FA S H I O N , LIFESTYLE & BUSINESS
Issue 1 2017
FA S H I O N , L I F E S T Y L E & B U S I N E S S
E t e l Ă¤ r a n ta 1 0 | 0 0 1 3 0 H e l s i n k i , f i n l a n d | s tj m . f i
Finns rebel and triumph
Men and children take over fashion
Business brainiacs: Life lessons & success stories
Turo Tailor is established in Kuopio. In the beginning the company manufactures mostly sportswear, army utility uniforms and workwear.
1940s Textile and clothing companies manufacture field combat uniforms and hospital uniforms for the army. When companies run out of material, they use artificial fibres and paper.
years in five minutes
The end of WW II. International trade begins indicating a lively period for the Finnish textile and clothing industry.
T H E R E I S A W H O L E LOT O F TA M P E R E A N D A L I T T L E B I T O F PA R I S I N T H E H I S TO R Y O F THE FINNISH TEXTILE AND C LOT H I N G I N D U S T R Y.
1856 The Tampere Linen Factory
is established. Several textile factories and spinning mills are established in this era.
The population of Tampere is 5700, of which 2300 work at the Finlayson factories.
1905 The first employers’ association in the field of spinning and weaving is established.
1907 Vihtori Luhtanen establishes a clothing company in Lahti. Vihtori’s wife cuts the fabric and sews the clothes, Vihtori sells them. This is the foundation of Luhta Sportswear Company. 1920s
Electricity replaces steam as a source of power for the textile factories.
1921 Nokian Kutomo ja Värjäys, predecessor of Nanso, is established. 1936 Danish immigrant Marius
Pedersen comes up with a new hobby for the whole family involving feathers and down. The story of Joutsen has begun.
S E E B AC K C OV E R
60% of Finnish textile and clothing production goes to export. A third goes to Soviet Union.
Early 1990s Depression and collapse of Eastern trade have a deep effect on the Finnish textile and clothing companies. Mid 1990s International chains arrive in Finland, the impact of globalisation is felt and local companies are forced to outsource production.
Armi and Viljo Ratia organise their first fashion show at the Kalastajatorppa hotel in Helsinki. A couple of days later Marimekko Oy is an officially registered company.
2008 Paola Suhonen’s label, Ivana Helsinki, becomes the first Finnish company to participate in the Paris Fashion Week and their official show schedule.
1956 There are over 40 000 people working in the Finnish textile industry.
2014 Finns spend on clothes and shoes more than ever before, 860 € per person.
1963 Finlayson manufactures a
2015 Sweden to bypass Russia becoming the biggest country of export for the Finnish textile and fashion industry.
novelty product, the duvet cover.
S O U R C E S : T H E T E X T I L E I N D U ST RY M U S E U M , F I N N I S H T E XT I L E A N D FA S H I O N , W E B S I T E S O F F I N N I S H C O M PA N I E S
1836 Scotsman James Finlayson sells his Tampere factory to Georg Adolf Rauch and Carl Samuel Nottbeck, both from Saint Petersburg. This marks the change where Finlayson, factory of a fifty-strong staff, would later become the largest industrial operator in the Nordic countries. In Tampere, Finlayson has its own hospital, school, orphanage, library and church.
1979 Half of all textiles and 80 % of all clothing used by the Finns are manufactured in Finland.
Maija Isola designs the Unikko poppy print for Marimekko even though Armi Ratia has forbidden the design of floral patterns.
1965 J.W. Suominen manu
factures its first nonwoven fabric product.
2017 Finnish brands are very export-oriented and increasingly look towards international markets for growth.
fas h ion , l i f est y l e & b usiness
Business tips, success stories and favourite products. An inspirational pick-and-mix from the world of Finnish textiles.
Hallelujah! – 14 Finlayson’s Jukka Kurttila and Varusteleka’s Valtteri Lindholm use dirty words and perform miracles. Oh boy – 22
Men and children take over the fashion market.
Hold the line – 28 This is Finnish luxury.
Young and powerful – 38
Nanso’s Reeta Ek, R-Collection’s Lilli Norio and Touchpoint’s Rolf Ekroth bring new perspectives to fashion and design.
Ingredients you need – 46
Reima’s Elina Björklund and Aalto University’s Pekka Mattila provide the recipe for success.
p.52 SUCCESS STORIES:
Business brainiacs: Learn from the best – learn from the Finns.
Fab EDITOR’S LETTER
If the textile and fashion industry was a country, it would be the seventh largest economy in the world.
This is the first fashion and lifestyle magazine by the Finnish Textile and Fashion. The next issue of Fab will be out in Autumn. The topic will be future and innovations.
YOU NEED SENSE AND SENSIBILITY W H E N YO U D E C I D E TO B U Y N E W FA B U LO U S C LOT H E S or pillow-
cases, do you make that decision based on sense and reason, or sensibility and emotion? Based on reason, you might answer. In reality, emotion plays a pivotal role: What the clothing item or interior textile feels like, what it looks like, the feelings it evokes. The textile business is a business of emotions. And with business of emotions, there is money involved. If the textile and fashion industry was a country, it would be the seventh largest economy in the world. Sense and sensibility go hand in hand in Finnish companies in this sector. They run their business and generate growth with a great deal of passion and enthusiasm. Few consider working in this sector as just another job. The theme of this magazine is inspiration. We believe in collision of ideas and people. When people talk with one another and cooperate, something new and inspiring always emerges. When sense and sensibility meet, everybody is a winner. Anna–Kaisa Auvinen, managing director, Finnish Textile and Fashion
Fab Pub lisher Finnish Textile & Fashion Layout and art icles Gut Studio Oy, gut.fi Cover Photographer Niko Mitrunen, style Emilia Laitanen, hair & make up Miika Kemppainen, model Louise/Viva art icles Anna-Kaari Hakkarainen, Leena Lukkari, Laura Mattila, Tia Nikkinen, Leena Oravainio photo graphers Suvi Kesäläinen, Niko Mitrunen, Marko Rantanen Translat ion Helmi Kaydamov, Bellcrest Translations (p. 56, 58, 60) Print ing House Forssa Print Feedb ack viestintä@stjm.fi Printed 5/2017
fas h ion , l i f est y l e & b usiness
“The product always has a meaning.” p. 4
N u m b ers te l l us
Percentage of purchases from Biancaneve webstore using a mobile device.
Number of Swarovski crystals Biancaneve attaches yearly to their products such as fitness bikinis and sports apparel.
3 X 3 x hat
Founded in 1935 in Kurikka, western Finland, this company manufactures practical hats in natural colours.
Linen bathrobe 255 e.
Get focused, stay focused T H R E E Y E A R S A G O Jokipiin Pellava, a company founded in 1920 specialising in linen textile, began re-evaluating their position in the global context. They put it in writing: the business of corporate gifts. Once having made the decision, it was easy to start following the strategy. The sales organisation was reinforced, Finnish production chain emphasised and special focus was placed on custom designed products. In 2016 in the small village of Jokipii, in western Finland, towels, sauna seat covers and interior textiles were manufactured for over 3000 clients. Each order was a unique custom designed product. Actually, it is not a product, it is a gift. Because Jokinpiin Pellava does not sell towels or sauna seat covers, they sell gifts. As CEO Timo Laurila puts it: “The product always has a meaning, and in our case the meaning is that this is something that is local, designed and customised”.
T h e b usiness ad v ice
I w ou l d h a v e needed
T h e ter m to k no w
“It’s a type of a wool cloth made by boiling. The fabric has a dense felt-like surface and it keeps its form better than the basic knitted fabric. It can be used as fabric and it has a bit of stretch to it.” –Marja Rak from Noolan
Costo manufactures environmentally sustainable and characteristic hats using leftover materials from textile industry. The company is famous for their bobble hats.
Fredrikson is one of the biggest hat manufacturers in Northern Europe. The 130-yearold brand has a seasonal hat collection.
“ D O N ’ T G O I N TO B U S I N E S S O N YO U R O W N .
The brand is only as strong as its weakest link. It’s important that the whole chain works: design, production, logistics, marketing and sales. Each person working for the company has to make their own salary’s worth of money for the company. In addition, you must also make profit and invest in the development of the company.” L I I SA KOT I L A I N E N / A I N O
N u m b ers te l l us
Number of brands in Weecos, webstore specialised in design and sustainable, responsible products.
The turnover growth of Weecos in 2016.
meet the brand
ORIGINAL ONAR Irene Kostas founded Onar in 2014. The Finnish company has discovered a niche that has hardly ever been utilised before. Onar manufactures its accessories and products by using European shearling that is by-product of the meat industry. Ethically sourced natural materials and bright candy colours are a combination that attracts the fashion-savvy consumers in the Asian market: already over 70 % of the sales come from there.
Cleo headband, 130 e.
meet the brand
RELAXED RIL’S When Ril’s started 20 years ago, it filled a void in the closet of the modern urban woman. Business wear has become more relaxed throughout the years and Ril’s has responded to the renewed demand with a more relaxed visual imagery and knitwear. Quality blazers are still the backbone of the company. “You need to keep an eye on the trends whilst preserving the essence and values of the brand”, says Chief Designer Birgitta Sannig.
