Unlock global markets with international experts

Finnish design has long traditions and a great reputation worldwide creating an excellent basis for boosting export efforts. In order to sell in foreign markets, it’s crucial to understand the buyer’s mindset. That is why the knowledge of different cultures becomes one of the seller’s most important skills. 

On international markets, Finland might not be as well-known as the other Nordic countries. Nonetheless, products that have been designed here have a solid, positive reputation, say Tiphaine Delecour and Gino Turri, Key Account Managers at bath product brand Luin Living.  

Finnish products are valued and deeply associated with responsibility and sustainability, as is the case often with Nordic brands. 

– When customers hear about the Finnish origin of a product, the feedback is usually entirely positive. A higher price is considered acceptable most often because of the good reputation, Turri says. 

Customer insight is the key 

Even though the Finnish textile industry has a great reputation, when it comes to marketing and sale in a globalised market, customer insight is at the heart of it all. It is important invest in the knowledge of cultural differences and specific consumer characteristics in different market areas. 

– You cannot just rush into selling your product everywhere, Delecour says. – You need to know what people like and think is appropriate. 

Delecour illustrates this by using her home country of France as an example. The northern part has completely different preferences from the south. This is, at least in part, attributable to the climate. Heavy textiles do not sell in areas where people are acclimated to hot weather conditions. There are also major cultural differences. 

– Our product range features, for example, men’s wrap towels that can be attached around the waist. It’s a difficult product to sell in the south of France because it is considered too feminine. 

Of course language skills give an advantage when it comes to import and export between different cultures. Turri would, though, like to emphasise that even if you are completely fluent in a language, the clientele of a certain market area might still have habits and customs that you may find hard to understand as an outsider. 

– It is not impossible, but it requires a longer stay at the location, Turri says. A salesperson of the same origin has a clear advantage. 

Luin Living

International experts bring market knowledge 

Market knowledge essential to export can be acquired through data or technology, or by hiring international experts, like Delecour and Turri, who know the market. 

They both have a background in the tourism industry, studies in the field and also work experience in the industry. In the human-centred field of tourism, empathy and listening to the client are key skills. 

– If you don’t already have those skills, you will learn them the hard way in this business, Delecour says. 

Empathy and listening to the client are needed also in the textile industry where traditionally the focus has been on the actual product, the materials and the manufacturing methods. When you are negotiating, you will benefit from knowing people’s mindset and way of thinking. 

– It’s not enough to know what kind of products people might like. You need to think of dealing with a client as a process. In household textiles this is especially important as people buy products occasionally and use them for a long time. It’s about the customer service, Delecour says. 

Selling is, according to both Delecour and Turri, largely about creating a customer experience. Instead of the product, they place emphasis on the customer in the sales process. This is where their knowledge of the tourism industry has been useful. 

– Customer service is the be-all and end-all in tourism. You cannot manage without it unless your prices are really low, Turri summarises. 

Good customer service is an integral part of the customer experience. According to Delecour and Turri this is something that is still in its infancy in Finland. In Germany people say in a light-hearted manner that when it comes to customer service, Finland is as dry as a desert. 

– This is not, of course, the case with all companies, but there are some that could do better, Turri says and considers customer service knowledge as the greatest asset he and Delecour possess. 

Finland is a great country to work in 

Different paths in life have led Delecour and Turri to Finland and in the textile business. Delecour first came to Finland to work as an au pair and then studied here strategic business development. Turri, on the other hand, found a Finnish spouse, and after spending years in the tourism industry in London, ended up raising his family in Finland. 

What makes the working culture attractive in Finland is honesty, the straightforward style of communication and the uncomplicated nature of everyday life. There is a healthy balance between work and leisure time. In central Europe working days tend to get long and you don’t always get paid for overtime. 

– Everyday life here is so much less stressful than in London, Turri says. – At least if you disregard the weather and the long, dark winter! Fortunately, work keeps you busy during the winter. 

Even though there is competition in the business, you will do well with an open mind and great passion. 

You don’t have to be an expert in textiles if you have a passion for your own specialist field.

– You don’t have to be an expert in textiles if you have a passion for your own specialist field. You will then certainly find your place in the business, Delecour states. – You will be able to adjust your competence to fit into a broader framework. Just do it, make it fit! 


Read next

Fablehti.fi 12/21

6 Textile Fibre Innovations – Leading the Textile Industry Revolution 

Fablehti.fi 12/21

This Is Finnish Fashion – Past, Present And Future 

Fablehti.fi 12/21

From Waste to Booming Business – The Finns And Circular Economy of Textiles 

Are you interested to read more about textile & fashion industry?

Go to our Newsroom