAT ARE SHAPING FASHION RETAIL .
Asian trailblazers [ 2. ] INCREASING D ATA T RANSMISSION [ 1. ]
“Global data transmission has more than doubled in the past three years, and it’s expected to double again. Retailers who have been successful due to their location are struggling as it is not that relevant anymore. On the other hand, a start-up fashion brand is quick to gain a global clientele by using social media and online shops. The brick-andmortar stores have to begin offering something that’s not available online: awesome experiences and genuine encounters.”
“Two thirds of the giant web stores in the world and half of the global online business come from Asia. China has become the forerunner in retail innovation. For example, WeChatPay has already 600 million active users.”
Zero friction [ 3. ]
“Millennials have big expectations for companies: quality, values, trendsetting, new things, good prices – and simplicity. They are also used to quick deliveries. Millennials also like the ease of using their smart phones to pay for a product.”
The US brand Rockets of Awesome quizzes parents, gathers the information and based on it sends them regularly children’s clothes.
PLAT FORMS f i r s t [ 4. ]
“Fashion brands have to think about how to cooperate with big online market platforms. In the USA, 55% of the consumers begin their search from Amazon. In China, Tmall and JD.com dominate as they are accounted for 80% of the country’s online retail sales. To be able to tell its story, a brand needs also additional channels such as a flagship store and social media.”
G e tt i n g p e r s o n a l [ 5. ]
“We surveyed the views of fashion leaders about trends that will have most impact in 2018. Cus tomisation was at the top of the list. Consumers expect authenticity and individuality. We are now waiting for large retail stores to combine advanced data analysis with customisation of products.”
m ee t t h e b r a n d
WINNING WITH SILVER “ E V E R S I N C E TO P P E R B O U G H T the Hylje* label at the end of 2017, people have been asking if we will bring back the silver overalls. In Lapland, in the 1980's, you could wear your silver Hylje overalls to a wedding or a funeral. It had excellent thermal properties and it had a nickname, too: the national dress of Kaamanen (a small village in Lapland). The evening news showed researchers in Lapland looking for evidence of a strayed missile wearing the silver overalls. We manufacture workwear so at first we were not interested in buying the Hylje brand. Later, when we were developing a snowmobile uniform for the Finnish Border Guard, the older guards were telling us about the great overalls they had in the 1980's. The manufacturer turned out to be company that owned Hylje. Since we succeeded so well with the guard uniform, we decided that traditional overalls are our thing after all. We got excited about Hylje and overalls. Due to popular demand we manufactured also a limited edition of the silver overalls.” –Mia Ruusumo, co - owner of Topper Uniform
Here they are: the legendary silver overalls. With the acquisition of Hylje, Topper will begin selling overalls, camping apparel and outdoor clothes also to consumers. * Hy l j e m e a n s s e a l i n F i n n i s h .
LABEL IN NUMB E R S
Growth in turnover of design company Uhana Design during the last four years. In 2017 the turnover was 820 000 euros.
Touchpoint, established in 2008, aims to become the most responsible workwear company in the world.
i n v es t m e n t s
Striking gold W H E N W E A LT H M A N A G E M E N T and financial group
aaleri set up world’s first private equity fund investing in T the circular economy in 2016, they were not looking companies in the textile industry. Yet, the company ended up acquiring 49% of the workwear company Touchpoint which uses recycled material to manufacture their products. Why? “Touchpoint’s values and philosophy were a perfect match with the theme of the fund. The company had quality products, elegant design and proof of great clientele”, s ays Tero Luoma, Investment Director at Taaleri. According to Luoma there is a clear change in the textile industry: consumers want products that last and are responsible produced. Sustainability is a big trend also in the workwear sector. Touchpoint’s goal is that by 2020 the company will be using only recycled and environmentally friendly fabrics. Already 90% of the fabrics are made from recycled materials. “It’s fascinating to be involved in the steps this traditional sector is making towards circular economy”, Luoma says. Taaleri’s circular economy fund’s capital is 40 million euros. It is invested in eight Finnish circular economy companies.
20 000 Uhana’s Pisara earrings sold in five years since starting the company.
i n v es t m e n t s
Touch of silk D O E S F I N L A N D S T I L L have clothing factories? That was the first thought Tuomo Saarni had when a friend suggested buying Tam-Silk in autumn of 2017. Saarni was interested: he already had two menswear boutiques in Turku, southwest Finland. He sold European products and would have loved to sell products made in Finland, too, if there were such. Now Saarni and his spouse own 60 % of Tam-Silk. “I want there to be clothing manufacturing in Finland also in the future. We wanted also to provide employment”, Saarni says. Buying a company is not charity, though: the aim is to offer new products next to the more traditional ones and grow the business. Then Saarni will be looking towards Europe again: to invest in export.
Tam-Silk was established in Tampere, central Finland, in 1925. Their hit product is thermal under wear made from wool and silk.
fa s h i o n , textile & business
“Without a consistent story, it’s easy to get on the wrong tracks.” –Totti Nyberg, cco at makia, p. 16
Once upon a time B R A N D B U I L D I N G I S N OT T H E F O R T E O F F I N N I S H C O M PA N I E S . W H Y I S T H AT ? TOT T I N Y B E R G , C C O AT M A K I A , A N D B R U C E O RECK, F O R M E R U S A M B A S S A D O R TO F I N L A N D , H AV E Q U I T E A F E W I D E A S .
Bruce Oreck reminds us that from the world’s perspective Finland, and especially Helsinki, evokes almost a sense of mysticism. “It’s like saying Istanbul. A city with history.”
Totti Nyberg says Makia’s slogan Through the rough seas is about the storms and challenges in everyday life, and the great coat Makia provides to ease your mind. “I’m thinking that we’ve been through a storm and now we are in a safe haven getting ready for the next storm.”
man is sitting in the back seat with a black cloth bag over his head. The car stops at a wasteland next to a rusty caravan, the man is taken from the car into the caravan and the bag
is removed. For a moment F1 star Kimi Räikkönen is blinking as he looks around. Followed by Kaurismäki- esque silence, blackmail with nude photography, and signing of a contract. Soon Kimi starts to run towards the setting sun across a yellowish cropped field and a text appears on the screen, Makia Racing. It’s 2012 and the website of the Finnish clothing company goes down as formula fans are trying to find out what’s going on. What is Makia? What does it do? Why does it exist? Not many understand and therein lies the problem.
“BULLSHIT”, bellows a big man. Bruce Oreck, the former US ambassador to Finland, sits in the living room of his open, spacious apartment enjoying the comfort of the beige couch. The windows give out to the rooftops of the central Helsinki, there is a map of the city centre on the wall. Oreck is not just a former ambassador but also a successful investor and businessman. Today he has promised to share his thoughts on branding and why it seems to be so difficult for the Finnish companies. What are we Finns doing wrong? What should we be doing more? Where should we begin? Oreck leans back and gestures making a wide sweeping motion. “It’s crazy if textile and clothing companies find branding difficult. Clothes are a story! Every single thing I put on – a shirt, glasses, underwear, socks – every item tells other people as well as myself who I am”, Oreck says enthusiastically. “If I wear clothes that are made in some sweatshop, it says something about my values. If I wear clothes which have been manufactured responsibly by people who are paid decent wages, that, too, says something about my values.” Oreck brings up Coco Chanel as an example. In the past when a woman wore an item designed by Chanel, a bit of the freedom, equality and effortlessness that Coco Chanel represented rubbed off on the woman.
That same effect still prevails. When we choose our clothes or, for example, the interior textiles for our home, we choose the story we want a piece of for ourselves. Whose story matches with ours? Oreck clasps his hands and leans forward. “People have endless opportunities to choose from. That’s why it’s increasingly important to create something that is more valuable and meaningful than the product itself. And that something is the story.” AT THE BEGINNING OF MAKIA, around the mid 2000s, the story was solid. There was Punavuori (a neighbourhood near central Helsinki, the former harbour area), Helsinki and clothes that were made to last all seasons and fluctuations in fashion. Founders Jesse Hyväri and Joni Malmi along with Totti Nyberg who joined them, were all snow boarders and skaters who were about to grow up and become adults. They wanted to make straightforward clothes for people who wanted to dress nice, yet, retain some of the rebellion they have in them. “When you wore Makia, you could think that you’re still alive”, says Nyberg and laughs. Makia was quick to find retailers and get visibility, production grew and the name was on everybody’s lips. The sun was shining. Then a lot of things happened. First Makia swiftly transferred the production to China. Production volume was so low that the factories transferred the production onto smaller factories and as a result the quality went downhill. At worst Makia had a couple of thousand parkas in storage with buttons falling off and zippers that wouldn’t close. “That parka was our flagship product, the one that would pay our wages. Now we had to reattach each button and fix the zippers.” Makia learned from their mistakes, looked for and found new manufacturers from Turkey, Portugal and Finland. At the same time they headed for North America to pound the pavement and try their luck. Once across the pond they took great promo shots with well-known rock ‘n’ roll stars. The owner of the Los Angeles showroom was Harrison Ford’s son, Willard Ford. So, they had the Kimi Räikkönen kidnap video, a collection that was beyond wide and they travelled the world far and wide.
“If you make clothes, YOU MUST REVEL IN risk-taking.”
