Katja Misikangas Arctic Warriors natural products
Photo by: Ursula Aaltonen

Herbs from Lapland in a Can and Going Around the World

Never become an entrepreneur, and definitely steer clear of the natural products business. This is what Katja Misikangas, one of the three founders of the company Arctic Warriors and the creator of their business idea, thought to herself a decade ago.

– My mother has a strong background in traditional medicine, and healers run in the family as far back as we’ve been able to trace. When I was younger, I felt that path was definitely not for me.

However, her mother, who worked as an entrepreneur in the natural products business, had good foresight and brought her daughter along to training courses and events from an early age. She learned about the trade almost inadvertently, and back in the day Katja became the youngest cupping practitioner in Finland. However, the young woman’s heart desired to see the world, and she ended up becoming a theater student in Tampere.

– I also studied to become a veterinary masseuse, and I worked in Switzerland and Norway. On the side, as if by accident, I also kept obtaining more information about herbs and natural products.

She eventually ended up returning to her native Lapland from the “dull winter of Tampere” quite naturally.

– Every time I came here to visit, I felt great. My soul was at rest.

Aiming for the International Market

After returning to her native region, Katja continued her cupping practice, among other things, along with her “mothering duties.” Through those practices, she became acquainted with Tuija Kauppinen, who was her client at the time. Their friendship and shared interests eventually led them to start a company together. They were joined by Tuija’s husband Ilkka Kauppinen, who had worked as an entrepreneur in the IT sector and marketing.

– I had been thinking about the great potential of Lapland herbs for a long time, and one time when we were sitting in the car, I brought the topic up with Tuija. In a pretty typical fashion, I thought that ‘someone should do something,’ but of course we eventually ended up putting things into motion ourselves.

Arctic Warriors brings the effectiveness and power of the herbs of Lapland available to everyone, the core of its natural products business.

– This stuff has been going on here on a small scale for ages. Since the very beginning, we’ve been aiming for the international market, Tuija says.

Two years ago, Arctic Warriors launched three ‘power shots’ as its first products: Taistelija (‘Fighter’), Puolustaja (‘Defender’) and Energia (‘Energy’). The next step was to introduce larger bottle packages of the same products.

– We spent a long time thinking about what could be ‘our thing’, and we ended up combining effective, fiery-tasting herbs into an easy-to-enjoy and good-tasting shot form. The new, bigger packages are especially convenient for home use.

A line of all-new products is on its way as well.

Without Small-Scale Farmers from Lapland, We’d Have no Business

The two main ingredients of Arctic Warriors’ products are known as traditional medicinal herbs found in nature in Lapland: garden angelica and roseroot, which is not related to the flower despite its name.

– The ingredient we utilize comes from the root of the plant, which has a strong, rose-like aroma when it’s split. That’s where the name comes from, Katja clarifies. Both roseroot and garden angelica are cultivated at Katja’s homestead in Narkaus. These ingredients are also produced by agreement by roughly ten cultivators across Lapland. In addition to the cultivated plants, the products use natural herbs such as nettle and northern sweetgrass. – Access to the ingredients is key ‒ without them, we’d have nothing to manufacture or sell. We support our cultivators in beginning their operations and sign multiannual agreements with them to buy their crops. This is a long-term operation, as roseroot doesn’t produce crops until 5 or 6 years after it’s planted, and garden angelica can also take 2 or 3 years.

Tuija says that the driving idea of the company is to also keep Lapland a vital region to live and work in. The goal is make the ‘herb business’ a new, serious trade in the Arctic region.

– We strongly believe that the natural products business is a future growth area in Lapland. All factors speak for this: current trends and people’s growing interest in products that enhance well-being. And, of course, the excellence of Lapland ingredients – after all, they have been proven to be among the most efficient in the world due to their harsh growing conditions.