The core strengths of Ril’s are combinable pieces and modern thinking. Each collection features an updated version of a blazer. Binge jacket, 299,90 e.
“ I W I S H S O M E O N E would have told me ten years
T h e b usiness ad v ice
ago just how long it takes to establish credibility. Many small labels go down in 3 or 4 years for this exact reason. It is only in the last three years that we have realised that business will grow and develop while we concentrate on doing what we know best.” P A U L A
I w ou l d h a v e needed
MALLEUS / REMAKE
S ustaina b l e
de v e l o p m ent x 2
p ure w aste
AT TA C H E M E N T SYSTEM The PALS attachment system, used in the army backpacks, transforms the backpack into a modular carrier: you can attach PALS-compatible pouches and expand the backpack into a compact hiking rucksack. One PALS loop can bear more than 100 kg of weight.
1. DESIGN Jääkäri is an improved model of the backpack made for the Finnish Border Guard. Finn-Savotta’s research and development team designed the backpack tailoring it according to clients’ wishes. Also their cooperation partners gave them a few pointers.
Keep on marching 4.
M A N U FA C T U R I N G
1. T-shirt from recycled cotton 19,90 €, Pure Waste. 2. Paula bag from durable sail cloth, 28 €, Globe Hope.
For quality reasons Finn-Savotta moved their production from China to Finland and Estonia in 2014. Each production batch of Jääkäri has always sold out and the numbers have doubled since the company started to produce it in 2015.
QUALITY GUARANTEE The backpack is anatomically shaped and it has various details, such as a support frame and a laptop compartment, designed to make the carrying and packing easier. Made from durable Cordura material, the company gives the backpack a 5-year guarantee.
T H E JÄ Ä K Ä R I * B A C K PA C K I S F I N N - S AVOT TA’ S MOST P OPULAR ITEM AND AN EXCELLENT EXAMPLE O F W H Y I T ’ S W O R T H YO U R W H I L E TO S TA R T MAKING SOMETHING BEST IN THE WORLD.
*The word jääkäri means infantry soldier in Finnish.
O, FINLAND Fo r t h e h o m e :
La p uan
k an k urit [ 2. ]
M a r i a V e i t o l a , a TV a n d r a d i o personality also known for her f l a m b oya n t st y l e , r e v e a ls h e r
“For a long time I thought towels have to be terry cloth towels, until realising they can also be linen. Unlike terry cloth, linen does not shed fluff. Nowadays I have lots of grey linen towels from Lapuan Kankurit.”
f av o u r i t e b r a n d s .
Fo r n o s t a l g i a : Fo r h e r s e l f :
[ 1. ]
“I love the conceptual thinking behind Samuji, their world is so beautiful and visual. Their values are also on point: great materials and ethically produced clothes that stand the test of time. Each collection has a coat I would like to have. They are the best of Samuji.”
[ 3. ]
Mari m e k k o
“I have grown up in a home decorated with Marimekko. During the weekends we would mosey around in the classic striped Tasaraita pyjamas. When I was young I would rummage through flea markets looking for Marimekko threads. When Samu-Jussi Koski began working for Marimekko, I started buying their clothes again. I also liked Anna Teurnell’s work.
Fo r h i m , t o o :
N o m en
N escio [ 4. ]
“Nomen Nescio is a unisex clothing label that my partner and I both like to wear. Every piece of clothing is black and the collection is small: the most perfect jumper in the world, the most perfect cardigan in the world, the most perfect linen shirt in the world.” Fo r t h e c h i l d :
[ 5. ]
Vi m m a
“I buy my five-year-old son wonderful print outfits from Vimma. Their trousers and tops create a combination of pure psychedelic madness. My child is not interested in what the clothes look like but rather what they feel like. I enjoy being able to choose for him whatever I want.”
pic ture a ll ov er pr ess
Embrace the landscape
Jukka Rintala was inspired by the Yyteri beach and created the Maa print. He painted the original with two wide brush strokes letting the colours blend into one another.
â€œ Y Y T E R I B E A C H , in Pori, western Finland, is one of the most important landscapes for me. My childhood home was nearby and we spent a lot of time at that beach. We would swim and enjoy the first ice cream of the summer there. It is still an amazing place. There is something Japanese about it, the purest form of simplicity: the only things you see is the sea, the horizon, sand and pine trees. Here and there seagrass in shades of green, clay and straw. The Maa print exudes a memory of Yyteri beach. The print has been varied and used in different textiles: pillows, sheets and on the hem of a unique evening dress. There is a beautiful simplicity to it, just like Yyteri.â€? FA S H I O N D E S I G N E R J U K K A R I N TA L A
3 x key pieces
Close to you
Andiata Gerri shirt, 139 €.
T h e b usiness ad v ice
I w ou l d h a v e needed
Dare to think differently
Voglia Jade trousers, 109 €.
Dixi Coat Becca trench coat, 269 €.
C as h m ere k nit
l on g trenc h coat
stretc h j erse y trousers
alexander wa n g
Slim b utton - u p s h irt
Bypias Cashmere jumper, 139 €.
“ I A M N OT A PA R T Y P E R S O N AT A L L
but I had a feeling in the 1990s that people were craving for glamour and fun. I started making tulle skirts and received great feedback. I still listen to the consumers. We sell leather jackets mostly because they are combined with the tulle skirts in the window. Unexpected combinations attract people’s attention.” J A A N A V A R K K I -T E R H O / M U OT I KU U
Flatbed printing is a technique where the colour is printed through a thin screen cloth stretched to a metallic frame. Each colour has its own frame. Kuunsäde is a fabric from the spring 2017 collection. It was designed by Sanna Annukka.
M A R I M E KK O P R I N T S A N N U A LLY O V E R A M I LL I O N M E T R E S O F F A B R I C . WH A T M A K E S T H E F A B R I C U N I Q U E I S :
The personal touch the colours would often bleed into one another within the pattern. The overlap of colours is especially visible in the more vibrant versions of the Piccolo fabric used for the Jokapoika shirts. Marimekko has two printing machines at the factory in Herttoniemi, eastern Helsinki. The rotary printing machine, renewed in 2011, and the flatbed printing machine, renewed in 2004, print the colours exactly where you want them. However, the overlap and subsequent mixing of colours became an essential part of the Marimekko imagery inspiring many of the current designers to include the occasional flaw in their patterns. This homage to Marimekko’s printing history can be found, for example, in Maija Louekari’s Siirtolapuutarha fabric. I N T H E O L D E N D AYS W H E N M A R I M E K KO ’ S FA B R I C S W E R E P R I N T E D B Y H A N D ,
DREAM IN BLUE LO C A L P R O D U C T S A N D N AT U R A L M AT E R I A L S A D D A TO U C H O F LU X U R Y TO YO U R B E D R O O M .
1 – b a l m uir La u s a n n e c a s h m e r e r o b e , 47 6 e . 2 – v m – car p et Va l o k ki w o o l r u g , d e s i g n J a n i n e R e w e l l ( 1 6 0 x 2 3 0 c m ) , 3 9 9 e . 3 – g au h ar h e a d b o a r d , l i n e n , 6 9 0 e . 4 – l enno l T h e o l a m p , 6 9, 5 0 e . 5 – saana j a o l l i j u t e r u g ( 1 40 x 2 0 0 c m ) , 1 42 e . 6 – fa m i l on E x t r a l i f e d u v e t , s p i r a l c r i m p f i b r e f i l l i n g , 7 2 , 9 0 e . 7 – uni v isio A n t i- a l l e r g y p i l l o w ( 5 0 x 6 0 c m ) , c o tt o n , 24,90 e. 8 – j o h anna g u l l ic h sen D o r i s p i l l o w c a s e (40 x 40 c m ) , c o t t o n , 6 5 e . 9 – f in l ay son La i n e c o tt o n b e d s p r e a d , 1 1 9, 9 0 e .
fas h ion , l i f est y l e & b usiness
â€œYou need to have the attitude that anything is possible.â€? p. 4 7
Hallelujah! N OT O N LY A R E T H E Y B OT H S U C C E S S F U L A N D O U T S P O K E N , F I N L AY S O N ’ S J U K K A K U R T T I L A A N D VA R U S T E L E K A’ S VA LT T E R I L I N D H O L M A L S O H AV E I N C O M M O N T H E FA C T T H AT T H E Y B E L I E V E I N G O O D D E E D S B Y D O I N G B U S I N E S S . F O R T H E M T H AT ’ S T H E O N LY WAY O F B U I L D I N G A M O D E R N B R A N D .
Finlayson & Kurttila â€“
Advertising professional Jukka Kurttila and his partners bought Finlayson, a textile company that had a long record of losses, in the summer 2014. What appeared to be an old and tired company was given a new lease on life, and then some: last year the turnover was 35 million euros with a profit of 2,2 million euros.
Varusteleka & Lindholm â€“
Valtteri Lindholm founded Varusteleka as a side project during his studies in 2003. The company sells military textiles and outdoor gear. At first, Lindholm ran the company from home while studying to become a Finnish teacher. Now the company has a turnover of almost 10 million euros.
