Courage to see, desire to do

Kirsi Paakkari, CEO of Kalevala Jewelry, tells how the company has, despite the hard times, implemented the necessary measures for growth, strengthened its position as a pioneer of the circular economy, and achieved great results in charity projects.

Over the past few years, almost all things and privileges that were previously taken for granted, such as affordable and sufficient access to electricity and access to healthcare, have been called into question. Consumers persist with price increases and increased interest rates. Companies are competing fiercely for declining consumer demand. However, this is the world we live in and we have to clear our way forward from this, no matter how impossible it seems.

As CEO, I have a particularly big role and responsibility to make the right solutions in this foggy situation, which will ensure the future of our company and the preservation of our jobs.

When I started in February 2019, I was able to get to know the history of the company properly and I felt enormous pride in what kind of company I had been chosen to lead and what kind of task I had been given. Not only creating profitable growth, but further refining the heritage of Elsa Heporauta and the iconic Kalevala brand and passing it on to the next generations even more brilliantly.

The value base of the company founded by Elsa Heporauta in 1937, social responsibility and Finnish craftsmanship, has not dimmed at all, but is even more relevant today.

Elsa, the first CEO Aino-Mari Mecklin, and the following CEOs have boldly and without prejudice developed and innovated, with success and sometimes failure, the Kalevala brand, which today almost all Finns know.

This achievement has not come easily, as previous CEOs have also had to create in tough waves, e.g. in the middle of war and depression, but always found a way out of the predicament. Kalevala Jewelry's CEOs have been women since the beginning, who in their own time served as role models and paved the way for women's right to work in business as equals with men.

I have had my share of challenging times, as the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the war in Gaza have forced me to constantly adapt to unpredictable situations and change plans on the fly. Although our tough growth goal has moved further from year to year, we have boldly and systematically implemented the measures required for growth and achieved great successes, which can be considered intermediate steps towards significant growth.

Kalevala Preloved

One example of adaptation and quick response is our Kalevala Preloved secondhand concept launched in November 2022.

Preloved has quickly become an essential part of our circular economy concept and growth strategy. Part of our responsible business is that we do not only focus on making new jewelry, but also invest in extending the life cycle of existing jewelry. We have our own maintenance service, which is known for its high quality, and we refurbish all used jewelry before we put it on sale as Preloved.

Our goal is that in 2030, 25% of the volume of our own stores and our online store comes from Kalevala Preloved.

Through education, students are able to build sustainable well-being and change the world.


Charity in the DNA

Since its foundation, the core of Kalevala Jewelry has been to support those in the weakest position, especially women and girls , and we have proudly continued that work.

In 2020, with our support, the Kalevala Training Center was built in Kenya, from which 398 young women have graduated in three years. 80% of them have founded a company, found a job or continued their studies. Through education, students are able to build sustainable well-being and change the world.

In 2022, with our support, Rusetti ry built the vammaisettyttö website, which is disabled girls' own media — on the website, disabled girls themselves produce content for disabled people. The goal of our cooperation is to make disabled people visible.

Our stories and actions are still relevant

Our stories and actions are still very relevant. This is shown both by Iran's courageous demonstrations to defend women's interests and the EU's quota directive, which represents the other extreme, to increase the share of women in the management of listed companies and large companies.

The power of networks and communities, whether they are forces fighting for a common cause, friends, schoolmates or work-related networks, has not disappeared anywhere over the decades.

The courage to see and the desire to do things in a new way

When I started blogging, I thought about who I was directing my words to. I am writing to you - Whether you are our customer and a jewelry wearer, our employee and proud of domestic craftsmanship, a retailer and our partner - a sharer of common values. I'm also writing to you, who haven't found us yet, but whose heart beats for responsibility and charity without sacrificing beauty. I write for people who are united by the courage to see and the desire to do things in a new way.

Author of the article: Kirsi Paakkari

Peek into the world of Kalevala

Kalevala jewelry is a timeless design. They are like miniature sculptures, meant to be used from everyday to festivities, year after year - every day.

Go and see what the world of Kalevala looks like.