Jukka Kurkinen had his eye on entrepreneurship for several years before he became the entrepreneur of Feteco Oy through a change of ownership.
Weaving a fabric of conscious, ethical, local production
More news from Tiukula! In January, the company launched its first own yarn brand, Neulojan Sohvilla. At the end of March, the yarn shop will move to its new premises in Raatekangas, Joensuu. In addition to the online shop, the brick and mortar store together with their knitting room and wool sorting are given more space. Values and conscious production are at the core of shop owner Tiina Simpura's work.
Tiina Simpura founded Lankapuoti Tiukula Oy together with her spouse in 2021.
- Many have asked whether I consciously aimed for the opportunities the pandemic provided. It wasn't a factor at all. Behind all of this is my interest in ethical and conscious production. My attitude towards wearing and clothing in general is about being conscious, Simpura explains.
Another strong motive to become a part-time entrepreneur is enthusiasm for handicrafts. I've been working with my hands since I was a child. Later on completing my engineering studies in civil engineering and establishing a family took up my time. My eldest is now 4 years old, the youngest is 2 years old.
- When my youngest was born, I decided to stay home a little longer. My situation was favourable for establishing an online shop. I was interested in sustainability issues in the textile industry. I also question the transfer of production from Finland to developing countries. I wanted to do things differently, Simpura explains her motives.
Fair for the consumer
Lankapuoti Tiukula offers a wide variety of yarns for both knitting and crocheting. Most of the yarns are made of Finnish sheep wool here in Finland.
- Most of them are also for resale. Compared to yarns available in supermarkets, prices here are higher. This, in turn, limits the target customer group, which means hard work is required to reach them.
Simpura is willing to do the work for the sake of local product that is ethical and responsibly produced. It is apparent from her speech that Simpura is honest and open to the consumer. She finds it distasteful when consumers are mislead.
- For example, merino wool is much lauded. It is marketed as a mulesing-free product. What is not said is that in large merino wool-producing countries, the intensive production of sheep causes erosion and reduces biodiversity. Merino sheep are bred specifically for their wool. Similarly, sheep are reared for meat in Finland, and wool is a by-product of sheep.
Mulesing is a painful procedure performed on sheep, the purpose of which is to prevent infections caused by parasites. The method is used in Australia, for example.
According to Tiina Simpura, her role as an entrepreneur in this sector is to help consumers in making conscious choices. For this reason, she also criticises the Key Flag and the expression “Made in Finland” to some extent. Labels do not always tell which part of the production is Finnish and which is imported. The image of something being a local product is not always the whole truth.
Tiina Simpura's day job is structural design. She works in Joensuu with an 80 percent working time. As a part-time entrepreneur, she is not planning to give up her day job.
- When Tiukula was founded, the primary purpose was not to start attracting a huge turnover, to build a fever-pitch of a business. Of course, as an entrepreneur, I aim for growth and I am ambitious about entrepreneurship.
The goal-oriented approach is also visible in Tiukula's unique Neulojan Sohvilla brand. Simpura calls the brand “the yarn heart of Northern Karelia”.
- The yarns are made in North Karelia, with respect nature and by supporting small sheep farms. The wool comes from Tohmajärvi, Joensuu and Polvijärvi. The wool has been washed in Polvijärvi and spun in Nurmes, Simpura notes.
Tiina Simpura prides herself on her ability to advise customers and answer their questions. She also knows when to ask for an advice.
- As I live in Tohmajärvi – and for now the company is also located there – the nearest business advisory organisation was Keski-Karjalan Kehitysyhtiö Keti. When Keti shut down its operations, I immediately contacted Timo A. Hartikainen, who is responsible for Business Joensuu. There was a need for support and help in matters related to marketing, for example.
From Business Joensuu's service selection, Simpura has so far utilised sparring services and DigiGrow coaching. Her intention is to join Business Joensuu's Virtaa coaching programme later. This is a group training programme specifically intended for small-business entrepreneurs.
The communal Tiukula
Commitment and ambition are also realised in the communal nature of Tiukula's activities. The yarn shop organises joint knitting meetings at Hotel Lietsu, for example. In the future, knitting events will also be organised at a new location in Joensuu at Helinintie 6.
- At these meetings, selling yarn takes second place to a sense of community. We will inform you about the schedules on the website's event calendar and on Facebook. Tiukula also offers services via WhatsAp.
Text: Sirkka-Liisa Aaltonen/Viestintä Ässä Oy
Image: Jarno Artika