Jukka: â€œWith no rebellion, the field of design will become lifeless. The mission of design is to improve the lives of people and, of course, make it more beautiful. The design of the 50s and 60s was particularly interesting because they were really trying to change the world.â€?
near downtown Helsinki, Jukka Kurttila straightens his jacket as he sits down in the empty conference room. Valtteri Lindholm positions himself at the end of the table, relaxing with one leg crossed over the other and leaning his tattooed arms on his legs. The men have never met before. Of course, they know of each other, both being perceived as loud and boisterous. Both known to be provocative (or, as the Finnish saying goes: they have let frogs out of their mouths). Most of all they have been industrious: Finlayson came up with the idea of Tom of Finland textiles celebrating homoerotic imagery and bought the cover of Finland’s largest subscription newspaper to feature an anti-racism message. The company has done recycling campaigns and created the Jesus duvet cover inspired by the Shroud of Turin. The cover has a 50-year warranty. All the endeavours and antics have gotten huge amounts of media attention – some have really angered people. Varusteleka, on the other hand, is on a constant crusade for honesty and the average joe. The company is open in describing their products and tell honestly on their website if a product is bad. And, they do it in a way nobody has done it before in the world of marketing. Their use of language is similar to that outrageous guy at school whose mind was in the gutter. Occasionally they have gone too far: the Council of Ethics in Advertising has twice issued a notice for advertising a beret calling it the genocide beret. Today the men are here to talk about modern ways of building a brand. But first, let’s make them compliment each other. N SALMISAARI,
products we have given as Christmas presents to our personnel at Varusteleka, tells you something. We gave everyone the Tom of Finland sheets. It was absolutely tremendous that someone had the guts to do that. For me, it’s vital that you are one of the good guys. Being like Switzerland is not enough. It’s no small feat to have the courage to live today and take a stand for fairness and freedom. Even though taking a stand and getting involved might be overwhelming and might backfire on you, it is also the way of the future. Especially for my generation certain values absolutely go without saying. And it’s our generation that will soon be in charge, and old farts die. It will be difficult to be part of the old world and hold old-fashioned views then.” J U K K A : “The era that a company could exist in a bubble is over. Information moves so quickly. People wanting to find out about the values of companies, it’s a new thing. Business is becoming more transparent and the wrongdoings of companies will be exposed. It’s worth getting a head start now before something goes wrong.” V A L T T E R I : We live in abundance of material possessions. We don’t need that anymore. People nowadays crave for intellectual, spiritual abundance. They crave for a clear conscience. J U K K A : “Their closets are getting crammed. It’s difficult to sell more stuff there. Things need to have a meaning.”
Things NEED TO HAVE a meaning.
Be more than Switzerland
J U K K A : “Varusteleka has been clever in having accomplished a lot with small amounts of money. I’ve always been like that, too. I don’t want to do big, expensive campaigns but rather something that comes from deep inside, something from the soul. What you do is real, genuine. You have been able to reach and influence people with clever manoeuvres.” V A L T T E R I : “The fact alone that Finlayson is the only company in their business sector whose
Substitute phrases with principles
J U K K A : I have worked in marketing for 25 years and I have come up with brilliant brands for shitty companies, so to speak. Creating illusions, more or less. Finlayson, on the other hand, had actual history dating back 200 years. That was amazing. We went back in 1836 and found the genuine meaning behind this company. When Finlayson really started growing they set out to realise corporate responsibility deeds. The company started taking care of both their employees as well the area of the city of Tampere. We had to rethink what responsibility could be today. That’s where the courage came from. To be interested in the world and life. Those are the values we have had to live with. That has led to
the company becoming something quite different than what it was before. For some reason I don’t consider this as branding. Maybe it’s the baggage I have from the past, and then there is something about the word brand that bothers me. This is more about having guiding principles.” V A L T T E R I : “What we do is not in the least creating a brand. For a long time the words brand and product were dirty to me. Especially in my twenties, I believed that if you go into sales you sort of accept putting your morality aside. When a normal person goes into the world of marketing, the person changes their language and starts using certain phrases. In marketing you use superlatives and all sorts of positive adjectives like there’s no tomorrow, letting the true meaning of words get diluted. Because that is what is expected. Creative sales pitch is a really difficult form of art. It took me years to get it to a level where I’m good at it. But from the beginning, I had the idea of doing things differently. At first, I didn’t even have the money for proper facilities or a digital camera. But I did have a lot of stuff written down. I hired only storage workers for the first five years. One of them became the CEO, one of them became the photographer and one began writing for us. Our company grew from zero to five millions without hiring experts. We just hired somebody and if that person happened to be good at something, they started doing that. Nowadays we talk about a brand. We have reached a point where we need to keep a firm hold on the reins otherwise things won’t work. But we are lucky that during the anarchy phase our brand managed to become strong, truly strong.”
For the first time since 1907 Finlayson has the owners working in the company. And we really are the ones who make the decisions. We developed our value process in an unfashionable manner, by establishing it ourselves. But, then again, our approach to values is different. We have been thinking about the position of companies and from there we have proceeded to think about how we see Finland, the world and life, the humanity. We clearly have the same vibe deep down as Varusteleka. I have this childish dream that I would like to leave Finland in a better state when I retire. It’s not nice to be one of those guys who destroyed the world and did bad things.” V A L T T E R I : “It is possible. The material abundance is something that we have enough of, you and I. You can have other goals in life than making millions.” J U K K A : “That’s exactly it. To want the world to be a better place is no way contradictory to the growth of the company. I am not an eco-hippie who does yoga and hopes for a better world sitting in some smoky room. I want to do that with my actions, using the company. First and foremost, the company exists to make profit. It’s the financial bottom line that makes it possible to dream. You can start realising your wild ideas. If you are constantly on the edge, it would not be possible. Dreaming comes with financial security.”
Why ARE YOU so boring?
Shine at the bar
J U K K A : “Companies that genuinely succeed want to be different from the rest. Sometimes that resonates with the consumer. If I, for some reason, were looking for a girlfriend I would not go to a bar to find a girl who is just like all the other girls. Instead, I would look for a girl who somehow appeals to me and is somehow shining, radiating and different. The same goes with companies and products.
Hire a fear consultant
J U K K A : “If I were to make decisions based on the mail I receive, I would stop doing anything new. It would not make sense to do the Tom thing or the Jesus sheets or help refugees because the messages I receive are filled with hate. But I can see all the love as quiet loving individuals come to our stores and buy our products, buy them much more than ever before. I have sometimes suggested that Finland should hire fear consultants. They would tour and visit companies which have the ability and opportunity to make a difference. The fear consultants would analyse why are you so boring. Have you ever thought of how you could become different and interesting and growing. The fear consultants would disarm the objections. Illusions created by the imagination are at the
moment the biggest obstacles between Finnish companies and success. Not the facts.” V A L T T E R I : “We are a fairly small country but, still, we have quite a few success stories if you compare to, say, Germany. The other thing with Finland is that we have been part of the international community only for a while. We were quite happy out here in the sticks. There was a clear border between countries and our products were popular in the Soviet Union. Companies had to quickly overcome the awful change. Suddenly we were both facing competition from abroad and also having the opportunity to expand.” J U K K A : “Finnish brands should collaborate more. I hope a drastic shift in thinking would occur and we would look for growth abroad, not necessarily here. Maybe then we would learn to do stuff together. What if you just concentrated on doing things like the start-ups do? You would make a pitch presentation for potential contributors to be able to reach bigger sales. And go for wider target groups straight away. Swedes are really good at democratising design. They go directly for the entire world.”
V A L T T E R I : “But we are comparable to sports design. It could be sold using a more straightforward language. The textile industry in general could adopt our approach. There’s no need to use such unabashed cut the bullshit style but they could preserve the honesty and straightforwardness.” J U K K A : “I don’t want to underestimate men but there is a big difference there. Men perhaps go for that kind of straightforward language. Whereas Finlayson’s target group is women. I’m not even interested in the opinion of men, we are simply dragged along when it comes to interior design. Women are more developed intellectually and go more for metaphors and figures of speech. I find it hard to imagine us selling flower patterns saying here is a narcissus, fucking take it or leave it.”
We were QUITE HAPPY HERE in the sticks.
Talk like person to person
V A L T T E R I : “We have not had external finan cing. For us it has been important to do our own selling and use our own distribution channels. When you do the selling, you understand what it is you are selling and you also understand how to do the selling. We have a strong presence in social media because we talk to people the way they talk. We function like a blogger without the commercial undertone. We have developed a use of language that gets under the skin. And, of course, it is extremely important to be honest. If we are selling shit, we are upfront about it. That we ended up with shit, this is what it costs, why don’t you go ahead and buy it. And then people do. This has resulted in people trusting our word. We don’t need critics or outside auditors.” J U K K A : ”That cut the bullshit tone goes really well in your world. The elaborate pretty language of design towels and all that crap would not fit there. That would be linking two totally wrong worlds.”
