Family business from Finland
The company was founded by Kimmo and Jaana in Finland in 1986, and VAMSKO was launched in 2012.
The whole family, Kimmo, Jaana and their children works at the company’s head office in Nokia, Finland. This is the location of the central functions, including design and warehousing. VAMSKO concept store is located in Tampere, Finland right in the middle of the town center.
Where did it all start?
Thirty-five years ago, factories or what Jaana describes mainly as stables or small workshops – were contacted by phone, letter, or searched physically, not from the internet. Kimmo, who was then afraid of flying, drove his car through Europe to Italy and Spain and went search for factories. When Kimmo was ready to head back home, the car was packed full of sales samples. Shoes, accessories, and clothing that might interest potential retailers for pre-orders. At the beginning of the company’s journey, Jaana and Kimmo began importing high-quality wool knitwear and leather accessories from Italy. The retailers they contacted themselves.
History – the long story short version
1990s Recession affected people’s buying behavior. It shifted the price range of the products in a more affordable direction, which means that some of the manufactures needed to transfer from Europe to China. In the late ’90s, Kimmo turned his attention to his then 11-year-old son’s friend’s shoes in the hallway – everyone was wearing chunky skate sneakers. As a result of this, SoWhat Footwear was established in 1998 and every kid from 90s remembers SoWhat Skate sneakers. The skate boom lasted for nearly six years. Back then the family didn’t have a separate store to sell shoes, so all sales were made through imports to resellers.
Vision from the new generation
As the skating trend faded, retailers gradually began to dictate what trends and products should be included in the collection. In 2012, the urge to bring something of their own awakened again. Opening a physical store seemed like the right solution to allow the family to expand their product range through their own designs and intuitions. Jaana’s and Kimmo’s daughter Sara took charge of the store.
Soon after the store was opened, one of the shop assistants and Jaana’s and Kimmo’s son, Tino, took care of the store’s Facebook pages. They took a lot of photos to show the collection to the local customers. The outcome created a lot of interest from all over Finland. The flood of questions about purchasing the products online and mailing opportunities was eye-opening.
The online store opens
The Great Wow moment was experienced when the online store was opened in the spring of 2015. In addition to the store, the family had its online store.This was the point where it was clear that all collections’ styles were designed entirely from the family’s point of view. The fear that retailers would not engage in bold footwear designs no longer worked as a brake.
After a few years, shipping to Sweden started in summer 2017. Most of the European countries were included in 2019.
The brand reform
Previously VAMSKO was known for a mix of more unknown brands from all over the world. VAMSKO had its brand, beloved SoWhat Footwear. A few years ago, most of the shoes were manufactured in China, focused on trends and volume. The early phase of corona pandemia was the most significant impetus for brand change as factories closed in unreachable China. As a result, the cheaper SoWhat was dropped out from the collections, and a responsibly manufactured VAMSKO collection was born. Today VAMSKO have no longer any production outside of Europe.
You can read more of the brand reform and production HERE
Now, a certain circle has closed. Kimmo and Jaana started their business from scratch, and back then, the products were imported from Italy, focusing on quality and great designs. In a few years, VAMSKO has returned to the same point.
“You have to be proud and stand behind the products that you’re trying to sell,” Jaana has said.
And today and in the future, that’s one of VAMSKOs most essential values. Besides the family, behind VAMSKO, a small yet important team is working together towards the dreams and goals.