— Tea Latvala tells why Lapland is a good place to do business
Wooden dildos and anal plugs made by entrepreneur Tea Latvala, known as the “dildo dealer”, in Rovaniemi are being sold as far as in the United States.
Tea Latvala, Master of Arts, from Kurikka in Southern Ostrobothnia established a company called Teatiamo Industries Oy in December 2015. Latvala was planning to design something beautiful – but not sex toys. However, that is what happened. Today, the company is known for its elegantly designed wooden dildos and anal plugs that can be utilized both for personal use and as design pieces.
Latvala, who has also lived in the United States and Spain, moved from the Helsinki Metropolitan Area to Lapland in 2017, and many questioned her decision.
“I don’t think my company would have progressed as quickly if I hadn’t moved to Lapland,” Latvala says in rebuttal to those who doubted her.
One key reason for the company’s rapid growth was the calmer pace of life in Lapland:
“All unnecessary hustle and bustle was left behind. When I was able to focus on the essential, I could achieve more and faster. In Lapland, things are very straightforward and the people are amazingly open. It is easy to build contacts and networks and find the right people.”
In November 2017, Latvala took part in a pitching competition held by Rovaniemi Development Ltd. and won. The competition jury included investors Kustaa Valtonen and Peter Vesterbacka, who now act as Tea’s advisors and own shares of her company.
“I almost couldn’t believe my ears when I heard they were interested in my company,” Latvala reminisces.
When the regional newspaper, Lapin Kansa, reported that these well-known business angels were joining Latvala’s team, the startup’s phone started ringing. “That newspaper article really changed the direction of my company. Before, people had been somewhat reserved about my product.”
In 2018, Teatiamo held a private financing round in exchange for a research and development loan granted by Business Finland.
Finding funding has helped Latvala employ two people, in Rovaniemi and Helsinki, which frees up her own time e.g., for her numerous meetings abroad. The door for conquering the world is now ajar, even as far away as in the United States.
International interest in Lapland
The market for Latvala’s products is highly competitive and challenging. However, her competitive edge compared to others is clear: the product is handmade in Rovaniemi using natural materials.
“When I explain that my products are made from Lappish birch veneer in Finnish Lapland, where we have more reindeer than people, it makes people very interested. If I really want to impress someone, I tell them that my husband chases the Aurora Borealis,” Latvala says, laughing.
There has been plenty of interest in the wooden dildos in Finland as well. In addition to sex toy shops, the products are sold at wellness and design stores and boutique hotels.
“I can proudly say that I am the only Finnish sex toy manufacturer.”
Latvala has faith in the future and the internationalization of her company. But even if her main market areas are abroad, Latvala plans to keep her business in Lapland, and also encourages others to become entrepreneurs in the north.
“If I have succeeded with wooden dildos, anyone can succeed with any product!”