Catching up with Consul General Mika Koskinen: Finnish company Reima introduces American and Canadian kids to functional and sustainable clothing
Finnish children’s clothing brand Reima is known for functional, year-round, and high-quality wear for kids. Mr. Todd Starcevich, Head of North America at Reima, tells Consul General Mika Koskinen how they’re conquering the US market with sustainability in focus.
Mika Koskinen: Reima is known for its durable, functional, year-round, and high-quality children’s clothing. Despite the harsh weather conditions, children in Finland tend to spend a lot of time outside. What kind of cultural challenges have you confronted in the North American market, and what is your message to the American consumers?
Todd Starcevich: The fact that Reima has over 75 years of experience making high-quality, sustainable clothing to empower children to explore their world means we have a great offering for any weather condition in the US and Canada. There are certainly some cultural differences in how, when, and where our clothes are worn, one of the largest differences is the tendency of the American consumer to avoid the outdoors in less than optimal weather conditions. We subscribe to the idea that there is no such thing as a bad weather day; the right clothing and gear means you can enjoy the outdoors in many conditions while staying warm, dry, and comfortable.
MK: Sustainability plays an important role in the core of your company. Could you, please, elaborate on its significance?
TS: Sustainability has been a core element of our brand since day 1.
Our very first snowsuits and winter jackets were recycled and reused garments from WW2. Since those early days, we have made clothing that lasts for generations, and with the advancement of modern innovations, we also make our clothing with a range of recycled materials, organic cotton, or mono-material construction to limit the impact of these products will have on the environment.
Also, because we are entirely focused on the child, we take extra care with the construction and make of our clothing, avoiding any harmful chemicals or materials.
MK: Reima has won the ISPO award(Link to another website.) for a fully recyclable jacket earlier this year. Could you tell us more about this award and the product behind it?
TS: The Reimatec jacket Muutun has won two highly appreciated awards in 2021 already: the ISPO Award and the Scandinavian Outdoor Award. Reima takes on recycling and re-use in several ways. Reima’s weatherproof mono-material contains recycled fibers, and they are 100% easily recyclable. Usually, clothes are made from many different materials and are therefore less valuable as raw material in recycling. Reima has changed this by developing mono-material products, like the Muutun jacket, for easier recycling. Moreover, the styles are versatile, which increases their usage time: the quilted mono-material warmer jackets are great early autumn outerwear on rainless days, and when worn under the waterproof shell jackets, the combination is equal to a winter coat.
MK: You have opened less than two years ago your online-shop in the United States. It has been very successful. What are your future plans in the US market?
TS: Reima has enjoyed early partnerships with some great retailers in the US and Canada, as well as a great business on Amazon and a direct-to-consumer online experience that has grown rapidly since its launch date. Our plans certainly are to focus on fueling the growth in all of these channels and ensure we can reach new consumers across touchpoints. As we grow and build awareness for our great brand, we would love to look at the opportunity to create more amazing experiences for our existing and new consumers to enjoy Reima products and learn more about our rich history.
MK: Product safety has always been important for Reima and its customers. You have received recognition from the European Commission for your excellent work in this field. How will you continue to develop safety in your products?
TS: All Reima products are designed to be non-toxic and safe for children and meet every safety standard and regulation. This is constantly part of our design process, in the small details in the clothing designed specifically for kids and also in the materials we use. For example, Reima baby collection is produced according to the strictest safety standards. We use organic cotton, recycled materials, and merino wool. They’re clean enough for babies to chew.
MK: What kind of next steps are you eyeing for Reima once the pandemic is entirely over?
TS: The biggest opportunity is to encourage families to continue to explore and enjoy the outdoors. During the pandemic, one of the few places that remained open was the outdoors – families found the joy of hiking their neighborhoods or area trails, as well as other great outdoor experiences that were enjoyed while remaining safely distanced from others. Coming out of the pandemic, hopefully, families start to enjoy these experiences with each other in larger groups.
For friends of Finland here in the US, Reima offers a discount code on their products. Use code FINLAND30 for 30% off all purchases over $50 (excluding the Baby Box). Please use the code at the checkout at us.reima.com, valid until the end of October 2021.