Looking back it’s easy to see what happened. “At some point branding got out of hand and we forgot to tell people about Helsinki and Punavuori. In Finland everyone understood Makia but abroad nobody had a clue if Makia had something to do with guys with beards, Formula One, Finland, music or drinking beer”, Nyberg says. LET’S BROACH Oreck’s favourite subject.
esticulating with both hands and raising his G voice in excitement he gives examples of why a brand should re-tell their story again and again, constantly, always. “Coca-Cola is advertising every single day around the world. Everyone knows what Coca-Cola tastes like, yet, they keep telling the brand story every single day. They are not stupid. If it wasn’t necessary, Coca-Cola would most certainly not be doing it”, Oreck says.
FIRST, THOUGH, you need to have
a story to tell. And therein lies the problem according to Oreck. “Finland is not lacking in good stories but in good storytellers”, he says sternly. Let’s take an example. Some years ago a Finnish company met Oreck for a product demonstration. The company had developed an oat milk beverage and they were planning to hit the US market. The starting points were excellent: the company had a great timing as the oatmilk trend was only just beginning in the States. Oreck tasted the beverage and nodded that it was okay, tastes like oat milk but the packaging was terrible. “I said that the package says nothing about you. You have a great Finnish story and a product you’ve turned into “a nothing”. You have managed to remove yourselves, Finland and everything that matters from it.” The company representatives got upset and chose to do things their own way in the USA. It did not turn out great. Oreck has noticed that Finnish companies are often quite literal with the brand story. As if it’s the company history or factual account of the inaugural meeting. “Almost every day I see products that make me think why aren’t you spreading the word properly
about this. Why is the story told in such a boring way?” Though, there are also fine examples. Oreck likes, for example, Kyrö Distillery. Their story reflects the passion they have for making the perfect gin and spirits. When you drink their liquors you can attach yourself to a story where quality, passion and effort matter. “If they were to tell you that we sat at the negotiation table and decided to make the greatest gin in the world it would not have the same effect as now when they tell you that four guys got wasted and decided to make the greatest gin in the world.” Oreck thinks Finns need to learn to tell stories that are brief, powerful and stick in people’s minds. That’s how you also create brands that stick in consumers’ minds making them want to be a part of that story. Oreck leans forward again and brings up J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings as an example. He believes that if you understand what the book is about, you also understand all the things the story of a brand can tell you. “There are hobbits in the story but it’s not a story about hobbits. It’s about friendship, thirst for power, humility and pride. Things anyone can relate to.”
“FINLAND is not lacking in good stories BUT IN GOOD storytellers.”
BY THE END OF 2014 Makia had reached the point where there were story lines here, there and everywhere so it was difficult to find something to relate to. Couple of years earlier Totti Nyberg had left Makia for Burton to see and learn how things are done in a large international company. In Burton’s Innsbruck offices Nyberg understood how you build the brand a strategy and how important it is to concentrate on something. “At Burton I understood the meaning of focus. At Makia we were flying by the seat of our pants.” When Nyberg and his family moved back to Finland at the end of 2014, the founders and board of directors of Makia asked him to assess the company with an outsider’s perspective and analyse where things had backfired. Nyberg spent the next couple of months on the phone. He called each agent and retailer and listened to what they had to say. He then put together a presentation for Makia. Nyberg’s list
Oreck finds the complaints of Finnish companies about lack of money for marketing utter bull. “Anyone can upload a video in Youtube for free and if the idea is good, you’ll have 400 000 views in a short period of time. Building a good brand and marketing it does not require money, it requires creativity.”
Makia decided a couple of years ago that there will be no sales. They took their time mulling over the decision but according to Totti Nyberg it was, in the end, easy: it’s consistent with the brand story and the ten commandments. “Black Friday and the throwaway culture don’t fit in with our story that places emphasis on sustainability.”
was comprehensive: you need to concentrate on what’s essential. Trim the fat from the collection. Go back to your roots and bring back Helsinki and Punavuori to the centre stage in the story. “What stands in my mind as one of the greatest moments is when I went through the difficult parts and everyone was ready to jump on board.” Nyberg got back as the CCO and began the brand renovation. A fifth of the products in the collection were dropped and the style was simplified. The word Helsinki was added to the logo. Photos from Helsinki in the olden days, dock yards and sailors, were used in the catalogues. No more dashing all over the place. They began to apply the 70/20/10 method: 70% of the time is used for where the money comes from, 20% of the time is used for designing and planning the next season and 10% of the time is used for all sorts of silliness (last one being a collaboration with the Finnish Instagram sensation @pieruperse, Finnish for fart-ass). “The percentage used to be the other way around”, says Nyberg and smiles. EVEN THOUGH THE REDUCTION
Finland as well as in Europe from where 40 percent of the revenue derives from. There is no need to mould, shape or vary the story, it is solid and tells the tale of Makia. Every day. “What Makia’s brand is now is actually the exact same as it was in the beginning. It just slipped our minds for a while.” THE COLLAR IS WHITE and feathery and Bruce
Oreck glances at it on the bench at the photography studio. And another glance. He then calmly sits in the chair pointed by the photographer, puts on the collar and grins. “If you’re a brain surgeon it’s okay to be cautious. But if you make clothes, you must break the rules and take risks. If you don’t, you are a coward and cowards don’t change the world.” There is one more thing Oreck feels Finns still have a lot to learn from. It’s pursuing perfection when building the brand. Or, rather, settling for less-than-perfect. Oreck takes an iphone from his jacket pocket and holds it up. “The operating system of this phone was launched at the end of last year and by now they’ve released more than ten updates. There is no such thing as a perfect product.” Still many Finnish companies keep relentlessly dispensing information about the properties of their products, data and processes, when they should be talking about dreams and the story.
As planned, MAKIA USES 10% OF THE TIME FOR all sorts of silliness.
of the collection and finding focus was visible in the result (Makia suffered a loss of million euros in 2015 and made a profit of over half a million in 2017), perhaps the most important decision Makia did was to do with the story. Or, actually, in putting it in writing. “Previously we had a different story each season but nothing permanent. There was no spine. And without it, we got on the wrong tracks”, Nyberg says. He sat down with Jesse Hyväri and Joni Malmi and began reminiscing what were the young lads from Punavuori thinking about ten years ago. Why was Makia founded? What did it believe in? What did it pursue? They came up with Makia’s story, vision, mission and the ten commandments they abide by in every decision and in everything they do. The rules stipulate, among other, how Makia relies on Finnish values and will admit if it messes up. “Dock worker district, Punavuori, Endure the rough weather of the north, Through the rough seas”, Nyberg lists some of the important words and statements. The best thing is that now it’s the same story in
ORECK TELLS A STORY worth pondering for a while. It’s a story about Justin, barely twenty, who wanted to meet Oreck because he wanted to make peanut butter. This was the first decade of the millennium. Oreck was about to leave for Finland to become an ambassador and wasn’t really concentrating on the young man. He just heard the words peanut butter and thought who the hell needs more of that. Justin recently sold his peanut butter company, Justin’s, for 75 million dollars. “There was nothing special about the product but what was special was the fact that it was J ustin’s peanut butter”, Oreck says. “I didn’t listen to his story. If I’d listened, I’d be a couple of millions of dollars richer.” Fab
INTO THE GREAT WIDE WORLD W H AT D O E S I T R E Q U I R E TO TA K E A T E X T I L E O R FA S H I O N B R A N D G LO B A L? T H R E E F I N N I S H C O M PA N I E S W H O A R E O U T TO C O N Q U E R T H E W O R L D T E L L U S .
Blouse, skirt and shoes M A R I M E K KO
Hat S A M U J I Scarf L A P U A N K A N K U R I T Suit F R E N N
floor of the Luhta Tower, one can see far over the fields, pine forests and residential areas of Lahti, in southern Finland. At almost 60 metres high, the tower seems grandiose to the point of absurdity, as if from another existence. Compared with other players in the Finnish fashion industry, the same also applies to Luhta – the company whose headquarters occupy the tower. No other Finnish fashion brand has even got close to the kind of success achieved by Luhta Sportswear Company. Last year, the Luhta Group made a turnover of 246 million euros and a profit of 11.6 million euros. Most of that money came from international sales. Not bad for a company founded by a Lahti market vendor Vihtori Luhtanen and his wife in the early 1900s. For Vesa Luhtanen, current CEO of the company, to have a room at the top floor of a building housing almost 300 employees instead of a market stall, has demanded courage, focus – and above all, strategically savvy thinking. R O M T H E 11 T H
Think strategy first the construction of the Luhta Tower, when the Luhta management worked in a low-rise industrial building, they were already able to see far. Luhta was one of the few Finnish EVEN BEFORE
brands that did not run aground in the 1990s when the collapse of the Soviet Union also marked the collapse of the most important export market of the Finnish fashion industry. “The company management has always had the courage to deviate from the norm. From 1960s onwards, when the Soviet trade was very i mportant to Finnish companies, the Luhta management was, instead of relying solely on that market, also looking to get a share of the western markets”, Luhtanen says. When the Soviet rug was pulled under Luhta's foot, the company already had the other foot firmly planted. This is still the company's strategy. For example, Luhta has traditionally been strong in the wholesale market but here, too, the management didn’t want to put all their eggs in one basket. Luhta Group bought the Aleksi 13 and Vaatehuone fashion store chains and began to learn the consumer trade. Ultimately, everything comes down to the ability to understand what the consumer wants, and that insight cannot just be bought with money. It requires sensitivity and the ability to listen.
