RST Steel Oy – Bull bar manufacturer grew into a heavy weight vehicle furnisher

The company’s strength is products customised for professional use. Since the beginning, they have also had demand from abroad.

Ilpo Eskola

Like many other companies, RST-Steel Oy’s story began in a garage. Tommi Pääkkö and Ilpo Eskola used to as their free-time hobby to weld bull bars and sell them to private drivers and entrepreneurs.

The hobby started to slide into work territory and people started to ask for bull bars for heavier machinery. There was so much demand that in summer 2005 the men dared to make the decisive move. With NIHAK’s help, they rented office spaces from an old dairy and became full-time entrepreneurs.

Nowadays RST-Steel Oy is a rapidly growing company whose clients include car dealerships and manufacturers, importers and professional drivers both in Finland and abroad.

Bull bars are still one of the company’s product groups, but they are now accompanied by a wide selection of car accessories and additional accessories made of stainless steel. They are used to give the vehicles a more personal look and to improve their safety.

– A significant product group is the Lazer auxiliary automotive driving lights made in England and nowadays we’re their largest retailer in Europe, Eskola says.

RST Steel Oy’s selection showcases its strong product development and all products are customised to fit the client’s equipment. The customisation is, according to the entrepreneurs, also the asset the company uses to advance, especially among foreign competitors.

RST Steel Oy still has its home in Nivala, where production, product development and installation all operate on the city’s rented premises, located beside the Industrial Park. For six years, the company has also had a second office for sales and installation services. The company employs a total of 19 people, of which 15 are in Nivala.

The company has had an online shop since the early days. Its main task is to act as a place to showcase the products, since the majority of sales happen via telephone and through the shop.

“For sales and when measured in euros, the online shop’s effect is relatively small, because we don’t really sell to individual consumers”, Pääkkö explains.

RST-Steel Oy’s products have found their way to the hands of foreign buyers right from the beginning. The export activity has been facilitated with trade fair trips, organised by NIHAK, where the entrepreneurs have surveyed possible clients.

At the moment, RST Steel Oy’s products are sold in Sweden, Norway, Austria, Germany and Holland. Exports’ share of the revenue is about ten per cent. The entrepreneurs say that the share could be bigger, as long as the delivery chain holds.

– First, we’ll built it into top shape in Finland and after that we can invest more into exports.

In 2018, the company’s revenue was EUR 3.8 million. In a few years, both the revenue and personnel numbers have more than doubled. According to the entrepreneurs, there is no individual reason for the growth, bigger clients have just helped them to achieve overall larger sales figures.

– This has been a year of great growth. Next year we intend to invest into developing production and equipment acquisitions, Pääkkö states.

More info about RST-Steel Oy:

Text and pictures: Hanna Perkkiö

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