This market I am a sponsored blogger at High Point. So when I arrived at Luonto Furniture to meet Ville Karesto the Sales Manager for, I think the world is what it sounded like when we talked, but it doesn't say that on his card, he spoke in Finnish to Maria, who had arranged our meeting.
"I can understand you, you know" I laughed. I can't speak Finnish well at all, under duress yes, but my parents speak Finnish to me all the time so I understand, no problem.
Ville asked where in Finland my parents were from.
OMG do I even remember? Is what I was thinking. "I think Kurrika, Mom's always saying 'I'm from Pohjanmaa, we are direct and blunt and without a filter'. Does that sound like the people from that area?" I asked him.
"Oh yes", He said, "In fact, that's where our factory is".
Well, no surprise I am the same as my Mom. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree I guess.
Here we are in a picture before I left. I wasn't going to post it, but there comes a time when you hit a certain age and you look at 5 pictures someone has just taken, and you know you can't implore them to just keep snapping and you realize, "That's just what I look like", haha. Sigh.
Anyway, I'm thinking I look like a Fin here, just like Ville. Big cheeks, round face. It's where my blond hair comes from (which is of course highlighted every 4 months now).
And I learned a pile of interesting things that I'm excited to share with you.
First, Luonto means Nature in Finnish. This means, their furniture is 60 – 100% environmentally friendly. There's a range because you can specify how green you want your furniture to be. It's all handmade and custom. It takes about 10 – 12 weeks from ordering.
This company is 50 years old and they have 700 stores worldwide. They are the biggest sofa manufacturer in Finland. They are really proud of the fact that many of their employees have worked there over 30 years.
This is how fast you can turn this sectional into a sleeper (above right). And there's storage underneath it as well.
Take a wild guess which colours are the most popular.
White and grey. He says blue and turquoise are the most popular when people choose colour.
He said Finns are conservative (as I well know) and are slow to pick up on trends. If Milan shows a new trend, it takes approximately two years for that trend to come to Finland.
I asked which colour is the MOST popular right now and he said WHITE. It was Cognac for the past 15 years but now white. Of course, this is no surprise since that's what we're doing here in America as well.
But if you want a white sofa, you can get one in a fabric that can remove stains like magic:
Just a little water and a quick scrub and it's gone. Poof.
Birch trees are everywhere in Finland. There are real trees and real grass vignettes in the showroom. It's real because they are committed to maintaining the look and feel of organic and green products.
So that's the story of my first sponsored manufacturer! How many of you have heard of Luonto! More to come from High Point! xo Maria
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