Developers of online business became interested in design
– Ornamo’s new Finnishdesigners.fi service developing the field
People are increasingly interested in buying fashion and lifestyle products that are made in Finland, and this trend is also evident in the development of digital operations in the business. A number of small Finnish brands have opened online stores, and now even the larger commercial partners have recognised the benefits of making Finnish design available for more consumers.
“It’s clear that start-ups that create online platforms are becoming interested in design,” says project manager Petra Ilonen from the Finnish Association of Designers Ornamo.
“Over the past three years, I have been contacted numerous times by developers of digital shopping platforms who want to bring Finnish partners together. Their business visions include reaching out to global markets, which boosts the fast growth of Finnish brands. I’ve been watching the development of new app services such as jevelo.io and ivalo.com with interest.”
The SME sector adopting digital business activities
There is a lot of growth potential in the online design business. According to the design industry economic survey conducted by Ornamo in June, only around a third of the design companies offer online shopping services or use digital channels for distribution purposes, while a survey organised in October by the Federation of Finnish Enterprises and Elisa shows that only 15 percent of Finnish SME companies sell their products online; a figure which is well under the EU average. According to this survey, only one in ten SME companies recognises the business opportunities created by digital operations.
Ornamo is taking part in the development of these operations with its Finnishdesigners.fi service, which is a network of a number of design and art professionals. It serves both companies and consumers by offering a common platform for designers, industrial designers and makers of arts and crafts to showcase their work. The service also features links to the artists’ own online stores and larger online shopping platforms.
Ornamo’s surveys show that Finnish consumers cannot find Finnish design, which highlights the fact that the sector needs to expand its online operations. According to a market survey by Ornamo, up to 90 percent of Finns would be interested in buying works of art and design, yet almost 30 percent said that they cannot find the products.
Mobile apps and social media marketing are critical for growth
Designer Kristian Saarikorpi runs Jevelo, a company that allows customers to be involved in the jewellery design process – a service right on trend. Consumers can use the company’s app for designing unique jewellery from their own images, and the service already has users in 20 countries. The company’s main markets are the USA, Canada, the UK and the Netherlands.
“The decision to offer the service over a mobile app from the start came from keeping an eye on trends,” says Saarikorpi.
“Originally, we built a web-based platform for designing rings but we never launched it as the use of mobile applications grew exponentially and we realised that our service would be out of date at the time of publication.”
Jevelo’s marketing efforts focus on social media, and Saarikorpi says that the lack of competence in this area is one of the bottlenecks that prevent Finnish SME companies from growing. Jevelo has aggressively worked on marketing with the help of a specialist this autumn.
“During the process, we understood that we had taken a completely wrong approach to marketing on Facebook for two years. Many SME companies think that they know how to market on social media, but very few do, actually,” says Saarikorpi.
www.ornamo.fi/taiteen-markkinatutkimus (in Finnish)
Ornamo’s annual Design Christmas Market showcases design and handicrafts by almost 270 Finnish professional designers at the Cable Factory, Helsinki, on 2-4 December. Meet Petra Ilonen at Ornamo’s info stand between 12–13 on Friday 2 December. We will serve mulled wine and coffee as well as offer information about the Finnishdesigners.fi service and Design Christmas Market exhibitors.