“If you go on Amazon or eBay, you can be sure you’ll find whatever it is that you’re looking for,” Finnish Design Shop co-founder and CEO Teemu Kiiski explains. “We want to offer a carefully curated selection of products, only the best of the best, to anyone who’s intrigued by the Nordic way of living.”
Finnish Design Shop sells lifestyle design products from brands big and small to over 180 countries. Last year alone, packages were wrapped and shipped to more than 80 countries. The number goes to show that there are plenty of people interested in the Nordic lifestyle.
Kiiski doesn’t think this is a particularly surprising turn of events.
“The Nordic values, like equality and closeness to nature, resonate everywhere,” he says. “The Nordic nations are famously some of the happiest in the world, so our mission is to share pieces of this happiness.”
Kiiski stresses that this is not just a sales pitch.
“In our work, the most important thing is to be able to stand behind our choices. That’s why we didn’t launch a webshop platform, but an independent channel, so that we can stay in charge and choose our own selection.”
SEO friendly – by accident
The story of Finnish Design Shop began back in 2004. The idea was born in the heads of Kiiski and his then-colleague, who decided that combining the rise of online shopping and the increasing popularity of Finnish design would definitely be a good idea.
So much so, that as soon as the thought occurred, Kiiski ran to his computer and reserved the domain.
“We didn’t have time for brand design workshops,” he admits laughingly. “Later, we’ve come to think that we could’ve chosen a less obvious name, but in all honesty, Finnish Design Shop is pretty brilliant when it comes to search engine optimisation (SEO).”
Initially the focus was exclusively on Finnish products. Now, the scope has expanded to cover brands that suit the Nordic lifestyle.
“We don’t want to detach Finnish design from the rest of the world,” Kiiski emphasises. “Rather, we want to bring it side by side with international design, strengthening its position in the global market.”
Plenty of streams from the big river
On top of making Finnish and like-minded design available to all corners of the world, Finnish Design Shop wants to expand its offering to include complementary services. For example, companies can order full interior designs compiled from the shop’s selection.
Another complementary service is Design Stories, a website offering design-related content to shoppers and visitors.
“We do believe that the content inspires people and hence boosts sales, too, but mainly it’s our way to serve our customers even more comprehensively,” Kiiski tells.
The method works: all possible growth figures have continuously gone up ever since the shop was launched. Almost half of all sales come from abroad, particularly Europe, the US, Australia and Japan.
At the moment, the teams in Turku and Helsinki comprise approximately 50 staff members. Just a while ago, the company established an executive management team, with Kiiski focusing on strategic development.
The strategy is pretty clear.
“Every year, we want to launch a new line of business and grow it,” Kiiski notes. “It’s incredible how many side streams there are running from the grand concept of Nordic Design, and they all stem from the same, positive values.”