S A R E S U LT O F T H E I R strategic planning, Luhta introduced in 1996 their leisure brand Icepeak, which was from the beginning oriented towards the international markets. The 1990s recession
was slowly drawing to an end and the market was lacking an affordable fashion brand with products combining technical properties and materials with youthful and positive design. This thinking was right on money. Icepeak has quickly established itself as a major international player. How was that possible? By focusing, says Vesa Luhtanen. The company targeted a small well-defined segment, which, because of the size of the international market, still represented large sales volume. In Luhtanen's opinion, specialisation is the only way to break into the international market. “The market in our field is saturated. There are no vacuums anywhere. Getting market access is becoming more and more difficult. Small brands operating in their own home market are becoming weaker because of the large international brands using their size to grab market shares from the smaller players.” This situation demands a totally new kind of thinking, Luhtanen says: the traditional way for Finnish companies is to make generic products that fit all generations. “The new materials and new consumer attitudes present new spearhead opportunities, and the company must be prepared to seize them at the right moment. They are always incredibly small in the beginning. Only when the company has been able to establish itself in a narrow market niche comes the time to dream about the next step. At that point, the doors are open.” Luhtanen lists opportunities: a company can look for new markets, try to expand the selection it offers to the existing customers, or attempt to engage new customers.
of sauna textiles made of coarse linen. No effort had been made to enter international markets. Right from the beginning, Esko and his wife Jaana Hjelt knew they wanted to take the company global. They were not primarily driven by the pursuit of business growth but rather by their desire, as avid travellers, to be able to work in an international environment. Jaana and Esko sat down and started to plan their entry into global market. There were 196 countries in the world – where should one start? The markets differ from each other culturally, socially, economically, and legally. Jaana Hjelt, who today is the Lapuan Kankurit marketing director, did her thesis at the Tampere University of Technology about small companies’ entrance into international market. As part of her work, she did a marketing research study on Germany, a country she had lived in. “The results told me that going to Germany is not going to pay off unless the product line is totally spot on. It’s a very demanding market.” So, the international journey of Lapuan Kankurit began in Sweden. “It is almost like our home market, very similar to Finland. We went there to prepare ourselves.” Norway was the next market after Sweden, and the Maison&Objet trade fair in Paris served as a stepping stone to the Asian markets. This, however, did not happen in a blink of an eye. Or even two blinks. Success required patience. “Our Japanese partner came to see our stand at the fair three years in a row before accepting that we were serious with our business”, Jaana Hjelt recounts. That slow-to-warm-up partner was the representative of Isetan, Japan's leading department store chain. Now the Lapuan Kankurit products are sold in Japan by Isetan and also at the company's own store in Tokyo, and Japan has become their most important export market.
IS THE ONLY WAY to break through.”
Choose the target market first L I K E LU H TA , Lapuan Kankurit (“Weavers of Lapua”) began as a small family business, but their road to the global market has been completely different from that of Luhta. When Esko Hjelt inherited Lapuan Kankurit from his parents in 1999, the company was known in Finland as a manufacturer
is currently experiencing a small boom in Japan, and Finnish companies such as the children's clothing brand Papu Design have succeeded in establishing a foothold in the market. The fashion and interior decoration brands Balmuir and I N N I S H FA S H I O N
Top R / H S T U D I O Trousers A Ï N O Shoes T E R H I P Ö L K K I
Coat LU H TA Suit T U R O Shirt & socks F R E N N Shoes S A I N T VA C A N T
Inga Tammivuori I M A G E S Timo Anttonen MAKEUP AND HAIR
Emilie Tuuminen MODELS
Jasmin / Paparazzi Mooses / Brand
Marimekko have also been able to obtain market shares in Japan and elsewhere in Asia. During his term as CEO, Luhta's Vesa Luhtanen has focused his efforts especially on the Chinese market. “Even a layman can easily see that the consumer market is growing there. The luxury market has been strong there for a long time now.” In China, Luhta is interested in a specific, clearly defined segment: winter sports. Luhtanen lists factors signalling growth – or rather, at this point, the birth – of a segment: appreciation for clean air, admiration of Scandinavia, the policies of the Chinese government, investments in large skiing resorts and indoor skating rinks… “We hope the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics will be the great watershed in the emergence of the winter sports market. It's what we're preparing for, we're expanding out there already to be part of the growth of that market segment.” One means of promoting that expansion was dressing the Finnish 2018 Winter Olympics team in Icepeak clothes. It was a big investment. The clothes were criticised in Finland, but Luhtanen does not worry about that: the clothes were designed with the Asian taste in mind, and they were well received over there. Luhtanen expects the market change to happen within 2–4 years. “All of the signs are there, and this is what we have aimed for for the past 3–4 years. Slowly we have been able to understand the of colour combinations, patterns, and materials the Chinese customers are willing to welcome.”
textiles are appreciated. Japan and Switzerland were quickly selected as the main target markets. Hjelt says that the first trip to the Maison&Objet fair in Paris took a lot of hard work – especially on the mental front. “I had to get my thinking into the right mode, one where I make decisions with the international market in mind, even though the exact course was still unknown. It was difficult, it would have been easier to just count on the safe and familiar home country.” The new mode also meant that the company began to make the products differently. The Spa & Sauna line of products, made of lightweight washed linen, was introduced. “If we had asked our Finnish customers whether we should do this, we wouldn't have done it. Our customers at the time were buying coarse linen terry, that's what they were used to.” But Hjelt decided to trust her research: that the new spa line would sell in central and southern Europe. And it did. The thinking at Luhta is also strongly customer-oriented. Vesa Luhtanen tells that they bring their international clients to Lahti. First they might be given a tour of the downstairs lobby, where milestones of Luhta's history are on display, and then taken by elevator to the upper levels of the architecturally imposing building to meet the design and marketing teams. “We ask for feedback on the new line at the earliest stage possible. Thanks to our long history in export business, approaching the development of our selection in a manner that is customer-oriented and close to the customer is part of the DNA of the company. When the wholesale ordering process begins, we are already pretty well aware of where we have succeeded and where the challenges may lie.” Luhta also actively follows developments throughout the seasons: the amount of data available on customers through various systems is constantly increasing. This information is analysed and lessons are learned.
TO GET MY THINKING
into the right mode.”
Adapt your product to each market the German market, Jaana Hjelt of Lapuan Kankurit realised that a product that works for Finns would not work for the consumers in central Europe. This led to an extensive redesign process. Lapuan Kankurit started with adapting their finishing washes and also created a special Dora Jung textile line. The design of these products was created with specific markets in mind: those where Scandinavian design, a close relationship with nature, and woven W H E N S H E WA S R E S E A R C H I N G
See also the article on the importance of branding on page 16.
Focus on the brand market, the importance of the brand is emphasised. There is so
I N T H E I N T E R N AT I O N A L
much competition that only the companies with a moving story and a product fulfilling a genuine consumer need will stand out.
Choose your partners and affiliates carefully ways to find partners in a new market. The most traditional is through trade fairs. Fairs and entering the international market through them cannot really be discussed without mentioning Aïno. Liisa Kotilainen and Vesa Poutiainen founded their women's fashion brand in 1990. Right from the start, they were thinking about going global: they chose the name “Aïno” because it represents the Finnish values associated with the brand. They added the umlaut to the letter i to ensure the correct pronunciation of the name especially in France. What made Aïno's Kotilainen and Poutiainen understand the importance of the way their brand name is spelled is actually the same factor that has taken Aïno to more than 20 countries. They have used common sense, studied the markets – and done an endless amount of legwork. Poutiainen visits eight trade fairs annually, even more some years. Kotilainen and Poutiainen tell how much the world has changed since they first went to a trade fair 25 years ago. At the time, the fairs were huge and everybody attended. Today there is an enormous number of fairs and it is difficult to keep track of which ones to attend – if any. Kotilainen and Poutiainen still swear by fairs, though. At a trade fair, it is possible to meet dozens, even hundreds of buyers in a few days. Trying to contact equally many by any other means would take ages. “It's just important to know which fairs to attend and where to set up your stand”, Kotilainen says. Liisa Kotilainen and Vesa Poutiainen have not set a specific market as their target. Rather, new markets have opened organically when they have met a partner suitable for the brand at a fair. When an interested client has approached them at a fair, they have carefully done the background T H E R E A R E M A N Y
research before proceeding with negotiations. “We want Aïno to be sold only in quality outlets”, Kotilainen says.
thoroughly is emphasised by Jaana Hjelt of Lapuan Kankurit as well. If she could change one thing, she would be stricter right from the start about approving retailers who get to carry her company's products. When you have no international sales yet and are approached at a fair by someone who offers to sell your product, it is difficult to stand firm. But it is crucially important. Jaana Hjelt tells a story: “I recall vividly how once at a fair in Germany there was this one company, their stand was next to ours, and a good British buyer approached us. The buyer visited boths stands and became interested in us but not in the neighbouring company, even though they had great products and everything was well thought out. The buyer told our neighbour that they had really nice products, but since they were sold where they were sold, the agent could not buy them. And walked away.” This is why Lapuan Kankurit are now very careful when choosing their retailers. “If you have given your product to certain types of retailers, it is hard to move up to better places.” Reputable retailers provide the brand with a better foundation for staying longer in the market. For Lapuan Kankurit, the UK chain Conran Shop is one such example: getting your product into their store is an achievement which in its turn has brought them many other retailing partners. H E C K I N G T H E B A C KG R O U N D
with a longer history of international marketing do not participate in fairs any more, but rather set up their own showrooms or organise PR events in the target country. A good example is Balmuir, who participated in the Maison&Objet fair for several years. Today, the brand has a showroom in a hotel in Paris during the fair, and they invite agents and buyers to meet them there. This only works if the company has already established good partnerships: it is diffiA N Y C O M PA N I E S
cult for a new, unknown brand to attract retailers or buyers to the side streets of the town, when there are hundreds or thousands of potential brands to be seen at the fair location. Vesa Luhtanen does not go to fairs. The way he has established his company in the Chinese market is rather extreme: Luhtanen visited 30 cities in China, meeting many potential distributors. “We organised events all over China, inviting potential clients to attend”, Luhtanen explains calmly, as if he was describing his morning meetings.
