Behind the Brand: Reima
For more than 70 years, Reima has worked for the joy of outdoor play. And today, the company continues to have the goal of being the world’s leading expert in children’s outdoor clothing. We had a chat with RIIKA PAAKKUNAINEN, COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER at REIMA, to hear more about work on this objective, the company’s history, and its future plans.
HI REIMA AND RIKKA! LOVELY TO HAVE YOU HERE FOR A BRAND TALK. HOW ARE YOU?
“Thanks for having us, and thanks for asking! Luckily, we’re really well under the circumstances, which have been demanding. I hope you’re well, too.”
DESCRIBE REIMA IN THREE WORDS.
“Fair, spirited, uncomplicated. And I’d say trustworthy and honest, too. Strength and courage is our attitude - Reima means spirited in English. And uncomplicated reflects lightness, no unnecessary washing and simplicity, no unnecessary frills.”
WHERE DOES YOUR LOVE FOR CHILDREN’S CLOTHING COME FROM, WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
“When we started, we had a nation whose mothers had the opportunity to try out work and wanted to continue to build careers. Large age groups were born, and they needed factory-made clothes that were affordable, yet durable enough and of sufficiently high quality for healthy outdoor activities and fast-paced play in kindergarten and in the countryside. You could say that we still do the same thing, with an even bigger heart, because it’s not a given that today’s children can be out and exercise as much as they need for their health.”
WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE? WHAT CAN WE EXPECT NEXT?
“Slowing the pace of climate change is our absolute top priority. This means reducing consumption. We test solutions that promote the recycling of clothes and we’re constantly increasing the proportion of recycled and organic material in our products. In addition, of course, strong, durable classic models form the backbone of our sales.”
TELL US ABOUT REIMA. HOW DID EVERYTHING START AND WHERE ARE YOU NOW?
“Everything happened towards the end of the second world war in 1944, when there was a shortage of textiles. Our new clothing factory in Kankaanpää, Finland began to use the military’s old snow wear and tents to make new materials from them. From there, we’ve come a long way from offering clothing to the whole family, to making professional sportswear, and in 2004, we decided to focus exclusively on children’s clothing. I think this was the smartest decision we’ve made because we’ve grown steadily ever since.”
HOW DO YOU DEFINE THE FEEL OF THE NEW COLLECTION?
“Nature has been a source of inspiration, the Nordic forests and especially one of its cutest heroes, the playful otter. The colour scale for Reima’s outfits is traditionally much more sporty and bright, but now we also have more earthy shades. A novelty and specialty is the adult jacket Innostus, which we are really happy and proud of - for the first time in 17 years, mothers can now also enjoy the same Reima quality as their children!”
DO YOU HAVE A CORPORATE PHILOSOPHY?
“We manufacture products for children, so everything starts with them - their health and their futures are the most important things for us. Today, the world is changing rapidly and you have to keep pace with the changes. We have a very uncomplicated and flat, fast-paced organization. This is the root of the very popular Reima proverb ‘it’s easier to obtain forgiveness than permission’.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO PROMOTE IT?
“You could argue that sustainability is really deeply encoded in Reima’s DNA: as in the durability of our responsibility, and as in the durability of our clothing, which is intrinsically our responsibility. No product can be described as being sustainable if it does not withstand use or washing and is not suitable for its intended use, or if its design dates very quickly. In other words, washable classics are our strong suit. And if responsibly produced and/or recycled materials have still been used in a product, we’ll leave our children with more than just rubbish.”
CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT THE PROCESS OF CREATING A NEW COLLECTION?
“Well, our designers listen carefully to feedback from our retailers and consumers, study forecasts, and think about what our own synthesis of all this would be. A touch of creativity, dreams, and then it’s born, with everything working as a team. We design our models ourselves, so our process is quite different from some clothing brands that only send sketches to the contracted manufacturer.”
ONE LAST QUESTION, IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WOULD LIKE TO RECOMMEND?
“We’d recommend our new adult jacket Innostus just because mothers can now also experience Reima’s great quality. And perhaps complete the look with a pair of shoes in our largest sizes! For children, I’d recommend Kulkija, and for them to register their jacket so that they can follow where the jacket goes next when they grow out of it and is given to its next owner.”