What will happen to RIVA?
A question that has been heard from many mouths during the beginning of this year. Sometimes also from our own mouths. Today we will tell you comprehensively what is happening to RIVA. There have been enough changes during the spring, but in the last few days things have started to become more certain. Now the distribution of small pieces of information is over, here comes the whole truth!
We woke up to think about the future of our company last fall. At that point, RIVA had been running for about two and a half years. We began to question our company's operating methods and models more than before. Little by little, what we were doing started to feel like repeating itself, and not very pleasant like that anymore. New collection after collection, design of new prints and a new look for marketing. During the whole couple of years, we didn't have time to stop and think about what we really want to do. What's our thing? We decided that we wanted to create something completely new and permanent for us. Something durable that wouldn't need to be repackaged with each season.
The change came from our own lives. The desire to own a lot of clothes and material is always smaller. Quality over quantity, i.e. quantity does not replace quality, would describe this idea well. In our own purchasing decisions, we strive to buy only durable, high-quality and, if possible, domestic. We have become familiar with minimalism and found good points for a happy life. It doesn't matter how much you get paid or how many designer bags you have in your closet, but how nice it is to wake up on weekdays. How much do you have time to enjoy routines, your own things and how wonderfully simple life can be?
Our own life change has included a deliberate pruning of the wardrobe and probably dozens of IKEA bags that were thrown to the butcher. Kirppar has also ended up with a large part of the interior and many household items that we have not used. When we buy something, we want to invest in it: whether it's the perfect pair of Nilkkurs or the kitchen dining table (Artek 81B, we'll get you one day). But we will tell you more about our own thoughts later. Let's get back to the topic, i.e. how to conmarit RIVA?
We like clothes that are versatile, simple and beautifully designed. We also like ethically responsible clothes and environmentally friendly manufacturing methods. We also want to give our best to customers - what we do, we do it as well as possible. Since we want to do things exactly and not almost, we also decided to design our clothes ourselves, look for suitable fabrics and even use organic cotton. Although our products had good certificates, we wanted to be able to visit the factory ourselves and verify the matter on the spot. That's why our production is moving from Asia to Northern Portugal, to the Finnish Black Moda sewing factory. Now you might be thinking, where exactly did we find such a cooperative company? We will tell you.
Well, it all started one dark winter evening, when Riku was googling about making clothes. When we got to Black Moda's website, our first thought was that why haven't we found them before! "A Finnish family business. High quality is the basic premise of our company's operations. Ecology, ethics and clean production are the basis of Black Moda Oy's operations." Here are some phrases that first caught my eye from the company's website. We decided to send a message at the same time. At the same time, we crossed our fingers that we would get at least some kind of answer. Operating as a small company in a huge market is not always easy - at least in the early years. Then we left a message and called, of course, without an answer. It could perhaps be compared to sailing across Lake Jyväsjärvi with a jar of Mutti tomato paste.
But what else. Marko, CEO of Black Moda, answered us the same evening! It is said that they are not always reached during the same evening at 10:30 p.m., but this time Marko happened to be doing some extra work. However, Marko told us later when we met that they try to answer all e-mails as quickly as possible, within two days at the latest - even if they are not the right company for the needs of the questioner. The answer itself contained very good news: Black Moda might be the right partner for us! The message could be summed up in the last sentence of the email: "everything starts with the customer's wishes and we tailor our operations to that". In the message, we also asked about the working conditions of the seamstresses and the possibility of visiting Portugal in the future. Marko stated that of course you can go to the factory in Portugal, but it might be easier to get to know the materials in Pirkkala at first. We made an appointment a couple of weeks later. After that particular visit, we have driven to Pirkkala a second time and sent messages one way or the other.
The change in the way of working required a new way of thinking and new skills. From the first meeting, we were left with a few documents that we should produce. For example, measurement tables, serialization and a product card with details are quite essential in creating new clothes. Now someone might wonder, for a moment, that you weren't two tradenomists who measured at most the length of their dogs' nose shafts and tails (true story). And the truth is that we really didn't know anything. But fortunately, we can talk in the past tense, because we have learned an insane amount about clothes, unisex sizing, elastics and cotton weight during this early year! We have measured (after the dogs' tails) so many different sizes of shirts that you wouldn't even believe it. When we got our plans as far as possible, we consulted an experienced clothing designer. We may be crazy, but we're not stupid: we had to have a professional check our measurements to make sure we haven't messed with anything!
But, since we don't make clothes for ourselves but for you, we also wanted to ask your thoughts. Those who follow us on Instagram can probably already guess what we are talking about. We wanted to offer a solution to customers' problems. We were not asked the recipe for the perfect t-shirt, but on the contrary, the recipe for a bad t-shirt. It's easier to eliminate annoying factors than to create a t-shirt that "fits well" for everyone. In addition to the T-shirt, we also asked about College's annoying features. We received hundreds of responses, all of which were written down and tallied. Certain problem areas kept recurring and that's how we found the "most popular" problems to solve.
At the moment, the patterns are ready except for the last drawing, the example fabric pieces will soon be on their way to us and this month we will see the first real prototypes of the products! So soon we will see our own handprint for real. Three years ago, we didn't even dare to dream about this situation, so you can imagine that it's been quite a good time here. But that's just how things happen and here we are now - doing something completely new.
Our innovation in a nutshell:
- The production of our clothes will move even closer, to a Finnish-owned factory in Northern Portugal.
- We design our clothes ourselves, from start to finish. We get help with this from you in the form of opinions and from professionals in the form of tips. We will also develop products in the future based on your feedback and wishes.
- Our style becomes more minimalistic and versatile. Although we love every print, it can be difficult to combine them with many different outfits. We will also tell you more about the products themselves in future posts!
- We no longer make a new collection Four times a year. In the future, we will make timeless wardrobe cornerstones that can be used all year round. We want you to buy from us only when necessary.
- Our operations will be even more transparent, without forgetting the values that are important to us.
Can't we finally say that the winds of change are blowing! At the same time, we can formalize our brand change, these are pretty big things. Before the new products are launched, there will be several blog posts that deal with the upcoming change, its starting points, our own consumption philosophy and, of course, the clothes themselves. But here we go! Thank you for joining us on our journey towards the new and unknown. <3