Stay alert V E S A LU H TA N E N C R O S S E S his fingers on the white, shiny café table. It is almost four o'clock, but he still has a lot to do. In his field, Luhtanen is known for answering every message he gets – and doing it promptly. There's no stopping, he says. Luhta Sportswear Company always keeps an eye open for changes in the market or consumer attitudes. One result of this is the Torstai brand, which operates like “a startup within the company” using fair trade cotton to produce mid-layer garments targeted at young women. Luhtanen explains that Torstai is developed little by little. Luhtanen mentions recycled materials as another segment offering good opportunities right now. “It has a good, distinct brand position and it speaks to the target group.” In the near future, the company is going to make a large investment into analysing consumer data. There's no such thing as understanding the customer too well, Luhtanen says. Consumer attitudes are constantly changing, and the industry reacts to them. Large operators are especially quick to adapt to changes in the mainstream. “You have to pay attention not to end up in a situation where there is no more demand”, Luhtanen sums up.
Ï N O I S also in the midst of large-scale strategic planning. Vesa Poutiainen lists what needs to be given increasingly more emphasis in business: changes in consumer trade and ways of doing business, Amazon and other online giants entering the European market, digitalisation and its effects on the society and the business. Aïno has already taken their content marketing to the next level: Aïno Media is a digital media reminiscent of women's magazines and based on advanced brand thinking. Aïno Media does not tell just about Aïno, but covers the world of fashion more extensively, covering subjects that interest Aïno's customers. “It’s necessary to react to changes in the world to keep the future interesting and profitable”, Vesa Poutiainen says. The other Vesa, Luhta's Mr Luhtanen, agrees. He tells that in the recent years the company has put a lot of effort into brand development. One reason is the economic upswing: the recession is soon a thing of the past and competing on price alone does not work anymore. “The consumer is again willing to pay a little bit extra. The product needs to offer a bit more substance, and the brand must communicate on a deeper level.” There's no knowing what the future will bring, so the companies must be able to make educated guesses and have the guts to take bold steps. “The main thing is being able to react to changes sufficiently quickly. Today people think like this, tomorrow they might think differently. Reason is part of this work, but emotions play a role, too”, Luhtanen says and looks out the floorto-ceiling window. Somewhere beyond those fields and forests is the great wide world – and Luhtanen is going to take his company out there with even more vigour than before. Fab
NEEDS TO OFFER
a bit more substance.”
I F T H E T E X T I L E A N D FA S H I O N I N D U ST R Y WA S A
5 WAYS TO BOOST GROWTH C O U N T R Y, I T W O U L D B E T H E W O R L D ’ S S E V E N T H O P P O RT U N I T I E S F O R G R O W T H A N D I N N OVAT I O N S T H AT G E N E R AT E P OT E N T I A L F O R N E W B U S I N E S S , S AY S A N N A- K A I S A A U V I N E N , M A N A G I N G D I R E C TO R O F F I N N I S H T E X T I L E & FA S H I O N .
Supporting i nternationalisation is in and of itself a global industry. Conquering new markets should be made easier. A prerequisite for internationalisation is that the company is able to find its main target market and clientele. This requires a variety of market surveys and analyses, and – after finding the focus group – strong commitment on the brand and marketing. Now companies lack support for marketing and branding. They often have to aquire outside expertise because marketing is not always a part of a company’s core competencies. When it comes to product development and, for example, developing a webstore, you get funding but for launching a product, you don’t. That’s topsy turvy. We need new financial instruments for marketing, branding and promoting access to markets.” “ T H E T E X T I L E A N D FA S H I O N I N D U S T R Y
L A R G E ST E C O N O M Y. T H E R E A R E I M M E N S E
bsolutely incredible a textile innovations, such as pulp-based fibre development projects, but we should boost the commercialisation of innovations. We hope to receive more funding also from the private sector. We have so many success stories already – just spread the word! I would hope to see more companies in this industry attending Slush, world's leading startup event in Helsinki. Companies need to be able to describe what makes the innovation groundbreaking, what has been done differently, how the innovation impacts the environment and the need the invention addresses.”
Focus on sustainability operations are almost always international as manufacturing of an item is a joint effort of many operators: cultivation of raw material, production, spinning, dyeing, manufacturing of fabric and sewing the item are stages most of which take place abroad. Sustainability is important for Finnish companies and it's becoming even more so. Consumers demand transparency in the production chain and environmentally friendly approaches. NGOs are great partners with human rights work. Companies could use additional support with corporate responsibility matters. Country-specific information is often difficult to obtain. Embassies and other public sector organisations could assume a stronger role and help pass on information.” “ T H E T E X T I L E C O M PA N I E S ’
Predictable business environment “ I T ' S I M P O R TA N T F O R companies
to have and maintain a stable and predictable business environment that boosts growth. For example, when assessing the effects of the new legislation it’s important to pay attention that it does not slow the growth of the companies."
that operates globally to have skilled professionals. Education needs to keep up with business development. It’s important for the industry to view education as a whole. Does education and training genuinely respond to the needs of the companies and will students get employed after graduation? A sensible thing to do would be to create larger clusters of educational facilities. In Borås, in Sweden, they’ve come up with a solution worth considering: they have a textile cluster providing quality education for a wide variety of studies in this field. We here in Finland could learn from the example set by our neighbouring country. In addition, there should be opportunities for lifelong learning. The field is perpetually changing so you should be able to further educate yourself throughout your career with agile training opportunities. Along with design, we also need material-related technical competence as well as marketing and business skills.”
“IT IS ESSENTIAL FOR A TEXTILE INDUSTRY
DRESS TO IMPRESS T H E PA R L I A M E N T I S A P L A C E W H E R E YO U N E E D TO LO O K P R E S E N TA B L E E V E R Y D AY. F O U R M E M B E R S O F T H E F I N N I S H PA R L I A M E N T T E L L U S A B O U T T H E I R FAVO U R I T E AT T I R E .
Chairperson of the Green Party could be described as outdoorsy guy meets urban street hipster. I use a lot of wool, especially merino wool. It’s the durability of clothing and sustainability of the brand that are important, not logos or labels. When I was working as a parliamentary assistant to MP Jani Toivola, I familiarised myself with the production chain of clothing and the labour conditions in the country of manufacture. I believe environmental aspects are becoming increasingly more important to consumers. I especially like buying clothes that are manufactured using recycled materials. In my free time I like to wear Touko’s own traditional costume: jeans, sneakers, a T-shirt and a cap but when I’m in the Parliament I want to follow the etiquette and wear a button-down shirt and a suit. Luckily you can use a pocket square and socks to bring out your own style. Makia is my favourite from the Finnish labels. I like their story because of their snowboarding background as well as the fact that they pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and are a success again.” “MY STYLE
Touko Aalto has one principle when he is buying a new suit: it has to be 100 percent wool. For the photo shoot Touko chose a suit by Turo, a T-shirt by Makia and sneakers by Karhu.
Paula Risikko is wearing a blazer and skirt by Andiata. It’s one of her power outfits. “Those days when I sigh and wonder what kind of a day it will turn out to be, I want to wear something empowering.”
Speaker of the Parliament (National Coalition Party) “ M Y S T Y L E I S M O R E like a box than a flower. I’ve received so much feedback that Marimekko’s clothes suit me. I’m a strong woman from the Ostrobothnia region so I like strong colours and a clean-cut look. My clothes are mostly from Marimekko, Ril’s and Andiata. I love also Vuokko. My attire is influenced by the strong women of the past and present, such as Armi Ratia and Vuokko Nurmesniemi. They have fought for their existence and their competence and they have done a lot for Finland.
I value that and I want to support Finnish work. I come from an entrepreneur family and feel that entrepreneurship is what sustains Finland. To me the future of the Finnish textile and fashion industry will be very bright. I read fashion magazines from time to time and we have absolutely wonderful young designers. Finns are bold and have a great self-esteem. I happened to notice that the export turnover of the clothing industry was up 11 percent last year. That’ a great sign.”
Lately Antti Kaikkonen has been learning to use a pocket square. “Every now and then I pluck up the courage and wear one.” He wore his dark blue Turo suit for the photo shoot.
