The Golla story began during the early 90’s. The Kähkönen family had been creating handcrafted furniture in their old shed when they soon decided to express their passion for design by producing small functional items from rubber and plastic. Their cases and bags for portable electronic devices quickly began to sell around the world and even appeared in the MoMa gift shop in New York.
The decision to start new distribution channels as selling abroad or step into ecommerce can be vital for the further development and growth of a company. We were keen to discover more on the reasons that brought Golla to take these steps and got in touch with Gollas Bernhard Gerlich, VP Sales and Marketing for an interview.
Which was the driver to sell internationally?
Bernhard Gerlich: From the start, it was obvious that Golla would be an international brand. The international market offers such a huge range of target markets. Additionally, distribution for Golla proofed relatively easy nowadays. The decision has been worth it, since most of the sales come from abroad.
Why did you decide to open an online shop?
Bernhard Gerlich: At present, most design companies have an online store to help customers find them, so we decided to construct one of our own as well. The internet is a great forum to display and promote all of our items.
What do you like most of your online shop?
Bernhard Gerlich: In general, the shop is easily manageable. Categories and promotions are easy to use. In our opinion the online shop is simple and clean and products are easy to find by category. Also the product descriptions are easy to modify.
How has the business developed?
Bernhard Gerlich: By the turn of the millennium, a new era began when the family saw a market in fashionable accessories for portable devices, just as the mobile revolution emerged. Golla joined this revolution and was among the first to bring fashion and colour into the world of electronics. Golla Online Store launched on February 2013. In addition, our company opened a pop-up store in Helsinki in April 2016.
Do you have different international and local selling strategies?
Bernhard Gerlich: We have varied customised campaigns for local and international customers. Furthermore, the market cultures set the basis for the strategies locally and internationally. Thus, we have different selling strategies depending on the country.
Which learnings did you draw from selling international?
Bernhard Gerlich: In the era of social media, the language barrier is evident. International customers buying items from their own country might perceive that they will get customer service from social media in their own language, while we offer customer service mostly in English, Finnish and German. This is where we have to juggle between the multicultural and open web to offer the best service for our customers worldwide.
Which advice would you give to someone who wants to start a business?
Bernhard Gerlich: Golla was among the first to make cases for the mobile generation. Our experience is that you have to be at the right place, at the right time, and deliver something unique and different that people need.