Lapuan Kankurit to make a 1.5 million euro investment in Finland in 2016-2018
This innovative export company is making a massive investment of more than 1.5 million euros at its weaving mill in Lapua. By doing so, Lapuan Kankurit is proving that the textile industry in Finland is alive and well.
Esko Hjelt, the CEO of Lapuan Kankurit, is putting corporate responsibility into action and believes that the inspiring story of Finnish know-how will bear fruit worldwide. His belief is backed up by hard facts: over the last accounting period alone, the company's exports grew by 50%, and now make up more than half of its revenue of 4.7 million euros. The company's designer textiles are selling particularly well in Asia and Central Europe.
"We stand out in the global market, because we have woven truly forward-looking characteristics into our fabrics and we offer high-quality, well-finished designs. Our whole business concept is based on our own production, continuous product development, cooperation with top designers and our own technical innovations," says Hjelt.
Known for their beautiful bathroom, place setting and wool products, Lapuan Kankurit have received awards over the last couple of years for their Dora Jung damask tablecloths and napkins, their washed linen, their absorbent bathroom textiles made of a mix of linen and tencel, and their new kinds of light-weight wool blankets, to name just a few. In 2014, the company won the esteemed Taito-Finlandia Award.
Large investments bring jobs for locals
To ensure continuous product development and growth, the family business with 4.7 million euros of revenue wants to invest more than a million euros specifically in Finland over the next two years.
"We will be investing in our core know-how: the extension of the weaving mill in Lapua, the preliminary work stages of weaving, new jacquard looms, fabric finishes and data transfer," Hjelt explains.
The European suppliers of the weaving mill's machinery and equipment are an important part of Lapuan Kankurit's network of partners. Together with local mechanical engineering and installation experts in South Ostrobothnia, the machine manufacturers make a valuable contribution to product innovations at the company's weaving mill in Lapua. The investments will expand the mill by about a third, with a local building company in charge of the construction. In terms of building materials and equipment, Lapuan Kankurit puts its trust in Finnish suppliers. The neighbouring area has plenty of building expertise and building material and equipment industry on offer.
Last year, Lapuan Kankurit moved their factory outlet into larger, stunning facilities at the Cultural Centre Vanha Paukku, located in an old factory in Lapua, and their flagship shop in Helsinki to new, larger facilities on Katariinankatu. This year, the company has started a factory extension and upgraded its website.
Skilful workers and traceability
Textile companies that purchase their production tend to decentralise their manufacture, making it a long global chain, but as Lapuan Kankurit own their own production facilities they do not have to do this. In order to ensure the traceability of the whole chain of production, Lapuan Kankurit intend to keep control of their operations also in the future, from yarn to ready products.
The raw material can make or break the end product.
"We know the makers of our products and we are proud of their expertise. As well as our own professionals, our certified European yarn suppliers play an important role in our product development. The linen fibre we use is 100% European, and our yarn is dyed in our European yarn suppliers' own dye-houses and domestically in our neighbouring municipality of Lappajärvi," Hjelt explains.
The most important part of the textile production, i.e. weaving, mainly takes place at the company's own factory in Lapua. Assembly by sewing is performed at their subcontracted sewing shops in the neighbouring area and at their associated company's premises in Lithuania. In addition to the 25 experts at their own weaving mill, Lapuan Kankurit has a wide network of professionals in Finland, including suppliers of equipment and material, and also experts in marketing and technology.
"Although we operate globally these days, we want to continue to provide employment for people in Finland and in this way to implement our corporate responsibility," says Hjelt. "I firmly believe that the basic concepts behind Lapuan Kankurit's business operations will carry us through also in the future: keeping control of our own production, continuous product development, our own technical innovations and collaboration with top designers."