Chairperson of the Centre Party Parliamentary Group a passion for me. I don’t spend hours in the shops but I do like having suits in my wardrobe, suits that fit well and are of a decent quality. Turo’s suits have proved to be best for me. I have several of them. They suit the Finnish body type. I do follow global trends and I see the impact they have on the Finnish clothing industry. I believe design is the sector where Finland can grow and become successful.” “ C LOT H E S A R E N OT
Member of Parliament, Social Democratic Parliamentary Group “A C O U P L E O F Y E A R S A G O , when I was going to be inter-
viewed on TV, Aino-Kaisa Pekonen, from the Left Alliance, said to go with Marimekko. That you can’t go wrong with that. I had never been to a Marimekko store but I went, and I have never regretted it. Marimekko is the business suit of a female politician. A staple that saves you from critique and hate speech regarding your clothes. Clothing is a part of your image. I enjoy wearing clothes that are designed in Finland and reflect the Finnish self- esteem and competence. We, the MPs, should bring up the Finnish textile and clothing industry more when we promote export – there are endless possibilities in the business when success is not based on natural resources but, rather, on intellectual capacity.”
Tytti Tuppurainen is wearing a Marimekko dress, one of her collection of twenty. Her best blazers are from Muotikuu and Voglia. “I wish Marimekko would make dresses that are a bit more close-fitting. I usually wear a belt with their dresses.”
HEALTH T E C H N O LO G Y I S I N C R E A S I N G LY I N T E G R AT E D I N TO T E X T I L E S A N D ACCESSORIES. HERE ARE SEVEN A M A Z I N G F I N N I S H C R E AT I O N S .
To p m e a s u r i n g muscle activation , prototype,
ALLEVIATING MUSCLE LOAD W H E N , F O R E X A M P L E , a construction worker does physically straining work, smart clothing that measures muscle activation can measure the occupational physical loading: how much work can be assigned, say, to someone new on the job without them getting hurt. Myontec, a company from Kuopio, eastern Finland, manufactures smart clothes that can be worn under regular workwear. The sensors integrated in the fabric measure the electrical signals from the surface of the muscle. Measuring muscle activation enables both comparison of different work phases in terms of physical loading and planning the task schedule so that muscles have time to recover. The aim is to prevent work-related injuries and musculoskeletal damage, to recognise injury risks and reduce sick leave and incapacity. Myontec has already cooperated with insurance company Varma’s clients.
SMART CLOTHES FOR BABIES as planned, soft baby clothing will soon be measuring the heart rate, movement and sleep of small babies. Aalto University and Helsinki Children’s Hospital are conducting pioneering research in using textile electrodes to diagnose and monitor neurological disorders in premature babies. Textile sensors integrated in clothing enable easier monitoring of the EEG of the baby’s brain at intensive care units: just by putting a soft hat on the baby. A sleepsuit combined with AI diagnostics that monitors movement allows the development of baby’s motor skills to be observed even at home. Continuous monitoring enables gathering long-term data on the baby’s health. It allows conducting neurological diagnostic tests and rehabilitation earlier than before.
IF EVERYTHING GOES
A a l t o U n i v e r s i t y ’s t h r e e - y e a r r e s e a r c h began in the b e g i n n i n g o f 2 0 1 8 . Research clothes equipped with textile electrodes will l o o k a n d f e e l l i ke normal soft baby clothes. The research is funded by t h e F o u n d a t i o n f o r P e d i a t r i c R e s e a r c h , t h e A c a d e m y o f F i nland and the Finnish B r a i n Fo u n d a t i o n .
APPLICATIONS IN NONWOVENS
S U O M I N E N , manufacturer of nonwovens, has
developed a new digital innovation. The surface of the nonwoven fabric-like material is embossed using hydro-entanglement process resulting in a high-resolution pattern. A camera of an ordi narysmart device can be taught to recognise the patterns. With this new pattern technology, digital applications can be incorporated in nonwovens to enable identifying counterfeits, using augmented reality to create instructions or tracing the source of a product. The innovation, for example, helps with quick recall of faulty products. Suominen provides the innovation for its business clients to be applied according to their own needs.
SMART PLATFORM FOR DEVELOPERS W H AT I F YO U C O U L D programme exactly the application you need? It’s possible with Suunto’s digital Movesense platform. If you want to calculate, for example, the trajectory of a ping pong ball, the only thing you need is Suunto’s Movesense application platform and a sensor, and use them to develop your own application. The sensor can be attached onto the player’s shirt or racket. At the moment there are around 500 developers, half of which are companies. Movesense was originally developed for sports but it is equally suitable also for measuring ergonomics, rehabilitation or, for example, the movement of livestock.
SAFETY FOR WORKSITES a company from Tampere, has devel oped a smart high-visibility jacket that improves work safety, especially on building and road work sites when it’s cold and dark outside. A re chargeable panel in the back keeps the body warm for four hours. Adjustable LED lights are embedded in the sleeves, back and front, and can be switched on to flash in red or white. The garment is durable and machine-washable. IMAGE WEAR,
H i g h- v i s i b i l i t y j a c ke t with LED lights,
I m a g e W e a r .
KEEPING CHILDREN IN MOTION R E I M A L A U N C H E D the ReimaGo sensors – a collaboration with Suunto – in 2016. The activity sensors – easily tucked away in a pocket – measure the intensity and duration of child’s daily activity. It comes with a game where the child can collect points with physical activity. The aim is to get the child excited about being more active. The application has attracted interest in day- care centres and some are now using the sensors as a part of their daily functions. The hope is that a positive attitude towards exercise and outdoor activities is instilled already when a child is in kindergarten. In April 2018 Reima introduced a lightweight ReimaGo silicone wristband that can be used, for example, when swimming.
ReimaGo silicone wristband,
HEAT-REGULATING DUVET of amilon’s Outlast series are an F excellent example of how a technology originally created for another purpose can be utilised for something totally different. Originally developed for NASA’s space suits, the Outlast technology uses heat regulating materials that react to the skin temperature. The aim is to maintain the optimal body tempera ture of 37 degrees. The same technology has been utilised in sportswear, too. The Familon Outlast products have a special fabric with heat-storing capsules that regulate and adjust the temperature. T H E D U V E T S A N D P I L LO W S
O u t l a s t Xe l e r a t e d u v e t a n d p i l l o w, F A M I LO N .
Risky business? C A N A C O M PA N Y M A K E A D I F F E R E N C E I N H U M A N R I G H T S I S S U E S I N T H E C LOT H I N G A N D T E X T I L E I N D U S T R Y ? W E P R E S E N T E D T H E F O L LO W I N G F I V E A R G U M E N T S TO T W O E X P E R T S I N T H E F I E L D .
“I am proud of the fact that, as a representative of Finlayson, I have openly discussed human rights issues and challenges in supply chains. By setting an example, we can increase openness and cooperation within the textile industry”, Elli Ojala says.
Executive Director at F i n n wat c h
C o r p o r at e R e s p o n s i b i l i t y M a n a g e r at F i n l ay s o n
Finnwatch is a civil society
Finlayson aims to constantly improve
organisation that investigates global impacts of businesses with ties to Finland.
familiar with the human rights challenges of the fashion and textile industry meet in a café in central Helsinki. Sonja Vartiala is the executive director of Finnwatch, an organisation known as a watchdog on corporate responsibility, whereas Elli Ojala works as the corporate responsibility manager at Finlayson. She is in charge of setting and meeting the company's corporate responsibility objectives. The two have met before, discussing work-related issues such as the worsened human rights situation in Turkey. It is well known that there is still much room for improvement in the international textile and clothing industry: getting information on all operators in the supply chain is challenging, the origin of the materials often remains unknown, none of the certificates used pay attention to a sufficient living wage, and the freedom of association is difficult in many countries. So, how can a Finnish company operate in order to be as ethical and respectful of human rights as possible? We presented Executive Director Vartiala and Corporate Responsibility Manager Ojala with five arguments about human rights and risks in the textile and clothes industry. WO WOMEN
its corporate responsibility. The company aspires to become the most transparent company in the textile industry in the world.
Argument 1 –
A company can trace all stages of the supply chain E L L I O JA L A : In the textile industry it is not that simple. We have to rely on information provided by our partners, and the longer the production chain, the harder it becomes. Finlayson has systematically worked on traceability and transparency for a couple of years now. With many products we are at a point where we have managed to trace the chain up to the cotton wholesalers, but after that the origin becomes obscured because the wholesalers purchase cotton from several different sources. Certified cotton is an exception. It’s origin the easiest to trace.
Certified cotton (see description on page 49) does the work for the company, in a way. Using it means that you are provided with precise information about its origin. S O N JA VA R T I A L A :
E L L I : When entering into contracts with partners, it is of course advisable to carefully define the criteria the company wishes to follow. Nowadays our partners know that we want information, and
why we want it. They are also aware of restrictions: for example, we have forbidden cotton from Uzbekistan, because the government has forced the people to pick the cotton. Traceability is of course not a value to itself, but rather a tool that enables ensuring that working conditions are in order. Since production chains of the textile and clothes industry often extend to risk countries where the authorities are not doing their job, companies need to step up, confront the government issues and ensure that human rights are respected. This is also in accordance with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. After governments agreed to adhere to the principles in 2011, companies have started to wake up to the fact that responsibility issues are not just matters of opinion.
attend to matters as they have promised. The negotiating power of a single small enterprise is not very high, especially if the partner is big. Therefore, we have aimed to find partners appropriate for our needs and with whom collaboration is fruitful.
