People tend to have difficulties in understanding what does an agent do. My short, regular reply is “to sell clients’ products and services to international customers”, but it includes so, so much more. Let me give you a short overview of the main tasks I’ve been doing this week:
- providing information about the represented brands for a potential customer in Japan
- working for FinEst Sounds -project for matching Nordic design and Nordic music in Japanese market
- preparing the booths and booth set ups for two upcoming exhibition, one in Japan and the other one in Germany
- updating contracts for customers interested in Finnish surface design
- updating another contract about a brand licensing deal to Japan
- creating the instructions for how to run a himmeli workshop
- updating the instructions for how to run a birch bark workshop
- discussing with a client and a customer about the upcoming delivery to Japan
- preparing a funding application, Innovaatioseteli, for one of the clients within tourism
- predicting the future and needs for it
- having several conference calls regarding the above tasks
The list is not meant to show off my personal multitasking skills, but rather to concretize how versatile tasks there are for the agent to take care of. Points which keep repeating in these tasks are Japan and crafts/design, there I consider my strongest knowledge to exist.
It would be great to know about your regular day! Who is up for showing his/her list in the comment field?
PS. On my days off I go often to Teijo National Park for a hike – the image is taken on one of those hikes.
さて、今回は先日お邪魔しました、Helsingin Villasukkatehdas (Helsinki Woollen Sock Factory) さんについてご紹介します。
The partnership with Fukuoka Women’s University has taken its following step: a direct Finnair flight from Fukuoka, Japan, landed to Helsinki-Vantaa last Sunday. As passengers there were two brave young ladies that were heading to Kimito.
By a brief meeting in Skype this spring I got to know Ms. Moemi Matsuoka as a determined, motivated and independent young woman with a clear aim in her mind: to expand the knowledge of Japanese crafts outside of Japan. As 0.7 design has been doing craft exports for ten years, we made a prefect match with each other, so Moemi got the chance to be the first intern of the partnership between FWU and 0.7 design.
On the first day of her stay at 0.7 design we headed out to the nature to get to know each other a bit better, and to make a plan for the upcoming eight weeks as a helping hand at 0.7 design. I explained the current situation of 0.7 design as well as all the project ideas that I had in my mind.
Out of her own will, she chose to work with a project that aims in developing a sales channel to Japan for products made in Finland by the elderly people. The working name of the project is Terveisiä Isoäidiltä! – Hälsningar från mormor! – Greetings from the Grannies!, so keep your eyes open for updates and open calls for participants!
I was thinking to visit Högsåra today but as it started to rain while I was waiting for the ferry, I made a plan B quickly. That included a hike on one of the several trails of Kimitoön.
Despite of the close to a 2 hour intensive walk, including quite much ascending, the afternoon ended up being very relaxing. One reason for this was that the time was spent in the wild nature, while having all my senses activated.
On the way I saw some ruins of Dalsbruk, having its history dating back to 1686. There were wild fowers blooming in all imaginable colours as well as one of the biggest ant nests I have ever seen.
Yummy! Wild strawberries were ripe for picking, blueberries tasted slightly raw still. Junipers were all green, but the familiar smell of Gin&Tonic was already strong.
One of my favourite smells is the smell of wild rosemary, which you notice when walking on damp paths. This hike took me to a swamp, so the smell was guaranteed. I could smell the pines that surrounded the path almost all the time.
I could hear the wind, some swansongs as well as by the end of the trip the rain drops as they hit the lake.
The rain made the rocks very slippery, and at some point I rfelt my jeans were all wet up to the knees. When descending from one of the hills, I realised walking on very thick moss! I have never experienced that feeling before, as the moss has already been destroyed under the hikers’ feet.
I retured my nearby home being wet and slightly cold, all senses wide awake. As nothing beats sauna as a way to warm up and wind down, that ended up being my last mission for this rainy summer day.
Lovely experiences are out there waiting for you at Kimitoön. Let’s explore together!
Kemiönsaaren kunnan alueella asuu ja työskentelee paljon luovilla aloilla työskenteleviä ihmisiä. Kunnassa on hyvä tekemisen meininki monin paikoin ja mittarein.
0.7 designissa on haudutettu ajatusta kemiönsaarelaisen työnimellä Kemiönsaarelta <3:lla -kulkevan tuotemerkin lanseerauksesta. Tuotemerkin alla on mahdollista myydä Kemiönsaareen kytköksissä olevia tavaroita tai palveluja, jotka soveltuvat hyvin esim. liike- tai syntymäpäivälahjoiksi tai esim. joulusesonkiin aineettomiksi lahjoiksi. Kemiönsaarelta <3:lla konseptin mukaiset tuotteet ja palvelut saadaan myyntiin yhteiseen nettikauppaan, josta kuluttajat ja yritykset voivat niitä selailla ja lopulta ostaa. Nettikaupassa ja markkinoinnissa tuodaan reilusti esille tuotteen tai palvelun alkuperäinen valmistaja.
Ennen hihojen käärimistä teemme pienen tutkimuksen:
- Millaisia tuotteita ja palveluita voisit tarjota Kemiönsaarelta <3:lla konseptiin?
- Olisitko valmis ostamaan Kemiönsaarelta <3:lla konseptin mukaisia tuotteita? Mitä erityisesti?
Kiitos avustasi jo tässä vaiheessa!
For a reason or another many of my coaching sessions are held in summer, even if the service is available around the year. Also this summer many companies want to improve their performance, and I’m there to coach them:
I got to know Vernada back in February, when having a speaker session in Vaasa. We will continue the discussion, and I’m happy to help the company to take following steps in acquiring the global markets.
