Text: Marjaana Anttila
Calmness and silence. They are what the soundproofed workspaces of Taiga Concept, based in the Finnish City of Kuopio, are offering to workplaces. The two words do not, however, describe the company itself that focuses on growth and drive. ”We strive for explosive growth”, says Maarit Sinikangas, Managing Director of Taiga Concept.
The story of the family business started in 2015 when two friends, Tapani Laukkanen and Pekka Eskelinen, found that they shared the same passion: they wanted to create wooden products for the offices. It soon became apparent that there was a need especially for soundproofed facilities. The design was guided by Scandinavian clarity, premium quality and closeness to nature.
At the end of 2017, Maarit Sinikangas joined her brother in the family business. The plan was clear: get the investors involved and direction abroad. At that time, the net sales were EUR 600,000. The company raised EUR 1.3 million in two share issues. Investors’ confidence is proved by the fact that the target of EUR 580,000 in the first round was raised in 1.5 hours.
Last year, the company focused on building the foundation for growth. The product family was refined and now covers products from a square-meter telephone booth to over seven square-meter modular space. At the same time, sales channels were opened to the world. Net sales for the year remained low, but the investment was profitable.“It looks like we’re going to see a 1000 percent growth this year”, Sinikangas says. The goal for the coming years is to multiply turnover annually.
Sinikangas praises a good team that has found both the know-how and the passion to work for growth. The company currently employs about 15 people and is recruiting continuously. Growth is particularly directed abroad. In the summer, Taiga Concept signed a distributor agreement with Asia-based Steelcase Inc., which has over 800 distributors worldwide, in addition to its online store. “Right now we have products in Australia and the Philippines and India has started to pull as well”, says Sinikangas.
Sinikangas points out that in Asia people are working in increasingly tight conditions. 42 decibels soundproofed Taiga Concept spaces are therefore warmly welcomed.
Upgrading the meeting rooms
Although Europe and America are also important markets for the Taiga Concept, the domestic market has not been forgotten. “Customer relationships are very important to us. We have had good, big customers in Finland, like Nordea Bank”, says Maarit Sinikangas.
During the spring renovation of Nordea Kuopio, two 5.2 square meters of meeting space and three 2.5 square meters of office space were installed on the bank’s premises. Three of the walls are of white laminate-coated MDF. There is a soundproofing membrane inside the glass wall and acoustic panels on the walls. Roof fans circulate the air from outside.
“After all, this is a clear upgrade to our meeting facilities. Compared to previous traditional screens, these spaces are clearly better soundproofed, have good ventilation and have adequate lighting”, says Jari-Pekka Raatikainen, Director of Nordea’s Kuopio office.
Because of the optimized build-up, it only took a few days to complete the entire project. “I was surprised at how quickly the facilities were put in place. It was important that the installation was quick and noiseless as the office was always in operation”, says Raatikainen.
He reveals that “the Cubes”, as named by the employees, support Nordea’s idea of using space as flexibly as possible. Larger cubes hold small group meetings and customer meetings. Smaller spaces have been used, for example, for web conferencing or development discussions – cases when there was more need for privacy. The only alteration after installation is the plastic film mounted in the middle of the glass wall. Sight protection ensures banking secrecy.
Sustainability as a guideline
According to Jari-Pekka Raatikainen, the locality of the Taiga Concept was important in choosing the supplier, but the product also had to meet the Group’s requirements for responsibility. Maarit Sinikangas emphasizes that sustainability has always guided the company’s operations and nature is an important part of the company’s brand. The most popular coating on the walls of modular spaces is spruce veneer. “We want to use real wood. Our customers recognize the value of genuine wood and how nature brings prosperity to offices”, Sinikangas explains.
In addition to Finland, facilities are manufactured in Estonia, Lithuania, Vietnam and China. All manufacturers are audited and the materials used meet environmental requirements. According to Sinikangas, it was a a strategic choice to manufacture as close to customers as possible, as it reduces the carbon footprint.
Sustainability is also supported by the flexibility of the premises. The width is constant, but if necessary, the small space can be increased almost infinitely by adding modules between the end walls.”As the company grows, the larger premises are needed”, Sinikangas points out.