Sometimes Coruu co-founders Maarit Fellman and Sari Jokinen struggle to truly convey the excellence of their silicone jewellery in words.
“You need to touch it and keep it in your hand to really see how light and pleasant it is,” Fellman says. “Every day we get emails and Facebook messages from customers saying how, after trying Coruu earrings for the first time, they never want to wear anything else again.”
A single Coruu earring, even if large and snazzy, only weighs two grams – which, in the jewellery scene, is essentially nothing. When Fellman herself has a pair of Coruus on, she keeps forgetting she’s wearing earrings at all.
This is why, when approaching new resellers, Coruu tends to attach a few samples of their products. Although silicone is often associated with kitchenware and other household items, this makes it no less fancy a material for jewellery.
On top of its lightness and softness, silicone suits people with allergies and is affordable and easy to wash. All this makes Coruu products an ideal souvenir for anyone with a light wallet and a heavy suitcase: it’s a piece of Finnish design that won’t max out your credit card and luggage weight allowances.
Moomins joined the gang
The story of Coruu goes back to 2014, when long-time colleagues Fellman and Jokinen decided it was time to give entrepreneurship a go. Initially, their focus was on training in marketing and ecommerce, but then they decided to start an online store of their own.
Silicone jewellery came to mind. For a shop on the Internet, Coruu products are ideal, as they are easy and cheap to ship, including internationally. No massive amount of storage space is needed, either.
The duo found three Finland-based designers, who were excited to jump at the new kind of opportunity.
“The flat material is challenging, because you can’t make three-dimensional figures,” Fellman explains. “But our designers have created incredibly beautiful shapes, from feathers to flowers.”
On top of unique Coruu shapes, the selection has recently expanded with a range of Moomin characters. With the license to sell Moomin jewellery, Coruu is hoping to enter Asian markets and Japan in particular. The Japanese are known for their fondness of the Finnish creatures.
Full steam towards Japan
A lot has happened to Coruu between its founders’ resignation from their day jobs and now. Joining Finpro’s* eCom Growth programme and signing the license contract with Moomin characters have been some of the milestones.
At the moment, Coruu products are available in selected stores in Finland, and there are ongoing negotiations with resellers abroad. A small company has to focus its marketing efforts carefully; according to Fellman, Japan, the UK and Sweden are now of Coruu’s interest.
Now, in addition to marketing and visiting fairs around the globe, Coruu is also constantly creating new models and figures. The division of labour is clear: designers concentrate on their work, and Fellman and Jokinen spread the Coruu message internationally. Coruu has one full-time employee looking after the online store and a few part-time staff members.
One indicator of how seriously the company takes the Japanese market is that the next recruit is probably going to be a Japanese-speaker to deal with customer enquiries.
“Although there are other countries abundant with Moomin fans, Japan is by far the most interesting one,” Fellman notes. “It’s so populous that there’s a chance for big success.”
Good News from Finland is published by Finnfacts, which is part of Finpro*.
*Part of Business Finland since 2018