FBCC Member Finnmark Ltd are known in the industry for their uncompromising dedication to quality and authenticity when it comes to the sale of sauna equipment and bespoke installations. The growing company, which was founded in 2016, is based in County Durham’s Enterprise City.
Their aim is to educate people on how to use sauna properly, show people how to get the most from the experience and actively publicise the wide range of health benefits associated with frequent sauna use. In fact, they’ve just gone live with a new section in their stories called Sauna Health Benefits. You can read more by clicking here.
Jake Newport (left in the photo) is the Managing Director of Finnmark Sauna. He recalls the early days and how a gap in the market made up his mind to set up the company. He said, “I was first inspired by Finnish sauna after working out in Finland as a sales agent for high-quality sauna brands such as Narvi. I then fell in love with the real experience but whilst trying to sell equipment into the UK trade market it became clear that my contacts weren’t overly interested in the highest of quality and durable equipment available. Quickly realising I couldn’t sell into trade, and with very little money to my name, I built a web shop and started retailing the equipment to the public.
When I was selling to trade I didn’t meet one company in the UK who’d been to Finland, were interested in finding out about the full experience, or built anything near to how they are built over there. Unfortunately, it means a lot of people’s experience of sauna in the UK is when they visit a health club. Many of those cheap, modular designs are not properly ventilated, they don’t have the right insulation or vapour sealing and they have a hidden heater with no stones.”
He added, “The Finns regularly go in for over forty minutes, have a cold plunge or shower and repeat the process over the course of several hours. The experience offers a number of health benefits, gives you a big endorphin high and aids sleep. I was confident there was a gap in the market and within the first month, we made our first big sale of £2000. At that point, I started implementing digital marketing tactics my competitors weren’t doing which secured lots of early sales and funded the initial growth of the business.”
In the early days, Finnmark sauna had a few difficulties with organising design work and, at around the same time, Jake’s brother Max recently graduated as a designer and was working in high-end hi-fi. Max took a look at the design material the company was paying for and mentioned he could do a much better job so he was brought into the business. The quality of his innovative design work proved to be a real springboard. It meant that in the three years of growing Finnmark as a bespoke installation company turnover tripled year on year and they very quickly became a £300,000 turnover business.
Early on, the company was fortunate enough to get good breaks doing some high-quality installations. The quality of the equipment, materials and design was exactly what clients wanted and they’ve now filled an order book until summer 2020. Finnmark has installed for TV personalities, producers, sportspeople and celebrities. Jake enthused, “After impressing such clients and the architects and interior designers working alongside us on the projects, there’s been an upward spiral effect because people really see that we care about the quality and longevity of what we do. Many of them have been to Finland, tried the real deal and that’s what they want in their homes.”
The company has taken on more employees and is moving to larger premises in the county with that risk being mitigated a little by some help by the County Durham Growth Fund and a government-backed NEL loan.
Jake finished, “We’ve been fortunate enough to employ some really experienced people in their field and we’ve been able to do so by being progressive in the way we work. We offer flexi time, and a masseuse comes in on a Friday. If you want people at the top of their game you need to invest in them and show them the value of their worth. The North East has some of the best tradespeople in the world. There’s good availability of quality and reliable people and the area has a great heritage of manufacturing and workmanship. It’s also a very cost-effective place to have the business and the support from the people of Durham has been great. I try to give back at youth business events at the university and local schools where I see lots of potential and enthusiasm for business in the area.”
For more information, check out their website by clicking here!