S O N JA :
Argument 2 –
Companies have influence over how their business partners treat their employees
We have also expressed our wish for more cooperation between companies in the textile and clothing industry in Finland. It makes no sense for every company to ponder these matters alone, as the problems are shared by the whole industry. Companies could work together to sort out the supply chains of certified cotton and to lower its price. S O N JA :
Although companies are competitors in many aspects, it’s a good idea to avoid thinking that when it comes to responsibility issues. Many Finnish operators may even use the same factories to manufacture their products, “Companies which is one more reason for coope are competitors ration. Resources could be pooled, for in many aspects. example, in human rights audits, and where companies use the same fac But not when it tory, they could develop the corporate comes to corporate responsibility matters together. ELLI:
We are able to i nfluence this by setting certain cri- responsibility issues.” S O N JA : On the basic level, compateria for our business partners. Our nies influence working conditions – ELLI OJALA subcontractors need to adhere to, for and take corrective measures all the example, the International Labour time. For example, they improve Organization treaties, the EU REACH legislation, the working hours or safety. Although this activity and the amfori BSCI Code of Conduct (see descripreceives little publicity, it is extremely important. tion on page 49). Unless the subcontractor accepts If shortcomings are discovered in audits, a list of these conditions, we cease negotiating. Audits are corrective measures is drawn up to improve the used in risk countries to monitor whether matters situation regarding the criteria used. improve and what kind of issues are discovered. Of course, one problem is that there are still deficiencies in the criteria, and it takes more than S O N JA VA R T I A L A : Audits, or factory inspections the current criteria to ensure freedom of asso by a third party, are a basic tool and advisable for ciation or living wage for employees. Therefore, companies to use. If the company is small and wiswe need to develop these systems. If we could hes to operate in a country with high human rights strengthen the trade union movement in the risk risk, it should join one of the existing systems, countries, many of these monitoring actions would whether the BSCI or some certification system. In become unnecessary. any case, the corporate responsibility applies to the whole value chain. That obviously does not mean Argument 3 that the company should be able to keep watch all – day, every day to see that nothing bad happens, but Contracts and collaboration must be companies do need to have appropriate processes terminated if the company hears of human with which they strive to minimise risks. rights violations in the production chain E L L I O JA L A :
E L L I : We have to trust these auditing systems, and, of course, our business partners, too, to
S O N JA VA R T I A L A : No. That would actually be against the international principles. If problems
3 X OTHER TOPICAL R E S P O N S I B I L I T Y I S S U E S
“I think people want information and the story behind the product is important to many consumers”, Sonja Vartiala says.
Microplastics It has been shown that washing synthetic fabrics releases microplastics, which, unlike larger pieces of plastic waste, is difficult to remove from water systems. To develop solutions to this problem, cooperation between industries is needed, as well as more information on, for example, how different structures of textiles affect the release of microplastics.
Textile waste In Finland, around 70 million kilogrammes of textiles are discarded annually and most is currently utilised as an energy source. The majority of the waste textile could also be processed and utilised as material for other industries, if it was considered as raw material instead of waste.
KNOW YOUR TERMS Traceability Interest in the origin of products is growing. Traceability means that the manufacturer knows the origin of raw materials, as well as their production and distribution chains. However, it may be difficult to trace the production chain as long as the obligations related to traceability are not internationally applied to all operators participating in the production process.
There are several different certificates for different materials: for cotton, for example, Fair Trade and The Better Cotton Initiative. All are subject to a fee. It may be difficult for Finnish companies to obtain certified cotton, as there is a global shortage.
The International Labour Organization treaties address, for example, forced labour, child labour and discrimination. The EU REACH legislation aims to protect people's health and the environment from harmful chemicals. Amfori BSCI is a corporate-led initiative whose members are committed to improving working conditions and facilities around the world.
emerge, it is the company's task to address them – this is part of the due diligence, pursuant to the UN principles. Companies are not allowed to simply end collaboration and change suppliers. If that was not the case, the situation would never change. The factory would just replace the client with a new one. E L L I O JA L A :
among many for each factory. S O N JA VA R T I A L A : There are risks everywhere, but they are obviously more common in certain countries. I think that before the Rana Plaza factory building collapsed in Bangladesh, few would have thought it could happen. In that specific case, the original construction permit had been exceeded by three floors and the building was not strong enough to withstand the vibration caused by the industrial machines. I don't think anyone was prepared for that kind of risk, and when the risk was realised, more than a thousand people lost their lives.
Before entering a trade relationship, it is advisable to run a thorough risk analysis. It’s similar to that of a food supply chain: if you are unable to provide a cold chain for meat products, you should not sell meat products. In practice, you should choose a supplier who is already being Argument 5 audited, or to operate in a country with smaller – risks. When a company starts making purchases, Finnish companies should get more help with it commits itself to responsibility for the human corporate responsibility issues rights risks related to the chain. Ignorance does not free the company E L L I O JA L A : I have a feeling that for “Corporate from responsibility. many companies, human rights are a responsibility big, scary monster of an issue. It may be challenging to try to grapple with E L L I : No big concerns have emerged issues are not it and come up with actions to take. in our supply chains. If any concerns We need to educate people and make did arise in the future, it would promatters of more information available. At the bably be important for us to cooperate opinion.” end of the day, these are quite ordinawith other companies using the same factory, and naturally with NGOs and – SONJA VARTIALA ry things that companies can take into local actors. It may prove impossible to account in their business operations. solve the situation alone, if you are just Risk analyses on subcontractors are one client among many others. already carried out: companies choose which countries to do business in and which not. At the moment, Finlayson is tracing its subcontractor S O N JA : If the company belongs to some system, chains as far as possible, which is a good basis for then the system protocols must be followed. If the company is independent of systems, it should nego- human rights impact assessment. tiate with the factory or the supplier and, if needed, contact authorities. If nothing helps and the S O N JA VA R T I A L A : Many employer organisasituation is not improved, and especially if your own tions have remained pretty much silent on these commercial relationship or business operations issues, and I don't necessarily mean the textile could even make the situation worse, it is certainly and clothing industry. In Finland, in general, the possible to terminate the collaboration. But ending corporate responsibility politics has been rather the commercial relationship is the last resort. reluctant with these matters and resources scarce under the current government. S O N JA :
Argument 4 –
You can prepare for all surprises Unfortunately, you cannot. Surprises can always happen. However, the risk is reduced if you gain as much knowledge as possible and work closely with your partners. Purchasing practises can be used to influence things to a certain extent but, then again, we are always only one client E L L I O JA L A :
E L L I : We have received help from the Finnish Textile & Fashion organisation, which employs a corporate responsibility expert. The corporate responsibility group of the organisation has been a very good forum for obtaining up-to-date information. In addition, the training events by the Finnish corporate responsibility network FIBS have been useful for human rights issues, and we have also learned much from our membership with amfori BSCI. Fab
fa s h i o n , textile & business
“Behind the success is knowing your customers’ wishes and habits.” –Founder and head designer Anna Kurkela, Papu Design, p. 60
BUSI NES S BR AINIAC S
Life lessons from successful Finns.
BB At first Ville Leino didn’t want anyone linking him with Billebeino. He managed to hide the fact for a year. “Billebeino is a clothing brand, not fan merchandise. The clothes have nothing to do with me, I only design them all.”
“Keep it real”
V I L L E L E I N O , d e s i g n e r a n d e n t r e p r e n e u r, B i l l e b e i n o
V I L L E L E I N O I S A F O R M E R N H L P L AY E R W H O S E C LOT H I N G L A B E L B I L L E B E I N O H A S R E A C H E D C U LT S TAT U S I N O N LY A C O U P L E O F Y E A R S . T H E R E A R E AT L E A S T T H R E E R E A S O N S F O R T H AT.
Believe in good vibes –
I found in a hinese book. I modified it a bit and used it to C sign my paintings. When my friend, Juhani Putkonen, visited me in the US, he immediately noticed it and asked what it is. On that same visit Juhani showed me how Instagram works. I got into it, set up an account and used the logo as a profile picture. I chose the username Billebeino because I didn’t want it to be the official account for the NHL player Ville Leino. When I was DJing at the Jyväskylä WRC Rally, we'd had made brand stickers with the logo just for the fun of it. People were putting them on shirts and caps and seemed to like them so much that I had the label trademarked. The first beanies and caps were made just for the hell of it, for friends mostly. When we sold 200 caps in less than two hours, we knew we were onto something.”
“ I T B E G A N W I T H T H E LO G O
Give your buddy a cap –
“We decided to produce small batches so that the clothes wouldn’t end up in storage. There was no special launch or marketing campaign, we just
gave our friends beanies and caps. [Former hockey player] Ossi Väänänen and [trendsetter] Jenni Dahlman were probably the first ones to receive them. When they and other friends wore the beanies and caps on Instagram, people started trying to find out what is this Billebeino. It was like a hidden cool thing, kind of like being in a secret society. When we got a new batch, we posted it on Facebook and Instagram saying here it is, this is how you can order it. Juhani came up with slogan #areyoubillebeino and people started tagging their photos with it.”
