Many of you probably already know that the story of Luin Living started back in 2013 with the dream of two friends, Mari and Noora, to design the world’s best hair towel. The world’s best hair towel required the world’s best towel fabric, which took about two years to develop, before the launch of the hair towel in May 2015. Now, this hair towel brings happiness to people´s everyday lives in more than 40 countries around the world. A great achievement, but to be fair, it wasn’t always all roses.
What we usually see from brands is the beauty, the planned and the carefully thought out. But the truth is that nothing is perfect in real life. Every story includes ups and downs, damages, complications, and even unfortunate stories that seem shocking at the time, from which you can get a laugh afterwards. Courage, humanity, making mistakes and learning from them is part of the path that eventually creates something meaningful.
The world’s best hair towel – 10 things behind the scenes
We wanted to tear back the veil of the past a little and share with you ten memorable (in many ways) moments from the history of the hair towel and at the same time the entire company.
1. Future entrepreneurs who had no experience in the field
The starting point was that neither of us entrepreneurs had any experience in the textile industry. Everything had to be learned along the way from the very beginning. Still, even with crazy courage, together we both put all our savings into our dream. The dream was to take the hair towel to the world and show that we Finns can do this! We had a goal without a precise action plan. We still believe that you don’t always have to have an exact plan, things will become clearer when you just take the first steps.
2. Heading to the fabric store and a sewing machine to sing
What is the perfect size and shape of the hair towel? We actually had no idea about it! So, the way we solved that was to go to the fabric store and buy towel fabric; we then headed to Mari’s cousin in Pieksämäki who had a sewing machine. Upon our request, Mari’s cousin sewed numerous hair towels of different sizes and models for testing. It took a lot of fabric and hours of work, but finally – voilà, the perfect size was found!
3. Cardboard, scissors, and marker as design tools
Next, we had to send the towel designs to the manufacturer so they would know what the perfect towel design would look like. We didn’t have a workspace or any kind of design software, let alone the knowledge of how to use any. But we had an idea! We went to a craft shop to buy different colored metallic cardboard while the markers and scissors were found at home. We sat for hours on the living room floor and crafted the design elements for the perfect hair towel. We took pictures of our crafts with an old camera (at that time you couldn’t even imagine taking pictures with a phone) and sent them to the manufacturer.
4. The winning idea of fastening was born in the middle of the night
Details are important, both in design and functionality. The challenge with “traditional” hair towels was the rubber band and button combination, where the rubber band stretches and loses its functionality over time. One night, Mari got the idea for a snap fastener. That would be the perfect solution! We tried to find out why snaps have not been used in hair towels before, but we couldn’t find any clear reason for that. For us, the choice was clear – the perfect hair towel will be fastened with a snap! We also applied for a utility model protection for the snap fastening of the hair towel, and later the same protection was also applied for, for example, the spa dress, as well as the wrap and baby towels.
5. Help! How can we sell all these hair towels?
As brave entrepreneurs, we immediately ordered 3,000 hair towels for storage. 3,000 pieces is a huge amount even today, many entrepreneurs know that. Especially without a single customer nor any marketing budget. The first couple of online store orders came from relatives and friends. With this equation, the start was slow, but the faith was still strong. Yes, we can do this!
6. Snap chaos!
Right from the first orders and sample shipments, it appeared that we had a big problem. Most of the snaps on the hair towels didn’t close properly. It felt like the end of the world, how do we get through this? We ordered all the hair towels from the warehouse to our homes and again, there on the living room floor, we fastened all the 3,000 hair towels one at a time. We packed all the working ones back in their packaging and the faulty ones in their own pile.
7. The first time in magazine
Since there was no marketing budget, we searched the websites of women’s and family magazines for the contact information of the editors and editors-in-chief. We contacted them and told them that we are a new brand in the domestic market and asked if we could send them the hair towels for testing. The shipments on the way, we were left waiting. One day we heard from friends that we had made it to a big women’s magazine! Glowing with enthusiasm and pride, we went to buy the magazine and see what wonderful things are being said about our beautiful, practical, and elegant hair towel. It was a one-page article of products from different brands and our hair towel was also included. One of our craziest hair towel photos was chosen as the picture, and the core message of the text was that you can easily use this turban with some sweatpants, when you go to pick the mail from the mailbox. Oh no… this was definitely not what we had hoped for.
8. DIY fair stand from pallets and boards
A couple of months after the launch, we participated for the first time at the Habitare fair in Helsinki with a small stand. There was still no budget, but we had to get a nice booth. From pallets and boards painted in white, we piled up a big sales table with storage space (with sticks, which is not the most ideal thing for soft towel material), a cash desk and a large clothes rack. With the van of Mari’s father Eero, we transported all the necessary materials to the venue and set up the booth. And yes, we were extremely proud of how great the booth turned out for us!
9. Hair towels are sold out – mother-in-law to rescue!
At that trade fair, at the end of the first Thursday we noticed that we had sold out the towels! In a terrible panic, we tried to think of how we would survive this situation which felt like the end of the world. There were more sales than we could have even imagined, but at the same time the products started to run low, and the warehouse located in Tampere would not have time to deliver more by the weekend. So, the only solution was to ask a mother-in-law to come by train! With big suitcases, we got more hair towels for sale from Tampere, and no one was left out. Every hair towel we sold brought us a new customer, and each of these customers told our story to others. Worth gold!
10. First Christmas as a courier around the Finland
From the beginning, we decided that we entrepreneurs should invest our working hours in sales and marketing, so the logistics were outsourced to professionals. Business had just started, and we received orders, thanks to the autumn achievements. But the Christmas didn’t go as perfect as it does in Strömsö (like we say in Finland). During the Christmas week, customer requests started coming in mentioning that the shipments only contained a washing instruction card, not the products themselves. It turned out that there was a bug in the warehouse’s system and there would be no time to send new orders before Christmas. So, we decided to take care of the orders ourselves! We drove through the villages, meeting customers in parking lots and on the roadsides, taking hair towels to the customers and wishing them a Merry Christmas. If there was anything good there, it was at least the most important one – the customer felt he was getting personal service.
Now, when we look back on these past years with all their ups and downs, successes, and failures, we can really be proud of ourselves and what Luin Living is like today.
This May 2023, we celebrate our company’s 8th birthday, and the hair towel was joined by other wonderful products. We are happy and grateful for this journey and look forward to what the future holds.