When asked how she came to be here in Finland, Harriet responds that she fell in love with “a handsome prince from Kouvola”. When she moved here in 2010, it was very difficult to find products and hairdressing services for African hair – let alone products that were made in Finland. And so Aryenda founded her own shop in 2014. She makes many of the products herself, and the range has grown to encompass organic cosmetics and fair-trade handicrafts.
1. What I find surprising about working in Finland is… that people here have a very excellent work ethic. They are punctual, and they mean what they say. People here take work very seriously and work as required. Time is well kept, too. There is no ‘nine-ish’ – it is 9:00 in Finland.
2. My favourite things about Finland are… Finnish strawberries, Finnish apples and Finnish mushrooms. I believe that Finnish strawberries taste the sweetest of all strawberries.
3. If I could change one thing about Finnish working life it would be… the worrying and stress levels at many workplaces. I think people here have to slow down a little bit, take it a little bit easy, relax a little bit and not to plan all their own social happenings in advance. It’s okay sometimes to just go out and have fun without planning a month beforehand!
4. How I got my current job is… I started my business in 2014. It has been interesting and exciting for me to go to work every day, and I really enjoy working in my shop. I have a lot of small talk with my customers, and I get to know them better.
5. My initial expectations of Finland were… that it’s a land far away, it’s white everywhere and the trees are white…. well, that expectation comes to reality in winter!