Hetkinen: the powerful combination of Finnish forests and Nordic design
By Molly McPharlin | Photos: Hetkinen
Pure and peaceful Finnish forests are never far from the mind at Hetkinen, the lifestyle and cosmetics company based in Turku, a dynamic cultural city on Finland’s west coast. Founded in 2018 by Mona Isotupa, the company has three main aims – to provide a solution to the global plastics problem by making their packaging from Finnish wood, to offer products suitable for everyone regardless of age, gender or skin type, and to help people learn to appreciate the beauty of nature and well-being.
Finland is well known for its modern Nordic design. Isotupa, who previously worked in occupational well-being and ergonomics, had always been interested in creating shapes and patterns. “As a child, I drew widely and decided, even then, I would one day go and present my plans at Marimekko,” she recalls, referring to the iconic Finnish design house. Choosing instead to begin her own company, she combined her commitment to design with her other passion – Finland’s majestic trees and vast, unspoilt forests. Hetkinen, or as the name means in English, ‘wait a moment’ – was born.
A Commitment to Nature
Isotupa’s love of nature is the foundation of Hetkinen. The product packaging is made from local pine, and a wide range of Finnish materials are used elsewhere. The cosmetics use organic ingredients, variously containing tree leaves, needles, bark, essential oils, Finnish heather, lichen and moss.
Isotupa believes there is a strong connection between Finnish society and the forest. “Finns are definitely forest people. We live close to the forest; in many cases the forest starts in your own backyard. We go walking there or forage for berries and mushrooms. All Finns have free access to the forest,” she explains.
One of Hetkinen’s major goals is to connect people with nature and to help them recognise the health benefits and healing properties that the northern European environment can bring.
As safety for both customers and nature is paramount, Hetkinen uses no artificial fragrances or additives, and all products are vegan. They always strive to minimise waste, both in production and in finding novel uses for anything left over from the process. All ingredients come from certified distributors who specialise in raw materials from the forest, while the wood comes from a sawmill in Central Finland.
Design is at the Heart
Design is central to Hetkinen’s philosophy. Both Nordic and Japanese styles are fundamental to the company. Products are simple, contemporary and effortlessly cool in their construction and form. A perfect sphere of crowberry spruce soap sits elegantly in a carved dish. Birch and peppermint hand balm is encased in a smooth jar of pine. A favourite item for Isotupa is the pine lip balm, cocooned in a rounded pot made of polished wood.
“Using it always puts me in a happy mood. It is comforting and incredibly effective,” she says. The influence of both Finnish and Japanese design manifests in packaging so elegant that it can be displayed like a piece of art, and in Hetkinen’s commitment to ‘wabi-sabi’, the philosophy of celebrating imperfect beauty.
Isotupa also cites Japanese folk craft as an influence. “I especially like the architecture of Kengo Kuma, or any of the various Japanese craftsmen who make animal figures out of wood. I also admire their wonderful teapots and details.”
A Roadmap for the Future
A primary goal for Hetkinen is to help decrease the global consumption of and reliance on plastic. The company is also committed to the protection of Finnish forests and to animal rights. They actively support the Finnish Natural Heritage Foundation, which uses donated funds to buy old-growth forests and protect them, and Animalia, which upholds the rights of wild and domestic animals.
“My future plan is to continue working to exceed our customers’ expectations. And I want the Hetkinen team to enjoy and share their excitement for what we create. One of Hetkinen’s biggest strengths is product development. We are inspired by people and life in general. We are currently researching wonderful new raw materials in Finland and their potential for cosmetics.”
A Hetkinen shop on the island of Ruissalo in Turku is thriving, while several distributors stock Hetkinen products around Finland. The online store is popular globally, especially in the United States, Germany and Japan. Ultimately, Hetkinen hopes to encourage people to look at the power and versatility of trees with new eyes. As they proclaim on their website and as many Finnish people would agree: “The forests of Finland hold the key to our health.”
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