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Coreflect is not just a bright shiny new object

New Coreflect collections are released annually. A Finn based in Italy, Sini Hirvonen from Finnissima, is one of the designers of the latest collection.Safety Reflector Finland

Safety Reflector Finland and its product Coreflect are prime examples of the Finnish imagination and aptitude for modification.

In Finland, Mother Nature has always been tough and respected. It has reshaped Finns’ ability to innovate to survive, especially during winter. These days, this approach has evolved in a way that people can live side by side with nature and utilise it in different ways, such as the newly opened ice road in Koli – the longest official inland ice road in Europe.

Another eye-opening Finnish invention for the colder months is the humble safety reflector. Its origins reflect back to the 1950s, when farmer Arvi Lehti’s horse and carriage was struck by a passing car on a dark road, and understandably spurred his desire to be more noticeable in future.

The resultant dangling pieces of small plastic have since sold more than 100 million units all over the world.

“The purpose of a reflector is to ensure that you are visible in the traffic, and to prevent accidents and even deaths,” explains Jutta Vainio, CEO of Safety Reflector Finland. “Safety reflectors are used in the dark, anywhere where you move on foot or by bike.”

The world’s best pedestrian reflector

Manufacturing of this Finnish invention has continued in its homeland ever since the 1960s. More recently, Safety Reflector Finland has been responsible for the product development of Coreflect reflectors since last year, along with their storage, distribution, and sales and marketing.

“It is very important for us that the manufacturing stays in Finland, because that way we can control the whole process,” Vainio explains, having herself purchased the Coreflect rights from Coreplast Laitila. “We already have a reputation as a reliable partner, since the product has been on the market for a long time. Production is frequently monitored and reflectivity values of each lot is documented.”

“A driver can spot a pedestrian with a reflector up to three times further away than a pedestrian not wearing one,” says Jutta Vainio. Image: Safety Reflector Finland

In keeping with Finnish eco-friendly values, the reflectors are made of polystyrene, which can be recycled, and do not contain any substances or compounds that are harmful for people or nature.

“We are at the forefront of quality assurance in reflector manufacturing,” says Vainio. “Our reflectors are approximately twice as efficient as other reflectors on the market.”

Safely overseas

This latest chapter for Coreflect has seen approximately two million reflectors being sold during its first six months on the market as a Safety Reflector Finland product.

“I am satisfied with this start,” outlines Vainio. “Earlier, Coreflects have been sold mainly to global promotional markets, but at the beginning of this year we launched a totally new look for our retail collection, which we expect to be successful.”

Safety Reflector Finland is promoting its Coreflect products in all shapes, sizes and colours. Image: Safety Reflector Finland

The demand for reflectors is steadily growing due to a number of factors. For example, in Finland, Poland and the Baltic countries it is against the law not to wear safety reflectors in the dark. A similar act recently entered into force in the Czech Republic.

“The World Health Organisation is seriously trying to reduce road accidents,” Vainio says. “These new laws are linked to WHO’s attempts, which is wonderful. Our reflectors used to be given to schoolchildren in England nationwide, and in Bulgaria 30 000 safety reflectors are distributed similarly each year.”

Vainio herself has been representing Coreflect-reflectors in large retail and wholesale trades in Germany, UK, Bulgaria, Norway, Sweden and Russia for almost 10 years. Reflectors have also been sold anywhere from North and South America, to Japan, South Korea and Australia.

“The media sometimes conveys the impression that people do not know what a safety reflector is,” Vainio states. “I disagree. In these large fairs in Europe, people are well aware of these products. How else we could have delivered over 100 million pieces already?”

As the international sales of this innovation continue their upward trajectory, this reflects the growing number of people globally who can be seen to be a bit more Finnish.

By: Tuomas Koivisto