It all began with a Tinder date. A shared experience of life sliding into a perfunctory, meaningless void. A shared, frenzied belief that there is some good among the failures – a desire to change the world. A fiery anger about all the indifference and bickering that drive societies to irrational decisions and humans to the brink of hatred and doom, even though we live in the most abundant period of history.
Out of perfectionism, curiosity, analytical deliberation, more than a few stumbles, a roaring thirst and an ironclad vision, Väisänen Design was born.
We are from a small town in Northern Europe, from a land of 187 888 lakes, from the forest. We are shy and we are direct. We sauna in the nude. We can’t do small talk. We value:
Aesthetics – the experience of visual satisfaction
Functionality – a carefully thought-out product with a clear purpose, made without compromise
Personality – courage to bring one’s strengths to bear
Our batches are small and we do not manufacture products in cheap production countries. We design all of our products ourselves and we strive to keep the entire manufacturing process in Finland. We also create unique items. Our commitment to sustainable values further extends to product packaging: our products come in functional packages that can also be used as a bag, purse or storage box. We try to minimise the amount of packaging material that ends up as waste or in the recycling bin. We want to do things well, right and with care. We are tired of trivial babble. Justice and equality between people are self-evident truths. Trying to understand one another, to come together and to listen, those are the most important things. Except when the other person is wrong.
Each year we donate 5 % of our company’s profit to a charity chosen for that year. We look for projects that support globally sustainable and constructive development, such as providing education for girls in the most poverty-stricken parts of the world.
As a young man I was interested in sports cars, action films and naked women. I was constantly drawing skulls. I knew I was a very original, different young man, but back then I didn’t yet know that I was also a pirate captain.
In my twenties I had three daughters and sometime later a son. I quite enjoyed making babies. It was in those days that I got a job as a designer with a Finnish jewellery company. I still design jewellery for Lumoava, a Finnish jewellery brand that I helped build from the ground up.
Every day I try to grow up. Maybe tomorrow it will happen. Yeah, the risk is real. That’s why you have to do all sorts of stupid, crazy and beautiful things, ignoring all boundaries. But you still have to remember to brush your teeth and go to sleep. Without any routines one might slip to the bottom. I tried that once.
Besides jewellery, I have always been very drawn to photography, architecture, interior decoration, graphic design and design in general, and I had a long-lasting dream of building a brand of my own. But for that I needed a partner. I knew I was bad at scheduling and organising, making decisions and handling the financial side.
Then on a sunny summer’s day I ran into this crazy, redheaded sage – I had never seen anything like her. She was wonderful. I found myself eating my words about never marrying again. And so began a new chapter in my life, and the pirate captain, sword in hand, was ready for another adventure.
I had been involved in research and development projects in the ICT sector for a long time. I always had a grasp on numbers, schedules and processes. But the creative side of me kept bubbling up and I could no longer resist the path that inevitably led me to the edge of a cliff, and to a jump into a new unknown.
I needed to focus more on loving all of life’s beautiful things: art, music, literature, films, architecture, design – everything that speaks to the soul more than the hottest trends in business management or information system problems in critical infrastructure. I dreamed of having my own workshop somewhere by the lake, where I’d sell home-made moss mats, summer dresses sewn of inherited lace, and tiny heart-shaped boxes made from the fabric of a vintage sofa.
As I was paying my bills, I came to the conclusion that this would not be financially viable.
Then I met this artist, and poof! Suddenly we had everything we needed: the designer and the project manager, the idea man and the realist, the nutcase and the crazy person, the pirate captain and the kitty cat, the drifter and the choir girl. And we would never have to compromise again, stuck in the odourless and flavourless wheels of stiff organisations.
Indeed, life is not odourless, nor is it flavourless. I still have a grasp on numbers, schedules and processes. Meetings and invoicing. Plans and responsibilities. I am a mother (and stepmother) to a total of six under-aged children, and one over-aged one. Yes, it’s true. I love a man who – um – calls himself the pirate captain.