From a soap experiment to an international organic cosmetics brand
Flow cosmetics originated from the founder Riitta Jänkälä's own cosmetics experiment in the home kitchen. The hobby soon turned into a job and grew into a business that employed almost the entire family. Today, the Flow Cosmetics range includes more than 100 hand-made skin care, hair care and make-up products made in the factory in Riihimäki. The products are sold in several different countries in addition to Finland.
Flow Cosmetics has been operating since 2004, and is one of the pioneers of natural cosmetics. In Riihimäki, handmade products have established themselves among quality-conscious consumers. The products are backed by solid cosmetics expertise, clean and high-quality, mostly organic ingredients and a genuine love for nature.
It all started with a bar of soap…
Riitta Jänkälä, the founder of Flow Cosmetics, was a busy career mother in the 90’s, who took care of the family and at the same time ran a hair salon with her sister in Vantaa and later in Hyvinkää. The rapid pace of life in Southern Finland took Riitta, who had grown up in the north, with her as the hairdressing and beauty care business grew. However, the longing for nature always felt in the background and at the turn of the millennium Riitta began to become more and more aware of the daily chemical cargo she encountered in her work.
“The plagues of the chemicals I constantly dealt with in my work and the synthetic smells of beauty products started to feel disgusting. A decent revival took place in the early 2000’s when I was at home part-time with my child. “Aromatherapy studies had led me to get acquainted with the healing effects of herbs and plants and to get acquainted with the natural cosmetics, which were poorly available in Finland at that time. I didn’t want my children to come in contact with unnecessary chemicals anymore, so I decided to try making lavender soap in my home kitchen myself. ”
The soap experiment was a success, with which, in addition to her work, Riitta began to develop other skin and hair care products for those who were initially familiar and for sale in the handicraft market. Around that time, small companies specializing in artisanal cosmetics were born around the world and the idea of subsistence by making organic cosmetics began to attract. The final decision to give up the hairdressing business was made in 2004, when Riitta founded the soap business as a business. A few years later came the daughter Suvi to accompany Riitta at her work, and little by little the rest of the family has ended up in one way or another into the Flown's activities.
Mother and daughter as a working couple
Riitta is an innovator who continues to formulate all products with confidence in her skills and experience, but above all, driven by strong intuition. Suvi, who has been responsible for marketing and selling since 2009, is the one who makes sure and sometimes even stops her mother from moving too fast.
"I am the sense, my mother is the emotion! Mom trusts her instincts and progresses effectively at a fast pace. She often knows immediately what she wants and why, I'm the more considering one of us. However, friction has never arisen, we complement and balance each other. It’s great to get to work on your own family, work doesn’t feel like work, but this is a way of life for us. Often, even in the cottage we envisions the future and plan new products together. ”
The everyday life of an entrepreneur
In 2014, the company faced a new kind of challenge. As demand increased, the old production facilities in Hyvinkää became cramped, leaving Riitta and Suvi with a difficult choice. One had to either move to larger premises and invest in more efficient equipment, or switch to subcontracting the manufacture of products, as many cosmetics companies do.
“The manufacturing of Flow products was temporarily outsourced - it was the worst mistake of my career! Customers noticed a difference in composition and quality and for the first time we started getting negative feedback on the products. Luckily we realized to pull the handbrake in time. I realized that efficiency and productivity are not the most important thing, and that our professionalism accumulated over the years was our greatest asset. Our thing is to manufacture the products from start to finish ourselves. Making by hand was crystallized at the core of Flow at the time, and it is this that has taken us to this point where we are now.”
New products and archive treasures
Riitta has always qualified only products that are so pure and natural that it can even be eaten. Furthermore, the main raw materials of the products include e.g. seed oils of various berries, flower extracts, coconut oil, salt, sugar and apple cider vinegar.
In the summer of 2018, Flow launched the first domestic all-natural makeup series, Korento. The latest innovations developed by Riitta are products based on stone- and aromatherapy.
“Well-being that considers the body and mind as a whole has always been an important part of my life and at the same time the ideology of Flow cosmetics. Since a very young age I have been interested in yoga and meditation, as well as e.g. utilization of the body’s energy centers, i.e. chakras, aromatherapy and various stones as part of a balanced lifestyle. I dreamed for a long time that one day I would be able to combine these good passions of mine by including them in cosmetics. I have used essential oils in products from the beginning and a couple of years ago I got an impulse to bring stone therapy and the chakras into the Flow product family. Suvi got excited about it and encouraged us to develop the products further. ”
Although combining mental elements with beauty care is currently quite trendy, Riitta and Suvi have hardly followed the trend reports. Along the way, various product experiments have been carried out, some of which have been successful immediately, some of which have been waiting for the right moment.
“Mother’s intuition and bold experiments have always progressed. We also listen to a lot of feedback from Flow retailers and consumers, but there has been no need to run after trends. Of course, we quote working materials that receive a lot of attention in the media. For example, it would be madness not to utilize hyaluronic acid in products, which has been studied to have a high level of moisture-binding capacity and consumers are already aware of its effectiveness due to media attention.
It has sometimes happened that Flow has been ahead of its time. A good example of this is the flower waters, which Flow had in the early 2010 up to five different. Only the rose water was moving, so it was decided to give up making others. A couple of years ago, the popularity of floral waters began to grow wildly, so chamomile and lavender water returned to the range alongside rose water. Interest in well-preserved and easy-to-carry piece products is currently on the rise. For this reason, a body buttet bar that has been a treasure of the Flow archives for years has been brought back into the range.”
In honor of the 15-year journey, the look of Flow Cosmetics has been renewed and the product range has clarified.
“While the content of the product always comes first, it is also important that the design of the packaging is interesting, so that the products receive the attention they deserve. Now it felt like it was time to renew the look of the brand and at the same time think about the place of each product in the range. We have carefully gone through what more is needed for the range and what is time to give up. At the same time as we crystallized the product range, we wanted to unify the brand's appearance and bring Flow out as a Finnish, international-level natural cosmetics series.”
Promise and mission
Finland has the cleanest nature in the world and it offers us the ingredients that we need right to our fingertips. Pure and truly natural raw materials are important to us, which is why all the ingredients in our products are carefully selected.
- Our production complies with the criteria of certified natural cosmetics.
- We use organically certified raw materials and plants grown wild in the pure nature of the north.
- The content of organically grown or wild-grown raw materials in our products is particularly high and is clearly visible on the packaging.
- Our customers always receive the products fresh, as they are made by hand in small batches.
- We mainly use easily recyclable cardboard and glass as packaging materials.
"I'm really happy and proud that I have been able to grow Flow from my house garage stored hobby to one of Finland's best-known natural cosmetics series. The doors to the world are already open, now it feels like only the sky is the limit. The best thing about this job is when you get to do something that is close to your own heart and important to yourself. Alongside me, my dear family and our knowledgeable and passionate Flow team are taking domestic natural cosmetics expertise forward. We will continue to make the products ourselves by hand from high-quality raw materials, relying on our strong natural cosmetics expertise, professionalism and intuition.”