September 16, 2014

Lumi relies on Finnish aesthetics

Lumi Accessories’ CEO Sanna Kantola in the showroom of her company in Helsinki’s Punavuori area.
Lumi Accessories’ CEO Sanna Kantola in the showroom of her company in Helsinki’s Punavuori area.
MIRJA VAINIO

Lumi, known for its leather bags, is aesthetically and philosophically rooted in Finnishness. From day one, the company’s designs have found fans overseas, especially in Japan.

Lumi Accessories

– An accessories company whose best-known and largest product group is leather bags.

– Its owners and designers are Sanna Kantola and Bruno Beaugrand.

– Employs 15 people.

– Net sales in 2013: 1.5 million.

At the start of the millenium, Sanna Kantola and her husband Bruno Beaugrand lived in New York. Kantola designed bags for Ralph Lauren and Beaugrand designed jewellery for Tiffany. They had long been planning to establish their own company, however.

The couple visited the Lahtinen felt factory in central Finland and loved the company’s hats. They received samples and added leather handles to the felt hats – which became bags.

The couple took the prototype bags to New York where well-known boutiques became interested and started placing orders. Kantola and Beaugrand established their own company in the United States in 2002. The Finnish company, by the name of Lumi, was started up in 2007.

Lumi has been an international company from its very beginnings, with a focus on leather products. The products with Finnish names have been popular in Holland and France in particular. The largest markets are, however, in Japan.

“Together with our partner we have a store in Kyoto. We are planning on opening another store in Tokyo. Japan is interested in top-of-the-line Finnish products and, generally speaking, our product type is suitable for their market,” Kantola says.

New territory: shoes and scents

Lumi’s main product is still leather bags. Last spring its product range expanded with the introduction of a line of home scents and this autumn with a shoe collection.

Lumi has launched its first collection of shoes this autumn.

Lumi has launched its first collection of shoes this autumn.

Mirja Vainio

“We had been thinking about designing and manufacturing shoes for years but we knew that the shoe business was challenging. We feel ready now though,” says Kantola.

Lumi’s goal is to manufacture ecologically sustainable products. More than half of them have been created from vegetable-tanned leather, which is more eco-friendly than multi-tanned leather. In addition, the company’s goal is sustainability through minimising its use of packaging materials.

“The majority of our products are manufactured in Portugal and Spain. We usually try to manufacture our products in Portugal because that means that their materials are sourced nearby.”

In addition to new product groups, the company’s momentum is being boosted by its activities on the global markets. Next spring Lumi is launching a store in Berlin. The company established in the United Stated in 2002 still exists in order to help with sales in the local markets.

“We were very active in the US markets until 2008. That is when we had to downsize our operations there due to the recession. We are now once again increasing our activity on the other side of the Atlantic,” Kantola says. She adds that they are looking at entirely new market areas as well. First and foremost of these is China.

At the moment, Lumi has, in addition to its stores in Helsinki and Kyoto, an online store which delivers products all over the world. The company also has retailers in more than 20 countries.

In future, Kantola hopes that Lumi will have more stores around the world. The possibility is there as there aren’t particularly competitors focusing on manufacturing leather bags in Finland or even the Nordic countries.

Lumi’s goal is to manufacture ecologically sustainable products.

Lumi’s goal is to manufacture ecologically sustainable products.

Mirja Vainio

Text: Anna Korvenoja

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