Export values and deeds
J U K K A : “When you are abroad, you see what’s left when everything is taken away. Clearly it’s the history and values. And, in particular, it’s bravery and responsibility. That’s what makes us interesting. There are, of course, other old companies. But not any that are as bold as we are in this industry.” V A L T T E R I : “Our brand is so strong in Finland that we simply need to say hi. But abroad it takes people two months to decide whether to buy something from those guys. If people have not internalised the brand, that’s when things get tricky. And it does not work that you just condense the brand into three sentences.” J U K K A : “It needs to be through action, not proclamation. It’s like handing out flyers while hanging at the bar. Hey look, this is me. Instead of taking the initiative and trying to pick up the chick.” V A L T T E R I : “Our breakthrough in the States happened when we got vloggers to do videos about us. That’s how people realised what we are about. It’s important to find the right people out there in the world, people who get what you are all about. If there is something I’ve modelled the company after, it’s Ikea. They know how to talk to customers, how to present the products online, how you create needs and then fill them.” J U K K A : “I have deliberately avoided any benchmarking. I have not looked who is there by my side or who’s behind me. The only person I
admire is Minna Canth. She managed to combine business and charity. And write plays.” V A L T T E R I : “That’s what’s cool in business. If you don’t want to make millions in profit, you make value stuff. Business offers shitloads of resources for that.”
The men get up nodding each other. Lindholm puts on a fur hat and a coat made of rough wool fabric and steps out. Kurttila heads to another conference room. Maybe they will be deciding on a new endeavour. Something that might blow up in their faces. Nevertheless, it's a risk worth taking. Fab
Valtteri: “Varusteleka began as an import company. We buy the finished product from abroad, add value to it, and sell it back abroad. It’s not difficult. We Finns are smart.” Today Varusteleka produces also its own products, some of which are manufactured by Finnish textile companies.
OH f renn
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Men and children represent constantly growing target groups for the clothing industry. The demand has given rise to new Finnish labels.
k i vat
NUMBERS DON’T LIE.
According to Euromonitor estimates, the global retail value of the childrenswear market in 2010 was around 122,1 billion euros. In 2015 that number had risen to 135,6 billion euros. Even though children’s clothing was only 12 percent of the overall clothing industry, childrenswear grew 6 percent in 2015. Also the menswear market is on the rise. According to the CEO of Turo, Janne Antikainen, men’s fashion sector has been growing three years in a row and the growth is expected to continue till 2020. And then there is this: There has been a significant increase in menswear and childrenswear labels. Interviewed by Business of Fashion, a former journalist of Junior Magazine estimated that if twenty years ago there were around 60 childrenswear labels, nowadays that figure is around 600. Those days when men did not buy clothes that much are now behind us. As are the days when children wore mainly hand-me-down overalls from relatives. What happened?
GROWING TA R G E T G R O U P
MEN D E PA R T I N G F R O M D R E S S C O D E S
a company known for men’s suits, underwent a change. If the old image of the brand was black and grey stuffy rows of suits in the back of the department store, today’s shop-in-shops exude a fresh and luxurious atmosphere: natural colours and light wood, blueand-grey wall-to-wall carpets and black Alvar Aalto lamps. The new image was designed by the best in their business: architecture and design office Poiat together with Ahonen & Lamberg, a Finnish graphic design studio based in Paris. Fashion photographer Osma Harvilahti made the men in Turo’s catalogue look like modern versions of Don Draper from the Mad Men. Surely that was the intention: Turo wanted to continue being synonymous with suits for the Finnish consumers, while also attracting the Pitti Uomo types interested in international men’s fashion weeks. “We trusted there would be a positive outcome but to have such a huge increase was something we did not expect”, says Turo’s CEO Janne Antikainen. After the modernisation, Turo’s sales grew ten percent in Finland. The flagship store on Keskuskatu, central Helsinki, doubled its sales and the turnover of the company almost tripled.
A U T U M N 2 0 1 5 WA S W H E N T U R O ,
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influencing the growth of men’s fashion was, according to some, that dress codes for men became more relaxed. “When gradually, in 1990s, you were no longer expected to wear a suit for work, men had to figure out what to wear”, says Janne Antikainen. Smart casual replaced the suits which, depending on the work place, meant anything from baggy jeans to a button-up shirt and chinos. Suddenly
A SIGNIFICANT REASON
M AT E X
vae l l a
30-year-olds said they are relatively interested in fashion. 17 percent of the 60-year-olds gave that same answer. labels have appeared as an answer to the growing interest. Latest arrivals offer relaxed sophistication and tailored Scandinavian style (FRENN), simplistic Scandinavian clothes with a twist (Vaella) and stylish, yet functional clothing from quality materials like merino wool (Formal Friday). Makia has been doing stylish easy-to-wear clothes since the beginning of 2000s. Their apparel stands the test of time and is suitable for the northern weather. The more traditional hiking brand, Sasta, has also been discovered by the urbanites. All new brands have their own webstores being able to reach men interested in clothes also outside the Finnish borders. At Turo, there was a firm belief in the modernisation of the brand while combining the new with the old, the online with the brick-and-mortar. “It’s difficult to buy a suit online if you are not familiar with different suit models. Consumers are happy to go online to get to know the different types of suits and then visit our stores to try them on”, says Janne Antikainen. “Interest in clothing and appearance in general is part of a growing trend. People exercise, eat healthy and dress well.” That’s here to stay.
NEW FINNISH MENSWEAR
there was so much choice. What you wear has become a means of showing off at work: to succeed you need know how to dress for the occasion and, ideally, to dress sharp. “This might be stressful for the older generation”, states Antikainen. Jani Niipola, a journalist specialised in men’s fashion, says that in other parts of Europe, from Sweden to Italy, clothes have always been considered as a part of your personal expression. “Perhaps here in Finland we are now starting to get on board with that idea. Men’s fashion is at least being talked about more, be it in social media or traditional media”, Niipola says. I N M A R C H 2015 The New York Times declared the days of accusing men of dressing badly over, since young men are eager to pick up influences from stylish celebrities. Jani Niipola recognises that the same change, even if in a slower pace, is happening in Finland. “Especially young men are getting into fashion in growing numbers. All in all, they are becoming much more interested in clothes and expressing themselves.” According to Niipola there are also other signs of change. For example, the arrival of several international fashion chains in Finland, Finnish clothes stores increasing their selections, let alone all the online shops. In addition, trendsetters and phenomena from the world of sports and popular culture blend. Influences trickle into fashion making it more easily attainable and approachable. A consumer survey conducted by Turo supports Niipola’s observations. Turo conducted the study in connection with the brand modernisation. According to the study, 54 percent of under
” E S P E C I A L LY YO U N G M E N A R E G E T T I N G I N TO FA S H I O N .”
f or m a l f riday
GROWING TA R G E T G R O U P
g u g g uu
CHILDREN L I T T L E R E P R E S E N TAT I V E S O F T H E I R PA R E N T S
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big fashion houses foresaw a new business opportunity. Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney, Lanvin, Gucci, Fendi and Dolce & Gabbana launched their first childrenswear collections. At the same time in Finland, at the Wetterhoff University of Applied Sciences, a student had an idea. Anna Kurkela had had enough of unethical, boring clothes that did not withstand the normal wear and tear. She decided to design a graphic unisex collection for children with focus on ecological and ethical manufacturing. Kurkela launched the first collection of the Papu label in 2012. A couple of blog posts helped in reaching customers and soon the collection was sold out. The Papu brand, from the town of Nokia in central Finland, has experienced fast growth. This year the company is expecting a turnover of 2,5 million euros. Since last summer Papu has been looking in potential Asian and American markets with the help of Finpro, an organisation helping Finnish companies enter the international market. The Asia-Pasific region is a rapidly growing market for childrenâ€™s clothing due to vast population and the eager consumption by the wealthy middle classes.
TEN YEARS AGO
F I N L A N D H A S A LO N G T R A D I T I O N in high-quality childrenswear. The biggest success story is Reima, established in 1944, with a turn-
rus k o v i l l a
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When children grow up they know to demand certain clothes and brands. And since increasingly younger children have mobile phones and Instagram accounts, they learn which shirt gets the most likes before even reaching teenage.
over that is expected to exceed 100 million euros this year. Outerwear companies such as Travalle and Agtuvi, with its label Kivat, were established over 40 years ago. Ruskovilla is as trusted now as it was in the 1980s. The new childrenswear boom in the 2000s resulted not only in Papu, but also in other funny-sounding labels like Gugguu, Vimma, Mainio and Aarrekid. Their clothes are sold and sought after in Facebook sales groups and in different events just as much as international brands. ”Mothers today see their children as extensions of themselves. Many labels have succeeded with the mini me trend by offering the same clothes for adults as well as the children”, says stylist and fashion journalist Emilia Laitanen. She is now also becoming an entrepreneur in childrenswear. Her Wildkind Kids collection will be launched in summer 2017. a hobby for mothers and even a way of socialising. You are in the same phase in life, like similar clothes and share values. Nowadays people become parents at an older age often meaning that they are able to invest more in clothes. For example, the Minna Parikka hit product, bunny sneakers called All Ears, cost between 145 and 245 euros. Annamari Vänskä, Professor of Fashion Research at Aalto University, says that a child is like a shop window representing the parents. “Through their child the parents exhibit their ability to care, their parenting skills and the values the family upholds.” For example, ethical and ecological values can be signalled with the clothes the child wears.
