Annaleena Hämäläinen

HAKOLA OY, CREATIVE DIRECTOR

 

The story of Hakola Huonekalu started thanks to my grandfather’s courage and ideas. My grandfather sought inspiration for his work from fairs in Copenhagen. Messukeskus and the Habitare fair have been important for our family for as long as I can remember. The fair is still important for the success of our family business.

From my childhood, I remember that the fair week felt very long to a young girl since it meant that dad was away from home for a whole week! However, it was very fun and exciting for my mom and us children to get to leave Ostrobothnia to go visit Helsinki for the weekend and attend the busy fair.

Ever since I was little, I was in awe of the atmosphere and the large crowds at the fair. I worked at Habitare alongside my father for the first time when I was 15 years old. I was responsible for serving savoury snacks and wine to the people visiting our stand. Since then, I have worked at every Habitare fair—for a total of 17 years.

 

“The fair week is the culmination of many things, and the fair also helps clarify the future direction of the company.”

 

When I decided to take over our family business and started managing Hakola, I made the decision to take our products online and open an online shop. However, at the fair we are able to meet our customers face-to-face—the same customers who would otherwise only do business with us online. There is no substitute for meeting in person. That is why Habitare is, without question, the most important fair for us.

We spend the whole year preparing for the fair. The fair week is the culmination of many things, and the fair also helps clarify the future direction of the company.

Now my own children come to the fair with me every year. In them, I see the same excitement I felt when I was little. Things have come full circle. The story of Hakola and Messukeskus continues.