Dream Circus Ltd was a dream come true for two sisters from Savo and born out of their faith in Finnish work. The clothes made by the company are designed and sewn by Finnish pattern designers and sewers.
Dream Circus has grown from a one-person company founded by Kati Kraemer into a clothing factory that employs nine people, with women’s clothes as its main product. Kati’s sister Laura Kemppainen also joined the company a couple years ago. Other shareholders include professionals in business consultation, pattern and clothing design, sewing and event sales.
“Dream Circus brings together a wide range of skills, and we have certainly created quite a circus,” says one of the shareholders, CEO Petra Ryymin with a laugh.
If ever a skill is needed, the company does not hesitate to go looking outside its own circles. Dream Circus indirectly provides employment for dozens of independent sewers and designers. The company hopes to hire more in-house sewers in the near future so that production could meet the demand more flexibly.
“If the sewers are on our payroll, we do not have to compete against the other clients of our subcontractors,” says Ryymin.
She regrets that there are not many industrial sewers available in Finland and education in the field has been run down as well.
Dream Circus aims for responsibility in its operations. All the production stages of its clothes take place as close to the home of the business, Varkaus, as possible, and the amount of waste material is minimized. The pattern designers are named in the product information of the fabric and clothes, and they are paid extra for every produced metre of fabric, even though the fabric itself has already been bought by the company to use as it pleases.
Ryymin mentions that the coronavirus has created exceptional challenges for Dream Circus. All the scheduled events were cancelled, but the company has started to organize pop up sales itself in order to meet customers. Other businesses in the handicraft sector have also been invited to the sales events so that the range of products is as wide as possible.
Dream Circus had previously given up its physical shop and now sells its products through its online shop and via retailers. Since online shopping is gaining popularity, the company has also been able to reach out to the international market. It has sold fabrics to England, Spain, the United States and Sweden for some time already, and Canada and Japan are its potential new target countries.
“Our Scandinavian brand has sparked interest also outside Finland. We just need to increase our volume to be able to achieve global growth. But at the same time, we want to keep our sewing production in Finland,” says Ryymin.
As a new innovation, Dream Circus is creating a virtual fitting room in its online shop. This requires virtual modelling of its current products, but once the job is done, the company can begin selling tailor-made products online.
According to Ryymin, it is great that Kati once set out believing in the demand for her blazingly cheerful and wholly original style. Giving up has never been an option, despite some difficulties along the way. The realities of the situation have been seen and acknowledged.
“Hats off to the fact that the company has also had the courage to let go of what it has created in order to create something new. This was the case last autumn, for example, when we signed a retail contract with the department store chain Halonen. We had to make the decision to do things from a different perspective than what the founders had in mind. We had the courage to take that leap and it paid off,” says Ryymin happily.
She believes that you should trust your feelings when running a business, without forgetting the financial realities. You should dare to be yourself and maintain your business identity and authenticity, but also have the courage to make changes, if needed.
“You need to be bold enough to do things differently from the others. If nobody’s life is on the line, nothing that goes wrong is the end of the world.”
Text: Minna Akiola