Suomen Lanka: Weaving it together, the Finnish way
By Jo Iivonen
Yarn by yarn, Suomen Lanka is weaving together tradition, innovation and design. Recycled materials, innovative colour combinations and creative collaborations are at the top of the agenda for the Finnish firm’s new owners, as they build upon the yarn maker’s decades-long legacy and technical expertise.
“We want to build on our company’s heritage by developing innovative materials and synchronised colour palettes,” says Saila-Maria Saariaho, the young entrepreneur in charge of business development at the Finnish firm. “Looking ahead, new creative collaborations are also at the top of the agenda.”
Suomen Lanka was already an established name when Saariaho, together with her husband and CEO of the business, Kimmo Angervisto, took over the business from a family friend last year. Working as a tight-knit team with just two other employees, Saariaho and Angervisto took a hands-on role from the start.
As a first step, the husband-and-wife duo rolled up their sleeves to develop the Moppari range. The twisted mop yarn is made out of regenerated cotton with a pinch of polyester for durability. “We decided to triple the number of colours,” says Saariaho, and Angervisto confirms: “The strategy proved successful. The sales skyrocketed over the first year.”
The company’s bread-and-butter product, the sturdy, 100-per-cent cotton Kalalanka yarn, remains a go-to among industrial operators and hobbyists alike. Indeed, Finland’s rich weaving tradition is what Saariaho sees as a key strength. “It sets us apart on the international scene.”
Today, the yarns are sold worldwide. The company’s longstanding cooperation with Molla Mills, the craftswoman author whose namesake yarns are custom-made by Suomen Lanka, has promoted the brand organically. “We keep getting calls from places like Australia and Japan because people want to know what Molla’s materials are.”
Consumer thirst for ethically-sourced materials underpins just about every industry, and yarns are no exception – but the recent success of the Moppari range also reflects the trend whereby millennials are embracing traditional crafts like crocheting and macrame. “We offer recycled materials in lots of trending colours to stay at the top of the curve,” says Saariaho.
At the end of the day, what’s really on offer – for customers and potential collaborators alike – is the level of expertise built over four decades at the company’s factory in Lappajärvi. “This is key,” Saariaho concludes. “The technical knowhow and artisanship on the factory floor are the backbone.”
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