Finland isn't in Scandinavia; technically it is considered a 'Nordic' country. But, for all intents and purposes, it may as well be. Cold weather, mysterious customs and minimalist design are pillars of daily life up here in the North.
Finns themselves, like the climate, are also often considered frosty. Cold, brisk, and as easy to have an open conversation with as 'Siri'. But, as is often the case, dig a little deeper and you can find quite the opposite.
In the hubbub of the lively Helsinki bars, in the roaring heat of the thousands of saunas, or just in the warmth of their own Scandic styled homes; Finns open up. Loyal, honest, yet unrelentingly direct; Finns are fascinating people to get to know properly.
Getting to know them though hinges on learning, and abiding by, their set of standard cultural rules.
Never sit next to someone on a bus if you can avoid it, but slide up as close as humanly possible when stark naked in the sauna, to make more space for others. Drink milk with your lunch, no matter your age. Always take off your shoes indoors. The list goes on.
It is the latter however which really struck me as a foreigner moving to Finland. And we're not talking just ones own home here. Finns take off their shoes in friend's apartments, wood cabins and even offices. And the rule is enforced. Expect some soul-crushing glares if you saunter indoors with your boots on.
But the thing is, it just makes sense. Kicking off your clumpy winter boots at the end of a treacherous commute can be a welcome pleasure on a bleak Monday morning. And not smearing wet slush over your living room floor is always a plus.
Like the sauna, the warmth and comfort of slipping on indoor-only footwear can help you to relax at home after an exhausting day. Equally, once in the office, it can kickstart a productive day.
However, the indoor footwear options upon my arrival were about as abundant as the warm summer days, i.e. slim pickings. Frumpy slippers that even your grandfather would turn his nose up at, or synthetic rubber nightmares.
It is that gap that myself, and co-founder Saku (a born and bred Finn), aimed to plug with the inception of Slepps. Our intention was to tie in striking Nordic minimal design with the functionality and indulgence of indoor footwear.
After a year of designs, decisions, despair and delight, we are happy to announce that our first model is finally finished and ready for sale; The Slepps Original. Using carefully sourced quality Turkish leather and sheep's wool, we drew inspiration from the timeless design of the classic Chelsea boot.
So whats next for Slepps? We hope to continue producing different models of indoor footwear. Ones that you can wear at the office and not have to hide behind the desk when clients walk in. Stand in the queue for the toilet on the plane with pride.
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Slepps Co Founder