GUEST BLOG POST: FROM INTERNATIONAL TO LOCAL (& BACK AGAIN?)

Guest blog, Minja

Minja Kivinen, MD, Junet

Guest blogger: Minja Kivinen, Managing Director, Oy Jurva Network Ltd

Junet, also known as Jurva Network Ltd, was founded in 1993 by five furniture factories 22 years ago. Junet is a joint venture combining the best competences of each owner company. Through this network based cooperation Junet created a leading Finnish furniture brand.

Junet’s core value is practical wooden furniture, with designs that are pleasing to the eye, based on Finnish design and quality craftmanship. Junet furniture production is responsible and transparent. The products are manufactured in Jurva, Western Finland, using local materials and the long tradition of wood craftsmanship in the local area.

Junet’s launch at the Cologne furniture exhibition was fast and successful, creating 1 million Finnish mark sales in central Europe. Junet’s combination of modern Finnish design and build-quality was, at the time, something totally new and interesting. European markets were still quite closed, and cheap, mass-production of low cost furniture wasn’t there yet.

After a few very successful years market suddenly changed. The European Union started to expand and borders opened. Despite of existing customer relationships in German speaking Europe, Junet lost it’s market share to cheaper products with similar, copied designs imported from East-European countries. Junet tried to resist this competition by cultivating its project business; selling furniture for hotels and other public spaces. Although this market valued quality over price, eventually we had to admit that Junet wasn’t competitive anymore, even in that sector.

Unfortunately, Junet has not yet rebuilt that export business, export currently accounts for 1-2% of income. This is mainly achieved via international webshops like www.monoqi.com and is driven by good product photos, description texts and creating a stylish brand image – which Monoqi is very strong at. These online sales are growing rapidly, however actual sales revenue is still small.

We have strongly focused on Finnish market, in the home furniture and public spaces décor sectors, however now it’s about time to re-think. Should Junet have a new strategy of internationalizing? Would direct sales and attending international exhibitions still work? Or should international sales be created via internet sales directly from Finland? Possibly a combination if all three but, for now, these questions still need to be answered.

See Junet’s range of furniture here

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