I N C R E A S E I N O N L I N E S H O P P I N G has made it possible for smaller labels to get started with just selling through Facebook. Images of children wearing fun clothes spread online which means manufacturers can market their products without having to reach for their pockets. “Without social media there would be no Papu”, says the CEO Jussi Kurkela. Childrenswear is easier to sell online unlike womenswear because trying the clothes on is not necessarily an issue. “Most of our clients are abroad. It’s worth keeping in mind that just in Tokyo there are 13 million people”, Kurkela reminds. Despite things looking good for Papu, one of the obstacles in terms of growth, is access to finance. “For our company to take the next step we would need hundreds of thousands of euros. We haven’t found enthusiastic investors in Finland.” Papu has solved the issue by looking into Sweden to find partners. Sweden has a better grasp on recognising the potential in this business sector. Fab
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“ PA R E N T S E X H I B I T T H E I R VA LU E S T H R O U G H T H E I R C H I L D .”
C H I L D R E N ’ S C LOT H I N G H A S B E C O M E
z a l e k ua
HOLD THE LINE H I G H - Q U A L I T Y M AT E R I A L S , S I M P L I C I T Y, U N I S E X C LOT H I N G A N D P R A C T I C A L I T Y. T H I S I S T H E N E W F I N N I S H LU X U R Y.
Tr o u s e r s a n d blazer
A ndiata . Silk knitwear top
R us k o v i l l a . Ruskovilla is famous for high-quality wool clothing manufactured in Finland.
Anna Ruohonen designs clothes that are sculptural, carefully thought through and simple. AR by Anna R u o h o n e n r e a d yto-wear collection is made entirely in Finland.
Cardigan worn back to front
A nna R uo h onen . Tr o u s e r s S a m u j i .
Mari m e k k o . T er h i P รถ l k k i .
Marimekko opened 14 new shops last ye a r, 11 o f w h i c h in the Asia-Pacific r e g i o n . Th e c o m p a n y m a d e a p r o f i t o f 6,1 million euros.
A re l a .
Nanso unveiled its ex t e n s i v e b r a n d a n d c o l l e c t i o n r e n ova t i o n i n A u t u m n 2 0 1 6. The new collections are harmonious, cool and balanced.
T uro . S h i r t N anso . S ki r t Jus l in Maunu l a . S a n d a l s S a m u j i .
Mari m e k k o . A ndiata .
Tr o u s e r s
A n d i a t a , a 3 0 -ye a r - o l d company successfully l e a d b y Ta r j a R a n t a n e n , releases six collections p e r ye a r. T h e y m a i n t a i n t h e s a m e o ve r a l l aesthetic throughout t h e ye a r s : i n t e r n a t i o n a l , ageless and timeless.
China has become a significant retail distributor for H a l t i . Th e p r e m i u m brand has had to raise prices: a Halti jacket costing less than 600 euros does not sell.
R it va Fa l l a . C o a t S a m u j i . Mari m e k k o . J o g g i n g b e l t Ha lti .
Li n e n s h i r t w o r n b a c k t o f r o n t , Tr o u s e r s
Joutsen manufactures silk duvets for the Japanese m a r k e t . Th e d u v e t s h av e e i d e r d ow n f i l l i n g a n d c o s t b e t we e n 1 0 0 0 0 a n d 2 0 0 0 0 e u r o s . Th e d ow n i s collected by picking it from around the deserted nests after the nesting season.
Joutsen . Ma k ia . S n e a ke r s Kar h u .
Down duvet Shirt
YOUNG AND POWERFUL
A newly graduated rookie can do things outside the box. These three designers are perfect examples of that skill. Fab
T THE NANSO GROUP OFFICES,
near central Helsinki, two women are hugging each other. Head of Design Noora Niinikoski welcomes Reeta Ek. The two walk through an open-space office towards Niinikoski’s work station. The contents of Ek’s black Fjällräven Kånken backpack are about to be revealed. The duo began working together at Marimekko where Niinikoski used to be the head of design and whose drawing studio Ek, student of textile and surface design, joined as a trainee. “I fell in love with her style immediately. It’s fresh, clean-cut and contemporary.” What started as a traineeship turned into a real job. Then Niinikoski went to work for Nanso. She realised Reeta has the style that epitomises
the direction in which Niinikoski wanted to lead Nanso. Ek became one of Nanso’s freelance designers. Niinikoski appreciates Reeta’s way of sketching by hand first. “Sometimes, when you design using the computer from the start, the result can lack warmth. There is harmony and elegance to Reeta’s prints combined with tiny anomalies and a solid signature style. It is that imperfection that makes them interesting.” Take Reeta’s pattern, Lukko, for example. The process behind it involved using a piece of cardboard as a printing block. As the cardboard got wet, the sharp pattern disappeared and one of the shapes turned into an ink stain. The famous cherry on top.
Reeta Ek, 38 FREELANCE PRINT DESIGNER, NANSO
Ek sketches by drawing, painting, scratching and cutting, sometimes luck plays a part.
R E E TA E K G R E W U P I N A N A R C H I T E C T H O M E
that had no ornaments or vibrant colours. Beauty meant minimalism. When Ek graduated with a degree in Fine Arts she was yearning for colours and patterns, fell head over heels for rococo and the visual abundance of old wallpapers. She wanted to know how to design patterns like that. Ek decided to continue her studies and entered the Aalto University Textile Art and Design programme. “As years went by I returned to the minimalism of my childhood and found the courage to simplify things. It was not easy.” The cooperation that began at Marimekko evolved into Niinikoski becoming Reeta Ek’s thesis supervisor. The topic was creative sketch process. As Ek studied the creative process she turned it into a portfolio. Many of those sketches later ended up as Nanso patterns. The thesis developed and honed Ek’s style – the style Niinikoski recognised as the future direction of Nanso. Prints are the essence of the Nanso brand. They are constantly in demand. Around 60 new patterns are needed per year. This includes prints chosen from the archives to be updated. “Reeta’s patterns are both contemporary as well as ageless”, Niinikoski sums up. “They echo elegance and peaceful aesthetics of the North.”
R E E TA E K O P E N S H E R B L A C K B A C K PA C K and digs out A4 sheets filled with graphic patterns and motifs painted using black acrylic paint and ink. “I usually use black colour as it is easier to scan.” Today is the day for choosing which sketches will be developed further. During the next meeting the sketches will be scaled to different sizes and printed to paper. The papers are then examined and studied carefully from various distances to determine a suitable print size for a garment fabric. “Sometimes a pattern can be a bit busy or overpowering. Even the smallest of changes can make a difference. Increasing the size by 150 percent may not work but then 160 percent might make for a perfect pattern.” Ek draws the elements in the sketches by hand. She then continues the work on the computer. She personally adds the finishing touches on the pattern models. You need to be able to do the final technical phase to achieve a certain kind of outcome. “I am proud of knowing how to also do the final phase. As a freelance designer I need to have the ability to sell the finished product.”
in textile design for a Finnish company with long traditions. Nanso was founded in 1921. The company started out by manufacturing thermal underwear and later it became famous for its colourful jersey T-shirts and night apparel. Often when people think of Nanso they think of the Paulankukka pattern which was updated by Paola Suhonen. “I’m happy to be a part of spearheading the modernisation of Nanso. My prints fit right in.” E K I S H A P P Y TO B E A B L E TO W O R K
“When you plan too much, you smother creativity a ffecting the outcome.” Fab
Previous page: Reeta Ek tries on the print sketch to see how it would work as a piece of clothing. The Britta pattern was taken into production and a tunic dress featuring the pattern is in shops now.
Nanso’s offices also have a showroom providing an opportunity for the buyers to see the clothes and feel the fabric. Britta, Kampa, Pino, Pilkahdus, Sumppu, Raesokeri and Lukko – patterns Ek has designed – are hanging from the racks in the form of tops, dresses, tunics, trousers and scarves. N I I N I K O S K I I S H A P P Y that Ek’s prints enable effortless creation of combinations. That is what she wants to sell. In addition to patterned clothes, Nanso manufactures also solid colour clothes. The material is no longer limited to jersey. There are now also woven fabrics, denim and knitwear. “I want the buyer to be able to see both the separate pieces as well as the collection as coherent whole, as something they can order and hang on the racks”, Niinikoski elaborates on her vision. The designer can concentrate on designing the patterns whereas head of design focuses on the bigger picture and the end-user. Reeta Ek confesses, however, that she purposefully does not think about Nanso or a specific target group buying the clothes. “When you plan too much, you smother creativity affecting the outcome. I trust that some of Nanso’s brand identity is instilled in my
subconscious helping the process.” Ek designs also for other brands, makes art posters and works as a graphic designer. the world of fashion has its own concept of time. It differs from that of the average consumer. Nanso is now shooting the delicious spring 2018 collection. What follows in autumn that same year pops up now on Niinikoski’s computer. “If this doesn’t sell, then nothing will”, Niinikoski states with a twinkle in her eye pointing at one of Ek’s latest designs. Ek has been productive. Today she has no less than 20 new prints to offer Nanso. The amazing thing is that Niinikoski is happy with pretty much each of them. “Quality products last if the print stands the test of time. We hope these still feel good in ten years’ time.” Ek slips the sketches in the Swedish backpack created in the 1970s and now worn by every savvy well-informed urbanite. What will be Nanso’s equivalent of the Kånken backpack? Would that be the Kampa print? Or perhaps it is one of the twenty prints we are yet to see? IT IS WELL KNOWN
Lilli Norio, 30
HEAD OF DESIGN, R- COLLECTION
L I L L I N O R I O S TA R T E D H E R C A R E E R as a sales assistant at R-Collection but had already been designing stage costumes for popstars Antti Tuisku and Saara Aalto for three years. When management heard that they have a designer working as a sales assistant, she was invited to the company headquarters in Kajaani, central Finland. “It was quite extraordinary to see the facility where pattern-making and sewing takes place.”
