Finland – The Low Down Adventure
Growing up my parents had an amazing garden – flowers, plants, all sorts of beauties. It wasn’t uncommon for a stranger to knock on our door asking about one of their treasures. They didn’t normally mess with fruits or vegetables. But one summer, they decided to grow strawberries.
We’d check ‘em daily. I was obsessed with the white fuzzy hairs and the perfectly placed seeds (OCD and me go waaaay back), I liked the cute little white flowers… It was painful waiting for them to ripen. And the slugs! Didn’t matter what my parents did to prevent ‘em – they almost always beat us. When we’d scored a strawberry, we’d celebrate big.
And that’s how our sourcing trip to Finland was. We hunted non-stop, obsessing about the amazing design details everywhere – but feeling defeated every time we discovered that the office supplies we spied weren’t Finnish.
What I don’t understand – how can a country proud of their deep design history and a love of typography, how come they don’t have a bunch of Finnish companies crankin’ out office-supply goods for everyone? Some countries we’ve hit may produce goods in China or India, but at least they design the goods locally. Not so in Finland. Didn’t matter how many people I spoke with, the answer was always the same – it’s too expensive to produce locally because the cost of labor is very high.
But slugs be damned – we scored our very own strawberries! Like some kinda wonderful, we found lo-fi goods reppin’ Finland BIG. Notebooks by a design duo with the sweetest illustrations, made locally with 100% recycled paper. Watercolor discs from a Finnish company that’s been makin’ em since 1922! And… ok, full disclosure. The paint brushes are not made in Finland. Whomp, whomp. But the watercolor discs are so rad, no way I was gonna pass them up. And there’s no way we’d leave our RAHstrs hangin’ – not gonna hook you up with something you can’t get down with as soon as you open your kit!
While scoping out the notebooks, we learned that the Finnish got their very own word that translates to ‘berry happiness’ – marjaonni. I mean, how perfect is that?? Finland, you are so our jam.