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Népra - European brand with a Finnish identity

12.4.2016 13:20 | Uutinen

Previous students from Lahti University of Applied Sciences Anna-Mari Niutanen and Essi Enqvist were building an active wear brand last year that is based on an ideology of holistic minimalist and ethical thinking.

Anna-Mari has studied international business in the faculty of business and Essi is a textile and clothing engineer. These young entrepreneurs think that in Népra combines the best sides of Lahti UAS.

- In Lahti UAS, there is the freedom to choose from many fields. It might be a good idea to use this diversity more inside the university too, says Anna-Mari and Essi.

Business partner was found from Lahti UAS

The story of Népra began in February 2015 in Karlsruhe, where Anna-Mari was living after doing a semester, internship and a bachelor’s thesis in Germany. She came up with the idea of an ethical active wear brand when she was trying to figure out, how to combine all of her interests. After making some research about the topic, Anna-Mari noticed that her abilities were not strong enough to build a brand alone. She contacted Lahti UAS in order to find a partner in the field of textiles. 

Essi Enqvist

Even though the idea wasn’t completely ready at the time, Essi Enqvist got excited about it and these young ladies started their cooperation in June 2015 at a start-up institute LADEC in Lahti. The incubator was a safe place to start developing the idea with a total stranger. As incredible as it sounds, Anna-Mari and Essi haven’t looked back. From the very beginning they have been able to find their way to build the brand together. The main success factor here has been the attempt to build the organisation on constructive communication and mutual understanding. That is why the idea has developed rapidly and the company was founded in November 2015.

The work has been divided according to the strengths and interests of each person. Anna-Mari is responsible for the organization, strategy and marketing. Her strengths include especially managing the big picture. Essi is responsible for product development and production. She has a special talent for details and visuals. Despite the size of the team, there are various skills at Népra. The strengths of the two founders complete each other’s weaknesses.

“Founding a company was the best way to get employed”

There are four products in the collection at the moment. The mission is to create durable and timeless active wear for both men and women. A typical Népra user is a 25-34 year-old young adult who is interested in holistic wellbeing and a conscious consumer.

The material for the products comes from Italy, the designs and patterns are made in Finland and the production is in Estonia. There are lots of quality textile industry left in Europe so the local production was a natural choice for the ladies. Transparency of the supply chain is important and at the moment the processes are known all the way to the fabric making.

Anna-Mari Niutanen

The goals have been set high. Népra has a Finnish identity but a European mind-set.  Almost half of the users are from Germany and the other half is from Finland. The brand fundamentals are at a good level and now the young entrepreneurs are working on connections and gaining awareness. Anna-Mari and Essi agree that founding a company was the best way to get employed, despite of the few difficult moments. Both of them have been able to use their strengths and talents but through each other’s work and collaboration developing the weaknesses too.