Wood frames with a rockstar mentality

The fine-tuning of products comes naturally to Matti Hänninen, founder of Kraa Kraa Eyewear.

Imagine the life of a new entrepreneur in town. Everybody keeps telling you to start locally and work hard. After years, if you sell well enough, you could begin to think about conquering the world.

Kraa Kraa Eyewear, a manufacturer of wood frames for eyeglasses since 2012, has proved the theory wrong. It’s a company of two guys based in Tampere, manufacturing 430 wood frames a year. Small? Definitely. Local? Not only. Kraa Kraa Eyewear have already made their way onto the German, Hong Kongese and Japanese markets.

There is a market for niche merchandise, if you’re willing to look way outside your own town. Matti Hänninen reveals why finding customers from abroad turned out to be the correct decision for them: “Our customers desire unique products, something that their friends don’t have – yet. Therefore, it is an asset to be a small manufacturer from a foreign country.”

Passion is also key. Matti confesses having spent part of Christmas in the shop, experimenting with different materials and techniques. Kraa Kraa Eyewear is renowned for its quality, for which they also gained recognition at the Red Dot Product Design competition.

What tips would Matti give to those dreaming of a craft-selling entrepreneurship? How to go abroad, even if you’re small? “Choose a product you’re truly excited about. Even if your business idea will never fly, you won’t regret spending so much time, money and effort on it”, Matti replies and adds, “Sometimes you have to do things like a rockstar, say, spend 10 000 euros on something that takes your business forward. Remember, you’re never alone. Seek advice, but trust your own instincts as well.”

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