Plan not to plan –
“It’s not branding if you think about it all the time. People notice if you try too hard. For us the thing we’ve intentionally planned is not having things planned out too much. We have chosen our collaborative partners based on what simply feels right. For example, we designed a special collection for the Hartwall beverage label. It’s a traditional Finnish company doing their own thing, a unique company, just like we are. When you hold on to things you believe in, t hings that you think are cool, you’re keeping it real.”
C O M PA N Y established by Ville Leino and Juhani
Putkonen with a turnover of 696 000 euros in 2016. Most of the products, for example hoodies, are made using 100% recycled material. The 2017 turnover will be around 1,6 million euros.
“Your own store brings credibility” J A R K K O K A L L I O , C E O a n d c o - f o u n d e r, Fr e n n
J A R K K O K A L L I O F R O M M E N S W E A R B R A N D F R E N N T E L L S U S W H Y I T ’ S I M P O R TA N T, E V E N I N TO D AY ’ S D I G I TA L W O R L D , TO H AV E YO U R O W N B R I C K-A N D - M O R TA R S H O P. Jarkko Kallio considers all communication as marketing. “Communication is simple in that when you tell people, they know. You just need to remember to tell them.”
labels l aunched ten years ago would not succeed the same way anymore. There’s been turmoil in commercial sector and retail: due to social media and online stores consumers and buyers have eyes everywhere all the time. Many traditional retailers are losing their minds over the lack of customers. If there is a label that becomes trendy, everyone starts offering it. It’s increasingly harder for a new brand to be picked by a store. In USA, in the last ten years, many multi-label stores have been forced to shut down. Instead, brands have been setting up their own stores. The same thing is happening in Europe now. We took our time looking for the right location and at last we will have our own brand store. Having your own flagship store increases people’s awareness of the brand and is considered a sign of credibility also abroad. It’s an easy thing to promote. At the moment there’s a Wallpaper journalist waiting for nice photos of our store. Through your own brick-and-mortar shop you get visibility, the markup and a direct connection to the consumer. Having only your own online store is like a needle in the haystack, you have your work cut out for you. Though, it is a marketing tool also.”
“ E V E N T H E S W E D I S H FA S H I O N
FRENN IS A MENSWEAR LABEL
founded by Jarkko Kallio and Antti Laitinen in 2013. Their new flagship store is located on Fredrikinkatu 24, Helsinki.
“Find a niche small enough” T E L L E R VO U OT I L A , C E O , Fr i c t a p e
F R I C TA P E , A C O M PA N Y F R O M N U R M I J Ä R V I , N E A R H E L S I N K I , M A N U FA C T U R E S H E L I D E C K L A N D I N G N E T S . C E O T E L L E R VO U OT I L A K N O W S H O W TO F I N D A N I C H E M A R K E T A N D H O L D O N TO I T.
“ O U R B I G G E S T C O M P E T I T I V E A DVA N TA G E
is that we develop nets for the genuine needs the clients have. There are around 14 000 offshore helicopter landing areas in the world. For us that’s a lot but, still, it’s small enough that it doesn’t attract big companies. It was pure luck that we managed to find a niche small enough that we can pretty much operate undisturbed. When my husband’s father, Jarmo Uotila, began developing fighter plane safety nets and parachutes in his one-man-company in the 1970s, he tried to go abroad with his products. But it was one man against the whole world. The internet changed everything. In the beginning of 2000s we sold the first landing net
to an English oil company. Word got out and our business grew, and we decided to concentrate on helicopter nets. When a helicopter lands on an oil rig or on a ship, you need friction to prevent the helicopter from sliding into the sea. The deck needs a coating or you can add roughness but all that wears off quickly and bird droppings fill the ridges. Our nets stay in place, they are weather resistant and cost-efficient to replace. Three years ago a client contacted us if we could incorporate lights to the net so that they wouldn’t have to drill them onto the deck. We began product development and started selling the net last year. It has doubled our turnover.”
Tellervo Uotila remembers when Shell asked if Frictape could use the technique used for landing nets to manufacture also perimeter nets. “After the meeting Jarmo sketched the plan on a notepad in the hotel room.”
Frictape has large international oil companies, such as Shell and Statoil, as clients. The company’s turnover in 2017 was 5,4 million euros.
“A change is upon us” S O P H I A E H R N R O OT H , a r t i s t , p r o d u c e r, t e x t i l e i n v e s t o r
S O P H I A E H R N R O OT H , S H A R E H O L D E R O F M A R I M E K K O A N D F I N L AY S O N , T E L L S U S W H Y W E S H O U L D I N V E S T I N T E X T I L E C O M PA N I E S N O W.
You’re the change –
“ W H E N F I N L AYS O N ’ S Jukka Kurttila called me four years ago, I thought long and hard: do I want to invest in the textile industry that is problematic, pollutes and is in need of a great change in terms of sustainable development. I came to the conclusion that this is exactly the thing I need to have the courage to do and seek for a new direction. I also wanted to be a part of developing a fine Finnish brand and keep it Finnish. Marimekko on the other hand is an iconic Finnish brand and I trust their resilience and steps taken in the right direction.”
Innovations are coming –
of all produced textiles in the world get recycled so to develop recycling is significant. But not significant enough. The most important thing would be to develop new textiles to replace cotton and get rid of all harmful chemicals used in manufacturing textiles. Chemicals pollute soil and water in Asia, and deem areas uninhabitable. Manufacturing a pair of jeans takes 11 000 litres of water, the equivalent of the drinking water for one person for 15 years. All the major textile houses understand the problems and a worldwide search is on to find innovations to solve them. Finland should participate, take all measures necessary and aim to become the best in the world! We have everything it takes here in Finland. We have the technical knowledge, understanding in sustainable development and long traditions in fashion and textiles. These three areas should be combined. “LESS THAN ONE PERCENT
Spinnova is a Finnish company and a great example of doing things right. They’ve started producing new raw material for textile using a new process with no chemicals, and using only a fraction of the amount of water used in cotton production. With competence like this we have tremendous business opportunities worldwide.
Get in the forefront –
“ I N T H E LO N G R U N the textile industry has a bigger potential in bringing money and jobs to Finland than, say, low value bioenergy. The fashion and textile industry is one of the biggest industries in the world. I feel that the change in the industry will be on a par with the invention of the printing press which led us to a new era. There is still time to join the progress, willpower is all we need.”
Join and make a difference –
fashion brand representatives, I always ask about their ecological strategy and how it is made visible to the consumers. It’s perplexing how often they answer that it’s better if a fashion label doesn’t put much emphasis on ecological aspects but that it’s taken into consideration in the manufacturing. What on earth does that mean? Transparency is the most important change we’ve achieved at Finlayson. We are honest about our processes as well about things we don’t know. Finlayson has also succeeded in highlighting ethics and recycling. It is important not to deceive the consumer because in the end it’s the consumer who can make a difference with their choices. The investor can be a part of bringing about this change.” “WHEN I MEET
When Sophia Ehrnrooth is planning to invest she looks for a company with an intriguing approach, a big idea, a long-term plan for sustainable development and the fact that it operates locally. â€œI would also very much like to see women employees in visible roles.â€?
S O P H I A E H R N R O OT H is the third largest shareholder of Marimekko with her 5% share of the company. She is a minority shareholder of Finlayson. She has also invested in the clothing brand Anna Ruohonen, fashion label Onar and childrenswear brand Beibamboo.
“It’s time to cooperate”
M I N N A C H E U N G , senior lecturer of wearable design , head of fashion and c l o t h i n g d e s i g n a t I n s t i t u t e o f D e s i g n , La h t i U n i v e r s i t y o f Ap p l i e d S c i e n c e s
T H E C LOT H I N G I N D U S T R Y I S C H A N G I N G A N D E D U C AT I O N M U S T C H A N G E W I T H I T – O R P R E F E R A B LY S TAY A H E A D O F I T. M I N N A C H E U N G T E L L S U S W H AT I S R E Q U I R E D F R O M A FA S H I O N E X P E R T I N T H E F U T U R E .
“Every fashion course should include teaching the student to design products that are more sustainable than those designed by their predecessor. It requires that the teacher is constantly up to speed and updating the teaching material and methods”, says Minna Cheung.
LAMK INSTITUTE OF DESIGN
T H E I N S T I T U T E O F D E S I G N is a long-established design and media unit at Lahti University of Applied Sciences. In 2017, the fashion and clothing design study programme became the programme of wearable design which includes also accessories.
Know the context –
used to be getting an assignment to design a collection of ten T-shirts, you design them, and that’s it. It’s no longer like that. Now the designer has to design a T-shirt and there has to be valid grounds for its manufacturing as there are too many T-shirts in the world. You need to understand the principles of the entire textile industry. From waste hierarchy to consumer behaviour and value-based concept design. We would benefit from replacing separate courses with larger course programmes where the student is familiarised with the entire process. This could be realised by renewing the curriculum and methods within schools.” “DESIGNER’S WORK
“ T H E T I M E is ripe for cooperation between schools and companies. It would be welcomed in terms of developing the field. Education is in reshuffle and we are looking for new teaching methods. Companies have also realised that they cannot continue as usual: increasing sales just by increasing volume is getting more difficult. We are able to conduct research and development for this in our schools. Companies don’t necessarily have the resources for it.”
