One of the wonders in Imatra is Virkkukoukkunen, created in 1993 by its founder and CEO Tiina Kärkäs. The goal of Virkkukoukkunen is to bring color into the world with funny hand-drawn products, and the Finnish name is an allusion both to crocheting, which Tiina loves, and the vivacity of the products – it is easy to get hooked on them! The majority of the Virkkukoukkunen products are made in the company workroom in Imatra without using a template. The store also carries a myriad of other interesting decoration and novelty items.
The CEO of Virkkukoukkunen, Tiina Kärkäs, graduated as an artisan from Lappeenranta College of Crafts and Design in 1992. She set up her first Koukkunen in her parents’ hallway while still in school, and the year after her graduation she established her official business. Tiina, colorful and laughing, gets to live her dream by doing work that she loves, because every drawn and painted, cheerfully joyful product by Koukkunen is her handiwork. Tirehtööri is a jolly character whose imagination seems to know no limits at all! Tiina is a sought-after lecturer in many kinds of corporate events and seminars, and as she is a charming persona, she strengthens the faith in entrepreneurship. In its 30-year anniversary, Imatran Seudun Kehitysyhtiö rewarded Tiina Kärkäs as an exemplary entrepreneur, who, as an entrepreneur in the artisanal sector, has with her innovativeness gained the popularity of the wider public and increased her business by developing products and making the right strategic solutions. The company highlights the spirit of South Karelia, the products are unique and mass-produced, and the company has found its place in the market.
In November of 2010, Virkkukoukkunen moved into its current, larger premises, which delighted the customers. The comments on the company’s Facebook page said, for example, the following: “The shop is so great! As soon as I stepped in, I felt like being in a fairytale.”; “I’ll be damned! It looks so awesome!! It’s so nice that the products have the chance to be displayed well now.”; “A beautiful boutique!”; “Well done, you’ve worked really hard!”
In addition to Tiina, Virkkukoukkunen employs four workers regularly and also substitutes during summer holidays. Virkkukoukkunen invests in its workers, and the work atmosphere is excellent.
Virkkukoukkunen constantly develops new things. In 2015 they opened a new online shop, and they do a roaring trade! The company has several retail dealers, and the products have found their way into chain stores as well, the latest hit being a Virkkukoukkunen coloring book in the S-chain stores.
With Tiina Kärkäs’s words: The happy journey continues towards new adventures!