A vision started to form in the designer’s mind about the direction in which to take the company’s visual identity. Norio started working with Olli, the son of the owners of the company. They knew each other from school and they started to plan the brand makeover. During the process their friendship turned into love. “It was like we were meant to be.” Yet, working was not always easy. Olli’s parents – Pekka and Marjo Saastamoinen, owners of the company – were used to doing everything themselves. Norio’s opinion was asked but the CEO proceeded to do what he thought best. The situation called for a firm stance and an unflinching attitude. “Every now and then I would find myself contemplating being 30 years old and having worked as a designer only at this company. Am I up to this?” The staff also needed to be brought up to speed to get them behind the new vision. Most of them had been working for the company for 20-30 years, and old habits die hard. The young duo saw that the only way to boost growth was to take a step towards foreign markets. Taking the business into new international markets meant a change in all operations as well as in the everyday routines. One such change was conducting invoicing in English. Co-determination negotiations had to be undergone also. “Little by little, confidence in our vision grew.” The young couple took R-Collection for the first time abroad to participate in trade fairs. Now the company has an agent and nine stockists in Germany. The store in central Helsinki was relocated to an easily accessible and more visible location. A showroom was set up for the Japanese and Korean buyers to get to see the collections comfortably and effortlessly. Some products were updated and new ones were designed. The famous R-Collection anorak provided an inspiration for another anorak. A longer, slimmer version provides a more urban counterpart for the classic model. What can we expect from R-Collection in the future? “The sportswear scene is huge globally and people tend to use high-tech performance materials in day-to-day life. We are interested in experimenting with a new material.”
Taking the business into new international markets meant a change in all operations.
Lilli Norio graduated from the University of Lapland with a Master of Arts degree before starting to work at R-Collection.
Rolf Ekroth, 35 FREELANCE DESIGNER, TO U C H P O I N T, S T U D E N T O F A A LTO U N I V E R S I T Y
N OT K N O W A N Y T H I N G A B O U T W O R KW E A R
when I first started here”, says Rolf Ekroth gesturing around at the Touchpoint offices in Lauttasaari, near central Helsinki. If there was something he really knew about, it was fashion design. He was chosen as the Young Designer of the Year, he snapped up the Designers’ Nest Award in Copenhagen and was one of the finalists chosen to participate in the famous Hyères fashion competition. Galeries Lafayette Haussmann will start selling Ekroth’s unisex rainwear line in September 2017. Touchpoint wants to give young designers an opportunity to acquaint themselves with the business and get the hands-on experience. They believe that the “anything is possible” attitude of the young designers benefits the company, too. “I hope other entrepreneurs would also realise that Aalto University is filled with supertalented people who clean toilets to be able to finance their artistic projects”, Ekroth says. The designer’s own experience in terms of work clothing comes from the time he worked as a croupier at the Helsinki Casino in his twenties. “You were given 2-3 non-breathable shirts that you were supposed to take to the cleaners. There were times when I wore the same shirt all week.” Now Ekroth plans to interview Hesburger employees to get a feel of their thoughts and take that into the designing process. He wants them to be able to wear their outfits with pride. Ekroth got a nice surprise working at Touchpoint. The fabric he was given to work with was made from recycled material. He took it over to his fellow students in Aalto so that they could feel the material. “My friends could not believe it was made using recycled plastic bottles. This has the same breathability as any high-performance sportswear fabric.” In average, seven plastic bottles are used in manufacturing one short-sleeved shirt. The cleaning and maintenance company Sol along with Hesburger have together already used more than 300 000 bottles for their workwear. Fab
“My friends could not believe the fabric was made using recycled plastic bottles.”
Rolf Ekroth sees no reason why employees of a hamburger chain could not have smart, high-quality uniforms. “What the person serving you food is wearing has direct impact on your perception of the food.”
Elina Björklund has been the CEO of Finland’s largest childrenswear brand since 2012. In the last five years the company has grown almost 20 %.
W H AT D O T H E F I N N I S H T E X T I L E A N D
FA S H I O N C O M PA N I E S N E E D I N O R D E R TO S U C C E E D ? E L I N A B J Ö R K LU N D , C E O O F R E I M A , A N D P E K K A M AT T I L A , P R O F E S S O R AT A A LTO U N I V E R S I T Y, MADE A LIST OF THE COMP ONENTS.
Professor Pekka Mattila is the CEO of Aalto University Executive Education, a trainer, an advisor and a writer.
YOU NEE D
Yes we can
“ YO U N E E D TO H AV E the attitude that anything is possible. You can study to achieve competence but it’s different with attitude. I believe you can learn attitude but many have the natural propensity that they are either a positive or a negative person.”
NO I CAN'T “It is important to be able to say that there are things in the company you don’t know best.”
OUT OF THE B OX –
“ D O N ’ T B E A F R A I D O F FA I LU R E B U T R AT H E R T H I N K A B O U T THE POSSIBILITIES OUTSIDE THE BOX . THERE IS NO USE I N M A K I N G S O M E T H I N G E V E R YO N E E L S E D O E S , TO O .”
1 700 000
ATTITUDE TURNS INTO MONEY
business operators lack the ability and willingness to take chances. Everything is lukewarm. When you need to market, you put 17 000 euros in it when 1,7 million euros would be closer to truth. One of the sums creates a change, the other one doesn’t.”
“A N E N T R E P R E N E U R W I T H A D R I V E
“A L L TO O O F T E N
and a certain kind of madness appeals to investors. I wouldn’t give a penny to a crybaby. It’s important in terms of success to boldly go for external financing and to bring outside investors in the business. The best entrepreneurs are those who are a bit mad but good with numbers.”
Place the customer at the centre DO SOMETHING SPECIAL
“The best way to find your own niche is to think about the need that your product fills. For example, Diane von Furstenberg became known for her wrap dresses that are comfortable, adapt if the c lient’s weight fluctuates, are easy to iron and are classic enough. Often the breakthrough ideas are like this: there is some basic need and there is a product that fills the need aesthetically.” Fab
“ YO U H AV E TO B E so serious about your product that you think about it every day. The product is the foundation of everything. We think about children and how they spend time outdoors but we also think about the adult in terms of the purchasing experience and the maintenance experience. The customer must be at the centre of the thinking.”
“ U S U A L LY F O R A
it takes about ten years to get a footing in business market. But if your brand does something really special, it can happen a lot quicker.” NEW BRAND
ALL OR NOTHING
“THE MODERN CONSUMER
wants it all. The clothing item must look good, be functional and have a price that is reasonable. Clothes are a part of identity, the clothes a child wears are a part of the parents’ identity. That’s why we also have added some fashion elements to the products.”
OTHER FINNISH SUCCESS STORIES 1 – Marinetek “Does floating houses. Pioneer.”
2 – Lumon “Produces premium-quality terrace glass that everyone can use.”
The company gets a sense of the market: how to win the clients and the competition. The company manages the development of their product selection. The company ensures the products are in the right place at the right time. The company manages client acquisition and maintenance.
Check your 2 mechanisms 3
3 – Planmeca “The billion euros company is one of the leading producers of dental chairs and equipment.”
A S U C C E S S F U L C O M PA N Y NEEDS THESE MECHANISMS TO B E S P OT O N
With these mechanisms you aim for two objectives: that the client has the feeling of getting more than they paid for and that you fill the expectations of the owners.
Vision = “AT R E I M A everything is about making the children of the world move. Good vision is not about making 10 millions; it’s about touching someone’s heart. People want to attach themselves to genuine matters that are truly meaningful.”
Plan “ V I S I O N is nothing
without a plan that ensures things that are agreed upon get done. You must be able to change the plan but, all in all, you need a frame according to which you proceed.”
Execution “A C O M PA N Y needs people that get things done. Finding the right people is the most difficult thing. And the most essential. The brand, product and fortune will prosper only when you have the right people. Often good people seek out to do good things.”
“Finally, it’s about numbers that are managed by people. In the end, the numbers will tell you how you succeeded.”
PREREQUISITE FOR SUCCESS
Cross the borders
understand that if something is Finnish it’s not necessarily an asset. Finland is not as strong and famous as a brand as Sweden is. Sweden being the epitome of good taste, good-looking people and Abba. There is no use in shoehorning in the Finland brand with products that do not benefit from it. When it comes to functional products, Finland is a good addition.”
