Finnish quality clothing seeks new market

The traditional Finnsvala Oy trusts in quality and Finnish manufacturing. The factory and outlet shop built by the side of the national road four have brought the company new exposure.

Onerva Aakko

People traveling the national road will have many reasons to make a stop at Kärsämäki. One of the newest reasons is Finnsvala Oy’s new factory and outlet shop that draw the passers-by’s eye right at the southern side of the urban area. The CEO Onerva Aakko describes the 700 square metres of space, which were completed in 2019, as a jackpot for the company.”

– Of course we were worried at the beginning, whether people would know to come here. However, the winter season clearly surpassed even the wildest expectations. Many have come out of pure interest to see what we have to offer.

Finnsvala specialises in underwear and thermals worn in extreme conditions. The Svala of Finland brand is know to, among others, motorsports and snowmobile enthusiasts and both casual hunters and professionals.

According to Aakko, the ordinary consumers have also found the technical underwear and products made of merino wool.

“Nowadays, especially younger people are very conscious of materials. For example, micro plastics have been talked about a lot and many people now know to appreciate a product’s ecologically friendly nature.”

The company’s conscious policy is that in stead of large chain shops, the products will be sold in the selections of small independent shops. Aakko says that this is also a question of pricing, because she does not want to compromise on the high-quality materials. The other big principle is the products’ Finnish origin.

– The production must be transparent. It is important that the customer knows the conditions the product was manufactured in.

Finnish origin is also the products’ unquestionable strength in the competition, according to the entrepreneur. Every product is of Finnish make, including the washing instructions patch and the packaging.

– It might be a little crazy or idealistic, but this is how we want to operate, Aakko laughs.

Finnsvala’s roots reach all the way back to the year 1955, when the Svala family started to manufacture underwear and Suomi sweats for sale. Aakko became the continuator of the traditional company in 2015. Gaining more recognition for the products was her first task.

‘It has taken a lot of work and trade fair visits. Earlier, we weren’t very well known, even though our product is considered to be of high quality.

The company’s product selection has stayed largely the same during Aakko’s time, but the clientele has expanded. The next goal is to gain more foothold abroad. The first steps have already been taken.

– There are already small orders from Germany, Denmark, Poland and the Benelux countries. That’s the start.

Aakko says that it still is not just a cliché that abroad a product’s Finnishness is seen as a guarantee of quality.

“The reactions have been very positive when people have heard that we manufacture the products here.”

At the moment, Finnsvala employs six people. Outside the company there is also plenty of work in sales, marketing and subcontracting.

According to Aakko, the company will next put the marketing into a new gear. They also mean to update their collection for new customer groups. Therefore, they will go to not only sportsmen’s fairs but also to recreational fairs.

– You have to attend for many years for the marketing to start bearing fruit. In five years we hope to have an even more established status in the market and several new retailers in Finland and abroad.

More about Finnsvala:

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