It’s worth keeping your eye on all three of them, as they have performed very well already at the Finnish market. Any takers abroad?
Through the past years I have received many invitations to all kinds of hackathons, but as I don’t consider myself as a technology-oriented person, I have always denied the invitations, despite of the attractive method I would like to test as a design agent. However, last week a hackathon was organized by YritysSalo and Metsähallitus, State Forest Enterprise, with the aim of developing technological solutions for those 40 national parks around Finland. As the project I’m working for in Kimitoön at the moment is about boosting the cooperation between Kimitoön, the city of Salo and Metsähallitus, and as nature lover as I am, I thought to give hackathon a try finally.
We were some 50 people that gathered at Teijo National Park on a snowy Wednesday morning. Some of us had technology background, but surprisingly many did not: the rest of us were business people, people working in tourism, people working for public organizations etc.
Our team of five was advised to create a technology-based concept for the planning and maintenance operations at the national parks during the NatureHack.
We, complete strangers to each other, went for a walk in the national park, saw some beautiful views, talked about our personal and professional histories as well as about our personal connection to the nature. Within the following four hours we chatted and laughed a lot, and created a concept of an intelligent maintenance logbook, which we by the end of the day pitched in front of a jury.
There were several superb ideas developed during the day, so apparently Teijo National Park as the working environment was very inspiring to us all. Our concept was prized as the best of the day, and we received Rapala lures as a reward.
The day was great and reminded of the importance of having multi-talented teams when trying to discover/create new approaches. The only minus to the day was that on the way home I fell with my bicycle and ended up to hospital with a broken arm, and that’s why the lure has to wait for its first use for a while now.
Salon Seudun Sanomat wrote an article about the hackathon in Finnish, explaining the concept and the outcome of the day.
(Photo: Maija Pirvola)
Some weeks ago we received an inquiry from Japan: a shop owner from Osaka was on her way to Finland, and would like to meet one of the clients represented by 0.7 design. As the reaction time was very short, and as the distances in Finland are quite long, we agreed on the possibility in placing an order, and meeting and delivering the products in Helsinki the week after.
Fortunately the designer had stock of most of the products, and they arrived Kemiö on time to be delivered further to Helsinki.
At our meeting I got to know the owner of Scandinavian Design Shop harikko, who flyes regularily to Finland to buy products to her online shop. We discussed that if additional stock of products is needed, we can ship them to Japan directly, of course.
Also, we discussed, that if she wants to meet the designers personally, it is possible, but the meetings should be planned well in advance. We are more than happy to organize meetings between designers and buyers at the design studios.
Some images with familiar products have been published on harikko’s Instagram feed recently. Can you guess which products we are talking about?
I was invited to Tallinn for two separate workshops the begining of March. One of the workshops was for the students of Estonian Academy of Arts, recently nominated as one of the world’s top 200 art and design universities, the second being aimed at the academic staff of the same university.
The audiences were active, and eager to know about design agent’s work as well as the ways for how to support students in entrepreneurship and design export, and appreciated the information on my own experiences gathered as an entrepreneur. It was great, and slightly surprising, to learn that Estonian designers have very strong artistic ambitions, and prefer artistic career before working as industrial designers.
The brands that I saw e.g. at Eesti Designi Maja -shop could be from any Nordic country. That’s why the Estonian design is, and should be, considered Nordic, rather than Slavic, and shops dealing Nordic brands should keep their eyes on Estonian design, too.
For people visiting Tallinn it is easy to get a glimpse of Estonian design by following the destinations pointed on a design map. The relevant shops, galleries, studios etc. are marked with a yellow D-letter.
As birch bark items have been one of the most liked product in the history of 0.7 design, we thought to collect some information about birch bark as well as tips to keep your birch bark items fresh looking.
- It is impossible to buy birch bark in shops in Finland, at least in large amounts. Each master has his/her source of getting bark, which very often includes climbing in the trees and collecting the bark on their own.
- It is possible to collect the birch bark only around Midsummer, in June. The bark looses off very easily then. Other times it is very difficult, or impossible, to peel the bark out of the birch stem.
- The bark may be collected only once. The birch doesn’t die when the bark is taken away.
- The color which you see in a birch bark item is the layer next to the stem of a birch tree, the inner skin.
- The bark consist of several paper-like layers. Most of the outer skin is peeled off and thrown away before making the final birch bark item.
- Exact dimensions for a birch bark item are impossible to give as the thickness, as well as width, of the bark effects on the final product.
- The color of birch bark item stays light longer if you keep the bark out of direct sunlight.
- It is impossible to predict the color of the bark after a year or two, as the color depends on the ground there the birch tree has grown.
- The bark doesn’t get bad if washed with water. Please don’t use soap.
- The bark item gets an instant facelift, when you wipe it with a cloth gently wet with vegetable oil. Avoid touching the leather parts with the oil.
- The birch bark is 100% natural product. It burns very easily and well, but it doesn’t get combusted. As an evidence of this, archaelogists have found birch bark items that are several hundreds of years old.
Recent years there have been published two books in Finnish about the birch bark. One, Tuohitöiden käsikirja, gives detailed ideas for how to use birch bark in crafts today. The second edition of Tuohitöiden käsikirja will be published later this year. The other, Ylimuistoinen tuohi, tells about the traditional uses of birch bark in Finland. An interesting interview of the author of Ylimuistoinen tuohi, Sirkka-Liisa Ranta, is available in YLE’s archives.
By the way, did you see our own Vimeo -videos about collecting and working on birch bark already? Videos are available in Japanese and in English.
If you are willing to experience the birch bark peeling with one of the Finnish masters in the end of June 2017, please get in touch with us soon!