Pentik's ceramics from Posio, Lapland
Photo by: Pentik

Pentik surrounds people with a breath of northern beauty

In five decades, the world’s northernmost ceramics factory located in Posio by the Arctic Circle has developed into an esteemed interior decoration design house. Northern beauty is strongly present in Pentik’s design, and it is important to the company to have its production specifically in Lapland. The company seeks growth by boldly developing its products and ways to do things.

Pentik Oy was born in the 1970s by accident, as Anu Pentik’s (shortened from Pentikäinen) beloved ceramics and leather hobby – her way of life – began to generate income for her family, who had just moved to Posio. “The best way to find out whether a company is any good is to immediately build a large timber ceramics workshop and complement it with both a store and a café,” Anu has said. Pentik-mäki Culture Centre in Lapland was also soon given exhibition facilities, and the first Pentik store in Helsinki was boldly established directly on Esplanadi, the best trade spot in the capital city, in 1976.

“Today, the majority of our sales are generated at Pentik’s own stores, but online sales have also increased, especially in 2020. In Finland, we have around fifteen partner companies selling Pentik products, and we have also made small openings outside the country as well,” says Riikka Wulff, Pentik’s CEO since autumn 2019.

Over the years, Pentik has not shied away from trying new things. During the growth years of the 1980s, Pentik Oy also manufactured leather clothes, began manufacturing furniture and established the Pentik Novus porcelain studio, but in the 1990s, the company focused on manufacturing and selling ceramics. Today, the product selection of the interior decoration design house features plenty of different decoration and kitchen textiles, as well as products made from other materials, such as wood, glass and metal.

Anu Pentik’s strong artistic vision continues to carry the company to this day, almost 50 years after its establishment.

“It all starts from products and patterns created by our own designers – they must be attractive to consumers. Anu’s style is especially evident in Pentik’s ceramics, which continue to be made exclusively in the company’s birthplace of Posio. Additionally, our core expertise includes the construction of visually inviting stores, both physical and online.”

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Inspiration from Arctic nature

In Posio, nature, age-old stories and culture come together in a unique way. The shapes of the landscape, tree bark and glimmering water have been turned into art and beautiful utility items by skillful hands.

The clean nature of the area is a source of resources and inspiration for tourists as well. There are more than 3,000 lakes and ponds and several rivers in the municipality area. The magical land’s thousands of lakes and fishing areas with clear water, the beautiful hiking trails of Riisitunturi National Park, the magnificent ice falls of Korouoma, the ski slopes of Kirintövaara and the local ski trails ensure that visitors have plenty of activities all year round.

“Tourism to Lapland is important to Pentik, as we want to provide tourists with a piece of Finland to take home with them,” Wulff says.

At the Pentik-mäki outlet store, tourists can find brand-new items among an extensive range of interior decoration products while also familiarizing themselves with ceramics and design collections, exhibitions and museums.

“In addition to Posio, we have stores in Rovaniemi, Kuusamo and Pello, all of which are part of Lapland. Furthermore, our partner entrepreneurs are selling our products at Ivalo Airport and Fell Center Kiilopää in Saariselkä.”

Made in Posio

The ceramics industry is one of the most important industries in the municipality of Posio. In the Laplandish municipality of 3,000 residents, Pentik serves as the largest private employer.

“We want to keep our production in Posio in the future as well, provided of course that skillful employees are available,” emphasizes CEO Riikka Wulff.

Lately, the company has received young employees to be trained in-house, and Wulff believes that the area will remain attractive in the future as well.

“Perhaps the coronavirus situation will lead to increased remote working, whereby more spouses of our employees could live further away from their actual workplace, for example.”

The residents of Posio are seen as friendly and genuine people with plenty of will to live, tenacity and hospitality. Lapland and Pentik seem to attract people who have something in common with Pentik’s success story.

“Pentik’s success has required a suitable combination of creative madness, boldness and know-how. These qualities are possessed by Anu and her spouse Topi Pentikäinen. The company has never seen failure as an option. The ‘Made in Posio’ angle is a source of strength for our brand.”

The iconic brand keeps renewing itself

Today, Pentik is on a strong path of renewal, and the new CEO is supported by a completely overhauled management group.

“When a Finnish, iconic brand hires an external CEO for the first time and sets out to strongly develop its products, marketing and operations with a new team, it’s naturally very inspiring to all of us,” Riikka Wulff says.

All members of the management group have had years of experience with working for different, strongly Finnish companies, and their varying experiences from several different fields complement each other.

“Our new Marketing Director Minna Lampinen has worked for Paulig and Iittala, Design and Product Director Luisa Laine came to Pentik via companies such as Stockmann and Luhta Fashion Group, HR Manager Carola Rahkola’s previous employer was Musti and Mirri, and Ecommerce Manager Sami Karjalainen transferred to Pentik from Isku. My own background is with Alma Media, where I carried out various digital business management duties for a long time. We are now combining our long-running and diverse expertise into one package and using it as a source of knowledge and experiences on Pentik’s path of renewal.”

The company has also utilized the know-how of local higher education institutions in areas such as small-scale robotics.

“The manufacture of ceramics involves plenty of mechanical work that is laborious to people, so when a small-scale robot supports the work, takes a plate and dips it in glazing agent, for example, it spares people from repetitive mechanical movement.”

In 2021, Pentik will celebrate its 50th anniversary.

“We will mark the occasion with many new things. We will complement our colorful and strong flower pattern with a more graphical line that draws inspiration from northern nature. The most important thing to us continues to be the creation of attractive designs that people want to buy for their own homes or as gifts.”

To celebrate the anniversary, Anu Pentik has designed a brand-new series that can be used both as a complete set of tableware and as individual pieces.

“The series was born in the whirlpool of the coronavirus spring. Anu wanted to infuse the series with warmth and tenderness to counterbalance the crisis,” Wulff describes.

Pentik Oy is an interior decoration design house whose main products are ceramics and textiles in their different forms. Pentik Oy’s ceramics factory in Posio currently employs around 35 skilled experts. Pentik manufactures approximately 300,000 ceramics products a year, with a turnover of approximately €30 million.