Think like an entrepreneur –
“ S T U D E N T S N E E D more business studies but not because everyone has to become an entrepreneur. Thinking like an entrepreneur refines all types of design. It helps develop creativity into a profitable and sensible activity, to identify broader themes and to see the possibilities.
Environmental and ethical aspects are already a part of fashion education and design adhering to sustainable development is a big growing business. Business competence is needed also. Designers need to be able to turn sustainable design into something profitable and user-oriented.”
Forget your own thing –
“ P R E V I O U S LY D E S I G N E R S concentrated on doing their own thing at school and later, in work life, ended up having difficulties with team work. Nowadays we educate so-called T-shaped professionals. They have depth and understanding in different fields across disciplines. They adapt to cooperation and are quick to learn new technology. In a few years we will have multitalented people, competent in technically challenging niche markets such as smart materials or technology integrated in clothing. New innovations also put pressure on design schools to create cooperation between different disciplines and schools. As an example, wearable technology is the result of the collaboration between experts in wearable design, software, device and product development, and user experience.”
Stay ahead of your time –
“ C LOT H I N G D E S I G N in Finland follows and anticipates the needs of professional life. Though, universities also need to be the leaders and trailblazers in the industry, and not just be at the beck and call of the industry. Otherwise students are already behind the times when they graduate. There are success stories in education. At our school we’ve been teaching circular economy and sustainable design for ten years, and just now there is demand for them.”
“Schools can conduct research and development. Companies don’t necessarily have the resources for it.”
“Know your customers online” A N N A K U R K E L A , f o u n d e r a n d h e a d d e s i g n e r, P a p u D e s i g n
C H I L D R E N S W E A R L A B E L PA P U S O U G H T C R O W D F U N D I N G TO H E L P T H E M R E A C H G LO B A L M A R K E T S . I T E X C E E D E D A L L E X P E C TAT I O N S D U E TO T H E T I G H T- K N I T O N L I N E C O M M U N I T Y.
to have a good roduct. It also needs to be made interesting for p the customer. Children’s clothing can be a mundane, boring thing, which is why Papu created an inspirational online community revolving around the theme. We have altogether 50 000 followers on Facebook and Instagram, and there’s no need to do much marketing elsewhere. Inspiring photos are enough. In addition, we discuss with our customers using Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Since we’ve made it easy to give us feedback, we deal with complains directly without having them spread to online forums. At the turn of the year we, together with OP Financial Group, had the largest clothing industry crowdfunding in Finland’s history: almost 500 000 euros and 610 new shareholders. In addition to traditional investors, our aim was to attract also new ones, such as young mothers who don’t usually think about investing. We managed reaching both. The more experienced were drawn using numbers whereas those new to investing were convinced by the clever story in the crowdfunding campaign. We invited everyone to join the Golden Sausage Club featuring the sausage logo people know from our clothes. For us the sausage symbolises courage and humour. Behind the success is knowing what your customers want and how they use media. Active online dialogue has a vital role in it.” “ I T ’ S N OT G O O D E N O U G H
Anna Kurkela’s Papu was a two- person childrenswear brand which, in six years, has grown to become a 15-strong design and lifestyle company. They have over 30 distributors in Finland and more than 70 worldwide.
PA P U D E S I G N Oy was established in 2012 by
Anna Kurkela. The company manufactures ethically produced children’s clothes. In 2017 the turnover was 2,3 million euros and this year the aim is to reach 3,5 million.
“People need to be happy” P E K K A E K B E R G , CEO, Fiblon
E M P LOY E E S W H O F E E L G O O D C O M E U P W I T H B E T T E R I D E A S A N D A R E M O R E P R O D U C T I V E . T H I S I S W H AT F I B LO N ’ S S U C C E S S I S B A S E D O N .
“ TO G E T H E R W I T H our personnel, we have eveloped a model that encourages people to come d up with ideas, turn them into innovations and develop their work. In short, in production we have seven competence levels according to which each employee at the factory advances. As competency increases, so does the wage and the responsibility. Because of this system, our employees have long careers here. We’ve gotten brand new ideas and services due to our staff developing our processes. All this is, of course, reflected in the profitability. Once a year we ask the personnel what are their goals and how those will help with reaching the company’s goals. The employees themselves will
assess how to measure and reach the objectives. This will be then put to practice throughout the organisation. Once a year the entire staff gathers for a day to discuss how are we doing in a world that keeps changing. People have the courage to look for a change when they know that there is no shame if you don’t succeed. People need to be happy during their free time, too, in order to come to work motivated. We are flexible and take into consideration people’s circumstances in life. This has meant that the staff is also flexible with the employer. With our example we encourage people not to prolong their working day.”
F I B LO N I S a family-owned company manufacturing disposable table setting and wiping products. In 2017 the turnover was 5,4 million euros with a profit of 300 000 euros. There are 26 employees. “We make all decisions based on four values”, says Fiblon’s Pekka Ekberg. They are profitable growth, a happy customer, respect for the environment and making work pleasurable.
“Stay true to the core” H A N N E S B E N G S , f o u n d i n g p a r t n e r, P u r e Wa s t e Te x t i l e s
H A N N E S B E N G S F R O M P U R E WA S T E T E X T I L E S K N O W S T H AT R E VO LU T I O N I N T H E C LOT H I N G B U S I N E S S I S A L L A B O U T H AV I N G VA LU E S T H AT A R E N OT N E G OT I A B L E .
N O B O DY I N T H E W O R L D can say the same as Hannes Bengs and his business partners can at Pure Waste. Each and every product, fabric or yarn of their brand is manufactured using 100 percent recycled materials. That’s something no other company has been able to do before. It wasn’t easy for Pure Waste either. It took years of testing and all possible negotiation tactics. Hannes, his brother Anders Bengs and Lauri Köngäs-Eskandari had the idea about manu facturing a fabric using only recycled material. This idea can be attributed to another company. Costo is known for making accessories, especially bobble hats, using leftover materials. Costo was founded in 2006 and its products, made according to the upcycling principle, became an instant hit. There was barely enough leftover material for the manufacturing. “We began looking for a fabric that would be made entirely from recycled material”, says Hannes Bengs. It was nowhere to be found. They had found a niche market, no doubt. And, a business that would adhere to their values.
brought Jukka Pesola on board: he already knew the factories in China and India involved in shredding and processing of cotton waste. “The infrastructure was already there”, Bengs says. The production facilities had been mechanically shredding cutting waste mixing it with fresh cotton for who knows how long – without telling the client. “Recycled cotton has not been considered as something cool.” Pure Waste turned that around: the company has brought recycled cotton from the factory THE TRIO
floors into the limelight and making it something everybody wants. At first the factories did not want to experiment using only recycled fibres. They were especially against yarn made from recycled fibres. It will break the machines, said the owners of the factories. The guys at Pure Waste kept developing and experimenting – and negotiating and pleading. The result was fabric and yarn made using 100 percent recycled cotton with a hint of recycled PET polyester. One of Pure Waste’s brilliant ideas was to brand the new recycled fabric. “Just like Lycra or Gore-Tex”, says Bengs. sales come from fabric sales and around half from b-to-b sales. A couple of percent comes from selling directly to consumers: T-shirts, sweatshirts, knits and sweatpants. The collection remains the same throughout the seasons. Bengs talks a lot about how the thinking and approaches in the fashion world are distorted: they can come up with eight collections per year with lots of products remaining unsold. The amount of surplus is staggering. “The objective of many companies is to make profit for the partners and shareholders.” That's not the thinking behind Pure Waste. Instead the company aims to produce clothing while standing by their principles. Pure Waste is actually not just a clothing brand or a fabric company – it’s a philosophy. The founders of Pure Waste aspire to develop a method that would further increase the lifecycle of fibres and find a way to replace recycled poly ester with natural fibres. “The most important thing in each decision is to stay true to the core.” H A L F O F P U R E WA S T E ’ S
Pure Waste did not have any outside funding. They did investments little by little as the company grew. Being independent has guaranteed being able to stand by one’s principles.
PURE WASTE TEXTILES
The company’s turnover was 1,3 million euros in 2017. In 2018 it is expected to surpass 2,5 million.
Pure Waste is actually not just a clothing brand or a fabric company – it’s a philosophy.
WORDS OF WISDOM Brought to you by the Business Brainiacs and their brightest ideas. “Find a niche small enough for you to operate undisturbed with no competition.” –T E L L E R V O U OT I L A
“Environmental and ethical aspects are already a part of fashion education.” –MINNA CHEUNG
“It's important not to deceive the consumer because, in the end, they can make a difference with their choices.” – S O P H I A E H R N R O OT H
“People have the courage to look for a change when they know there is no shame if you don’t succeed.” –PEKKA EKBERG
“It's not enough to have a good product. It also needs to be made interesting for the customer.” –A N N A K U R K E L A
“Through your own brick-and-mortar shop you get visibility, the markup and a direct connection to the consumer. “ –JARKKO KALLIO
“When you hold on to things you believe in, things that you think are cool, you’re keeping it real.” –V I L L E L E I N O
“The most important thing in each decision is to stay true to the core of the company.” –HANNES BENGS
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