“ I T D O E S N OT M AT T E R W H E R E YO U F I N D
GET NEW PARTNERS “ I T ’ S I M P O R TA N T to know international business, of course. If I was thinking about setting up a company I would look for partners. Even though there are not that many investors that understand the international textile industry there is a vast number of people in Finland who have the experience in international business economics. You can look for partners, say, in the field of electronics.” Fab
You have to do the best in the world
YO U R A U D I E N C E A S LO N G A S YO U F I N D I T.”
fas h ion , l i f est y l e & b usiness
“It must be a matter of the heart even if it sounds like a cliché.” p. 6 0
BUSIN ESS BRA INIACS
l i f e l essons f ro m success f u l f inns
According to Vesa Luhtanen good customer relationship management skills are essential for growth. “Clients may be willing to take risks and commit to pre-orders when the company’s finances are in order and sales from previous season are good enough.”
“Trust the consumer” V E S A LU H TA N E N C E O , Lu h t a S p o r t s w e a r C o m p a n y
S P O R T S C LOT H I N G B R A N D I C E P E A K H A S B E C O M E A L E A D E R I N F I N L A N D ’ S C LOT H I N G E X P O R T. V E S A LU H TA N E N , C E O O F LU H TA S P O R T S W E A R C O M PA N Y, T E L L S U S W H AT I S B E H I N D T H E S U C C E S S S TO R Y.
Concentrate on certain products –
“ I N F I N L A N D LU H TA is more about fashion than sports. We went global by concentrating on certain product categories. We changed our name to Luhta Sportswear Company positioning ourselves in the sportswear business. Finland is not the Mecca of fashion which makes fashion export more difficult from here than from Paris. On the other hand, Finland’s weather conditions and seasons provide credibility in the sportswear business.”
Hire someone local –
“There is no path waiting for you. You need be the trailblazer. Local sales organisation is essential. When we decided to head to China we spend a long time searching for an experienced Chinese project leader who knows people and the local etiquette. I am a big believer in having sales people who operate where they grew up.”
Trust the consumer is smart –
“We want Icepeak to represent quality and youthfulness at an accessible price point. We offer clothes that could be more expensive. We trust that the consumer is smart and gets it, and buys a coat that costs 150 euros instead of 400 euros. It puts us in disadvantage if the consumer is thinking solely in terms of brand image.”
Rather too much than too little –
“The wider the market you are aiming for, the more multifaceted the collection needs to be. For Icepeak a season’s collection consists of around 1000 different pieces of clothing and accessories. For us it’s wiser to offer too much than produce a collection that lacks something.”
Let others do the innovating –
“Icepeak is in an easier position than companies that keep bringing something new to the market. We avoid coming up with products nobody has tried before. We need retailers to be aware and ready of a product. We have decided to let others do the innovative product development. It is up to us to commercialise those innovations as soon as commercial execution is possible.”
T H E T U R N OV E R O F LU H TA Sportswear Company was 241 million euros in 2015. Icepeak will go up this year reaching 135 million euros, out of which 115 million euros will be from export. In addition to Icepeak, the most famous brands of the Group are Luhta, Rukka, Torstai, Sinisalo, Your FACE and Ril’s.
“Believe in repetition” H A N N A R I I H E L Ä I N E N d e s i g n e r a n d f o u n d e r, R / H
A S M A L L FA S H I O N L A B E L W I L L F LO U R I S H W H E N I T R E F L E C T S T H E VA LU E S O F T H O S E W E A R I N G I T. H A N N A R I I H E L Ä I N E N F R O M R / H K N O W S T H I S . The expansion of R/H has gone hand in hand with sales. What used to be a company of two designers is nowadays a team effort of seven women.
Hanna Riiheläinen and Emilia Hernesniemi met during their studies at the Aalto University. They founded R/H in 2010. In 2016 the turnover was 700 000 euros.
“ P R O D U C T C O M E S F I R S T. If it doesn’t work, then, in the long run, nothing else matters. Since the beginning, our aim has been to analyse why a garment or a product works, or why something sells. We develop our operations also according to that. We spend a great deal of time thinking about the end-user. Our clients are women of all sizes and ages which makes us very happy. Products must appeal to customers in both Oulu, in northern Finland, and Tokyo. We think over carefully each item: this product is for those looking for something new, this is for those who love colourful prints, this is for those looking for a relaxed style for work, and this is for those who want Mickey (R/H’s mickey-esque pattern has become quite a hit). We aim always to create something new whilst keeping our R/H classics fresh. I believe in repetition in design and in everything you do. Consumers are much more savvy these days. Women who wear R/H want that certain “R/Hness” to be present in the garment. With that they feel they represent certain values. It might be design, using a Finnish product, quality, brand recognition, it’s different for different people.”
“Why not Alaska?” M I K A M A R T I K A I N E N C O O , M a ki a
I F YO U WA N T TO H AV E A N I N T E R N AT I O N A L B R A N D , B E H AV E L I K E YO U H AV E O N E .
M A R K K I N O I N T I & M A I N O N TA
a marketing and advertising newspaper, ranked Makia in the top 10 most interesting Finnish brands. In 2016, Makia’s turnover was 4,5 million euros.
Mika Martikainen joined the company in 2009 when Makia’s foray into the international arena actually began.
E H A D D O N E P H OTO S H O OT S and catalogues outside Finland, in places like Australia and Alaska. Previously, we never used professional models but rather went with using friends and acquaintances. Or, just people we met on the streets who had a personality that echoed the essence of Makia. That’s how we distinguished ourselves. Business is about distinguishing yourself from the competition and attracting attention. We set up our online store in 2010 in English solely since our corporate language is English. Finnish clients contacted our customer service in English thinking we are a foreign company.
A big part of international success is being able to keep on schedule and deliver the orders according to agreement. At some point we did all our manufacturing in China. Ocean freight caused delays to the production schedule and we were not able to take pre-orders. That meant we had to place orders based on our own estimates or the minimum order amounts. This is why we moved our production closer to Europe, to Turkey among other places. Makia 2.0 started when we decided to reduce the size of our collection, give up sales and focus on the classics and the more mainstream items.”
“Ride the wave” DA N I E L A Y R J Ö - KO S K I N E N CEO, Novita
D A N I E L A Y R J Ö - K O S K I N E N I S F O U R T H - G E N E R AT I O N C E O O F N OV I TA . H E R E I S W H AT S H E H A S L E A R N E D A M I D S T T H E H YG G E P H E N O M E N O N .
N OV I TA is a fam-
ily-owned knitting yarn company established in 1928. The company’s turnover in 2016 was around 23,5 million euros.
Make sure the customer is smiling –
“ W E S TA N D B Y O U R C L I E N T. Along with yarn and knitting needles, we provide instructions and support. The common thread to Novita’s ideology is that we provide experiences evoking the feeling of accomplishment. We want to ensure the client feels good and thrives. We keep in touch with our clients and provide customer service on social media, novitaknits. com, fairs and on the phone. We advise people with knitting instructions. Our website and YouTube channel have video instructions: our video on knitting wool socks has had more than 150 000 views. We publish our own Novita magazine where we feature almost 200 knitting patterns a year. It is inspiration that counts, not the product.”
Create a place to talk –
“ T H E R E A R E A LOT O F knitting fanatics in Finland. I feel confident in saying that Finns are the most eager knitters in the world. Back in the day people knitted because they needed something while today knitting is consi dered a valued hobby. It is as much, if not more, about the process as it is about the finished product. We set up a web community already back in 2005 and we develop the site constantly. Nowa days our Neulomo community has more than 100 000 members sharing photos, commenting and encouraging each other with their knitting projects.
Groceries and yarn –
in digital techno logy and are all about the sense of togetherness, brick-and-mortar retail – actual shops – play
“EVEN THOUGH WE INVEST
a major part. Our products are sold in corner shops, service stations, department stores and supermarkets: we have over 2000 retail outlets in Finland.
Ride it out –
in Finland – that was my father’s vision. It is now true. We promote and sustain responsible practises at our own factory in Finland and control the value chain. Our vision is to make Novita the leading yarn manufacturer in the world. At the moment, five percent of the turnover is from exports but in five years it could be 20 percent. I believe Finnish manufacturing, Scandinavian design, customer service experience and knitting communities form a combination that could succeed abroad. Our business is non-cyclical in nature: when the rest of the world crashed in the 2008 financial crisis, our business started booming. People opting to staycation and slow down, to start making something themselves is becoming a growing trend. Actually, I think it’s not a trend but a change in people’s values, a lasting change in life.”
“ N OV I TA E Q U A L S YA R N S
Grab a marker –
meaning new, renewal. I believe in authenticity and passion, and in the fact that it shows when you genuinely believe in them. Around ten years ago we wanted to develop a ball of yarn with which you can knit striped wool socks solely by using that same ball of yarn. Our research and development team knitted the socks using white yarn and then they used a marker to colour in the stripes. They then unravelled the sock and measured the length of each colour. The data was fed into the production machine and product development began.
“ N OV I TA I S A N I TA L I A N W O R D
“It is inspiration that counts, not the product.”
“You need an outsider” M AT I A S K OT K A S A A R I C E O , J o u t s e n
J O U T S E N , which was estab-
lished in 1936, is undergoing a major brand renewal. The company will focus on what it knows best: timeless, classic down coats and high-quality bedding from the world’s purest down.
M AT I A S K OT K A S A A R I B E C A M E T H E C E O O F J O U T S E N I N A U T U M N 2 0 1 6 . I T H A D B E E N H I S FAT H E R ’ S J O B F O R 3 7 Y E A R S . H E H A S L E A R N T T H E F O L LO W I N G T H I N G S A B O U T G E N E R AT I O N A L C H A N G E .
