Tiina Hakala’s company is taking over Finland with glitter and flower wreaths

Oct 28, 2022

Tiina Hakala has taken an interesting path as an entrepreneur, from London and her own jewellery collection to glitter makeup. The best business ideas have been created by bold experimentation.

If you have seen spectacular glitter makeup, tattoos and body decorations at festivals and corporate events, you have probably come across the business idea of Tiina Hakala from Helsinki. Established in 2016, Glitternisti was the first company in Finland to specialise in glitter and has expanded its operations from the Helsinki Metropolitan Area to Turku, Tampere and Oulu.

“We practically started with B2B sales when companies ordered us to their parties. We gained an advantage because there were no other companies offering similar services at the time,” Tiina says.

She remembers immediately noticing the miraculous power of glitter: glittering skin makeup made adults act spontaneously and increased their self-confidence. Glitternisti’s largest customer group is still people between 24 and 34 years of age. The busiest sales period coincides with summer and the festivities towards the end of the year.

“Nowadays, we are also investing more and more in children’s birthday parties in order to spread our sales more evenly throughout the year. Our online shop, which sells glitter makeup, also helped during the pandemic, as our sales faded when there were no events.”

In addition to Tiina Hakala herself, Glitternisti employs one permanent employee and thirty temp workers.

“I manage the administrative side of the company and train all our new employees so that they become familiar with the company and the quality criteria are met.”

Entrepreneurship started with titiMadam

Over the past few years, Glitternisti has expanded its business to include flower wreaths. The new business idea came about by chance, when a customer asked Glitternisti before Midsummer if they could deliver wreaths as headdresses.

“The idea was quickly refined into the Kukkaseppele workshop, where we teach our customers to make their own wreaths. We bring all the supplies, so this is a nice service for bachelorette parties, for example.”

Tiina admits that she is easily excited and tests ideas with a low threshold. She took the first steps in entrepreneurship fourteen years ago, while studying furniture design in Kent, England. Together with fellow student Adam Rowe, Tiina Hakala ended up designing a jewellery set made of acrylic, titiMadam, which became a hit.

At its best, titiMadam was sold at over 70 points around the world.

“That product was something new, too, because laser cutting had become a manufacturing method just then and the product took off fast.”

Tiina Hakala

Tiina Hakala.

Aiming for exit in the future

In the early years of the jewellery family, Tiina Hakala was a familiar face on the pages of Finnish women’s magazines. Afterwards, Tiina has wondered whether titiMadam became too closely associated with her.

“If you want to sell a company at some point, it’s not necessarily a good idea to build the brand around one person. With Glitternisti, I have deliberately put myself more in the background and let others handle even the social media.”

In the past year, Tiina has learned more about delegating work while on maternity leave with her little girl.

“Of course, as an entrepreneur, you are practically never on holiday, because you’re at least thinking about the company and its development all the time. But parenthood has made it clearer to me that there must be more to life than work,” Tiina admits.

She does not hesitate to say that she dreams of an “exit” at some point, of selling the company and starting to live more calmly.

“Even though I’ve managed to do a lot of things, deep down, I’m pretty lazy. Initially, I got excited about entrepreneurship because the work didn’t bind me to one place, but I could spend a couple of months in Asia, for example. I appreciate free time.”

A company is best built in the long term

Pia Partanen, Business Advisor at Business Helsinki, praises Tiina Hakala’s business strategy. Glitternisti has dared to take on new business ideas by listening to customers.

“If your business is heavily seasonal, you should consider at the outset how to make the company profitable enough during the off-season. For example, Glitternisti has expanded to children’s birthday parties and online sales, which are in demand all year round,” Partanen says.

Partanen has noticed that many entrepreneurs initially find it challenging to define the key idea of their business.

“It is often better to focus properly on one product group and service concept than to go to the market with five different business ideas. Nothing prevents you from realising your ideas at a later stage, once the company has been started up properly and is making profit.”

If the company expands and its business changes, the entrepreneur can later update the business description.

“Of course, when registering a company, you should think carefully about its name and make the business description as broad as possible so that it can be stretched if necessary,” Partanen says.

Long-term planning is also helpful if the entrepreneur’s goal is to sell the business later.

“It is important that the entrepreneur is aware of the company’s brand, key performance indicators and contracts from the outset. This also makes the company interesting and reliable when it is put up for sale.”

Business Helsinki offers help in starting up and developing a business. Book your business advisory session here.

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