Duration: I’ve been a full-time entrepreneur for two years.
Location: I’m based in Helsinki, Finland.
Education: I received my BA in graphic design from Lahti Institute of Design in Finland, and I have a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in marketing from Aalto University School of Business in Helsinki, Finland. I also spent two semesters studying abroad in Mexico City and in Toronto, which were both amazing experiences that taught me a lot.
Career path: Growing up, I spent hours drawing landscapes, where the butterflies were so big that they would take up half of the page. I was always involved in the arts, but upon graduating from upper secondary school, it didn’t occur to me to apply for an arts school. I was programmed to believe that art is a good hobby but not a realistic career choice. Also, I had always been interested in many things, so it felt difficult to give up everything else and only pursue one thing. I decided to apply for business school to buy more time to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. While studying, I had a hunch that my life was not as fulfilling as it could be, but I wasn’t exactly sure how to find my calling.
It wasn’t until I had graduated and spent some time working in branding and communications that I started to find my passion for graphic design. The turning point was when my mom passed away six years ago. A week after her death, I got a chance to attend a graphic design course that I had been waiting for. I was devastated by my mother’s death, but I decided that it would be better for me to stay active, so I attended the course. In the midst of my deep grief, I realized I had stumbled on something that would make me feel alive. It was worth holding on to, so after the course, I decided to go back to school to study graphic design. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Cultural influences: While living in Mexico, I fell in love with the country’s colorful buildings, rich culture and kind people. There are so many fascinating symbolism-packed traditions in Mexico, like Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), the darkly beautiful tradition that celebrates life and death in such a unique way. I have also always been intrigued by surrealism, psychology and the creative potential of the subconscious mind.
Favorite project: An interactive animation for Provinssi, a music festival in Finland. The project was developed with Processing and Microsoft Kinect, and I had to learn everything from scratch. These kinds of projects have taught me to believe in my process and trust that I can overcome any obstacle, one by one, if I just put in the hours.
Work environment: I share a coworking space with other creatives in Helsinki. As an entrepreneur, work and personal life are so intertwined that it’s important for me to be able to get out of the house in the morning and head to a real workplace. Our studio has a bunch of kind people and a relaxed atmosphere where, if you’re stressed out, someone might bring a cup of good espresso or a bowl of ice cream to your table.
Approach: I have an endless curiosity that pushes me to try new things all the time. I really love learning, and one of the reasons I enjoy being an entrepreneur is because I’m able to prioritize my time and invest in learning new skills when I feel like it. On reflection, it was also good to go back to school with more experience. The first year I started at university, I also got my first clients. I was able to learn how to ask the right questions.
Aspirations: I don’t have the mind-set of planning too far ahead since it’s more fun to be open to all the possibilities thrown at you. But, I’d love to work on more international projects and create new, even unexpected, collaborations with people.
Philosophy: I’m a big believer in habits. It sounds boring, but I think so many things in life boil down to good routines and repetition. If you have a big goal in mind and you keep doing small things every day to achieve that goal, it eventually adds up and can make a huge difference over many years.