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Finnish design

10 years of Valona design – from artisan to an entrepreneur

The Journey
Flexible working hours, be your own boss, take a day off whenever you feel like it, do the kind of work you want to do. Sounds appealing to be an entrepreneur, when you look at it like that. On the other hand not having fixed working hours means your day doesn’t always end at 5 pm sharp, sometimes it ends when you go to sleep. Taking a day off means not getting paid for that time and being your own boss often means demanding more from you than anyone else ever would. Plus there is the added excitement of whether your business will succeed or not. Still interested in being an entrepreneur? It’s no wonder some people never have the courage to become one, while others have to gather up their courage for a few years. Elina Mäntylä the CEO of Valona waited two years and worked as a free artist before she was ready to begin her career as an entrepreneur. A school teacher, who went to study design in Aalto University of Art, Design and Architecture, finally fulfilled her dream in 2006 when she founded Valona design – now turning 10 years. According to Elina it has been quite an adventure and the journey is not over. I interviewed Elina to get a closer insight on what it has been like to work as a CEO of her own company in the past decade.

To Elina being an entrepreneur means freedom of doing things in her own schedule, in her own way without having to restrain her creativity. Having such passion for her work and being able to do her own thing is what makes her happy. She believes that everyone should be […]

By |heinäkuu 6th, 2016|Categories: Yleinen @en|Avainsanat: , , , , , |0 Comments

Local sourcing – when ethicality counts

”Kylmä, kallis, kaukana” – cold, expensive and far away, these are the words that are sometimes used to describe Finland. And it’s true, for being expensive at least, especially when it comes to Finnish work. According to Eurostat’s article in 2015, Finland was the 7th most expensive country in the EU district, when looking at labor costs per hour. Yet for some reason there are still entrepreneurs such as Elina Mäntylä, the CEO of Valona, who prefers to use Finnish companies for producing, even though it might be economically preferable to find another solution. Maybe produce somewhere where labor costs were more affordable and taxation was at a competitive level. But for Elina it is more an ethical decision than it is economical.

Valona subcontracts primarily with small Finnish companies to produce the designs Elina makes. All her birch plywood products made by using laser cut technology are made in Finland. So why produce in Finland? To Elina it is a question of employing Finns and therefore supporting also the Finnish economy as a whole. Being an entrepreneur herself, she feels that it is important to support other business owners in a country as small as ours. Another important reason for Elina to manufacture Valona´s products in Finland is transparent and ethical sourcing. Knowing the producers personally ensures that the working conditions of those producing the products are ethical and materials are easily traceable. Something that is not guaranteed in countries with cheaper labor costs. Having a personal contact with the producer also makes the producing process easier, as Elina is able to meet up with the manufacturers as often as it is needed, to assure the end result is as good as the design. Knowing […]