MAKE THE MOST OF A BAD YEAR.
“2009 was a bad year. My father decided it was a good time to implement the generational change. The lower value of the company meant that the gift tax was lower. So we did benefit a little, if you try to think positively.”
C H O O S E YO U R PAT H E A R LY O N .
“I have been a full-time employee at Joutsen for 11 years, and I was a summer employee before that. My childhood home is 30 metres away from the factory. I naturally considered other career options as well, but in the end it was an easy decision as my sister decided to be an Officer. I have been working towards being the CEO all the time and have made my choices based on this.”
“In the family, you need to talk openly about how to tackle the generational change and why one person may end up with more than another. Luckily, we managed to do this without any disagreement. It is a good idea to hire a company that has professional experience in generational change. We chose the accounting firm PwC.”
B E O P E N A N D T R A N S PA R E N T.
L I S T E N TO YO U R P R E D E C E S S O R .
“My father still works full-time at the company and focuses on boosting profitability. We talk to each other every day. For the first few weeks my father regularly turned up at my office out of habit. I would always throw him out again.”
L I S T E N TO YO U R B O A R D O F
D I R E C TO R S . “In a family company, it is really important to have external members on the Board of Directors. They will look at figures and issues from a different angle at times when you have lost your perspective. One member of the Board is my regular sounding board.”
L I S T E N TO YO U R E M P LOY E E S .
“Some of our employees have worked for us for a very long time and one started at the company before I was born. Only a few years ago some employees still spoke of the times when my great, great grandfather headed the company. Joutsen was established by Marius Pedersen, my father’s grandfather. I always try to follow the example of the smartest people and those with experience, and I often ask for help.”
LO O K A F T E R YO U R S E L F. “Being a CEO is a tough job, so you need to look after yourself. That’s why I hired a personal trainer at the start of the year. I meet my colleagues at clubs and associations, and get peer support in this way.”
D O T H I N G S I N YO U R O W N WAY.
“I talk to others to help me gain my own perspective so that I will be able to find my own way of doing things. I think this will probably take a year or two. I am more laid back than my father and often wear Batman-themed clothing. The first thing I did when I started as the CEO was to overturn my father’s garlic ban, which meant that garlic was not allowed on the company’s premises.”
“Touch the heart” M A R I K A S N E L L M A N p a r t n e r a n d C SO , N e u l o m o
W H E N M A R I K A S N E L L M A N , PA R T N E R A N D C S O AT N E U LO M O , I S TA L K I N G A B O U T S O C I A L M E D I A M A R K E T I N G , YO U B E T T E R L I S T E N .
Despite everyhing, Neulomo does not put all its eggs in one basket. “Instagram is about building the brand, Facebook is for discussion, and newsletter is about sales. You must not forget about that”, says Snellman.
N E U LO M O I S A C LOT H I N G brand founded in
2016 that has over 18 000 Facebook fans. Nokian Neulomo Oy is the owner of the factory that manufactures the Neulomo clothes.
U R S O C I A L M E D I A P R E S E N C E is based on asking questions only when we really want to hear the answers.” One such question was posted on Neulomo’s Facebook page in summer 2016. The company asked if someone from their clientele, an average Finnish woman, would like to become a model and represent the label. The CSO’s email address was provided for inquiries. She received 825 applications. “I thought maybe twenty women at most would be brave enough to send their photos and measurements. But we received power point presentations, video applications, lengthy and profound stories. 150 women were shortlisted”, Snellman says. There were indications of growing popularity already in the beginning of the summer. This became apparent when Snellman and the other partners published a press release about Nokian Neulomo Oy buying Nanso’s old factory and its manufacturing business. The press release also detailed that a new clothing label, Neulomo, will be launched. The small campaign garnered over 250 000 shares and contacts over a short period of time. The limited edition pre-release collection was sold out in 36 hours. Snellman believes that Neulomo’s success in social media is, first and foremost, based on sincerity and the fact that they decided to save the traditional factory in the small town of Nokia in central Finland. For many people that was a matter of the heart. “Spending a couple of hundred euros on social media pays well when you are doing something that matters. If it’s something unremarkable, it’ll never fly even if you throw money at it. It must be a matter of the heart even if it sounds like a cliché.”
“You can find a new mission”
S A M I K I I S K I CEO, Halti
R E S H A P I N G T H E B R A N D M A D E H A LT I G R O W.
Halti struggled with profitability, but last year we achieved a significant improvement in our results. Although other outdoor clothing companies hardly grew, our turnover grew by 25%, from 18.9 million to 23.8 million euros. The main factor contributing to this growth was that we amended our brand. In 2016 we carried out a brand update. We put even greater efforts into building our collection and finding the right partners. We also changed our mission. We were previously a performance brand and our activities focused on one thing:
OR MANY YEARS
the importance of performance in sport. Our new mission is about enriching people’s experiences in natural environments. High-quality kit is an essential part of this: these products deal with rain, wind and sweat. Our new mission has allowed us to take a different approach in everything we do. This autumn we are organising the Halti Outdoor Weekend at the Vuokatti resort in Finland. We will pay for the tickets of children and young people who have not previously had the opportunity to experience what nature has to offer.”
H A LT I I S A N O U T D O O R
clothing brand established in 1976 whose products are sold in 20 countries. Halti’s new strategy is to focus on Finnish design, higher-priced materials and sustainability.
“You can change the world” A N N A R U O H O N E N d e s i g n e r a n d f o u n d e r, A n n a R u o h o n e n
S U S TA I N A B L E D E S I G N I S A H A N DY M A R K E T I N G T E R M . B U T W H AT A C T I V I T I E S S H O U L D T H I S C O N C E P T I N C LU D E ? WE’LL LET ANNA RUOHONEN EXPLAIN.
Create beautiful things –
talking about eco-friendly clothing at the end of the 1990s, aesthetics went out of the window. The clothes were hippy rags, and the soles of the shoes had to be practically edible. For a long time these early years left their mark on the image of eco-friendly clothing. People thought that by wearing these clothes they had to give something up. When it comes to clothes, appearance is always the main thing. Aesthetics is a primitive need. A person will always look at a piece of clothing first and touch the material, and only then check the label to find out what the material is. And we shouldn’t try to change this order. Ecological factors should not be the main reason to sell something, they should be an added bonus.”
“ W H E N W E S TA R T E D
Don’t lose a sense of scale –
“ I A M A N N OY E D by the cut and paste trend that is known as eco-friendly fashion. And that buying second-hand clothes is an environmental solution. They are, of course, steps in the right direction, but they do not get to the core of the problem and they make us think on a superficial level. Once recycled fibre enters the market properly the scale will genuinely make a difference. We are on the threshold of change. We will soon have the technical innovations that will make this possible and we will be talking about thousands of tonnes of textile waste that can be recycled.”
Understand where the price comes from
– it mean when something is cheap? The product is cheap in that brief moment when you make the purchase. But will it still be cheap in
“ W H AT D O E S
A N N A R U O H O N E N is a fashion de-
signer who lives in Paris. She designs clothes that stand the test of time in both design and quality. Anna Ruohonen Paris is a made-to-measure collection, and AR by Anna Ruohonen is a ready-to-wear clothing collection.
three years’ time? Will it be cheap for the environment? For the planet? For humanity? I can understand when someone says that they can’t afford this right now. But I believe that we have been fooled by the concepts of cheap and expensive. We do not think of price in an ethical way. Trend guru Li Edelkoort suggested that minimum pricing should be imposed on clothes. No matter where a garment is produced, the workers should always be paid a decent wage for their work.”
Change your ideas –
people to think about clothes the way they did in the past. It seems that ideas have become warped and people no longer get satisfaction from the actual product, but from the act of buying. This should be turned around so that it is the product that brings satisfaction and happiness. This change would be easier if the buyer had to save up to buy the product. Does anyone really need dozens of dresses?”
“I WOULD LIKE
Aim for perfection –
“ B E F O R E I H A D my own label, I worked for artin Margiela for many years and during that M time I learnt to question the system of fashion. Why do we always need to create new things? For example, Margiela dyed his entire collection from the previous season and this became his new collection. And he kept products that didn’t sell straight away in his collection and in a way taught people how to understand his visions. My own collection includes the same products from one season to the next and only a fraction of the designs is completely new. I continuously develop my products further and change small details. I aim to achieve perfection in the symbiosis of material and design.” Fab
“Aesthetics is a primitive need. A person will always look at a piece of clothing first and touch the material, and only then check the label.”
We believe in collision of ideas and people. S o m et h in g ne w and ins p irin g a lway s e m er g es .
FA S H I O N , LIFESTYLE & BUSINESS
Issue 1 2017
FA S H I O N , L I F E S T Y L E & B U S I N E S S
E t e l Ă¤ r a n ta 1 0 | 0 0 1 3 0 H e l s i n k i , f i n l a n d | s tj m . f i
Finns rebel and triumph
Men and children take over fashion
Business brainiacs: Life lessons & success stories
Published on May 9, 2017
Fab - Fashion, Lifestyle & Business showcases Finnish fashion and lifestyle. Published by Finnish Textile and Fashion. www.stjm.fi/en