Our Garments’ Makers, part 9

This time, in the presentation of our Garments´ Makers series, Pirkkala’s staff will have a versatile Helmi. Among other things, he works with several e-shops and is responsible for the customer service of the Aarrelabel e-shop.

Helmi Pennanen

What is your study or career path? What have you studied and what kind of work have you done before?
I graduated in the spring of 2017 from Lahti University of Applied Sciences with a degree in Materials Engineering, from the degree program in Textile and Clothing Engineering. Before joining the textile industry, I worked in the restaurant and trade industry for several years.

How did you hear about Black Moda – how did you get here? When did you start working at Black Moda?
I started my 6 month internship at Black Moda, which is part of my polytechnic degree, in August 2016. The diverse and interesting work assignments took place as I went and I continued directly from the internship as a full-time employee. I ended up completing my studies alongside my work.

Black Moda was selected as an internship by a lucky coincidence – I was looking for an internship in the Tampere area and I came across Black Moda through it, but I hadn’t heard of the company before. The additional information I heard in the interview made me even more interested in the company, then there was not as much information on the website as it is today!

What is your job title and your main job roles and responsibilities at Black Moda right now?
I work under the job title of sales secretary and my responsibilities include development work related to Aarrelabel brand corporate and consumer e-commerce, customer service, sales campaigns and content production and maintenance of e-commerce products. I also sell and market Aarrelabel’s new collections to corporate customers and against the brand’s production orders.

I have also been involved in several development projects related to Black Moda’s other online stores and customer service, coordinating Aarrelabel’s sales and pop up events, and working closely with warehouse staff.

What is your typical working day like? What work do you do and with whom do you collaborate?
Working days vary a lot depending on the season, as my work is well tied to the schedule of the collections. Early spring and early autumn are busy times, as the new collections of the season will be launched in the consumer online store, but at the same time I will sell the next season’s collections in advance on the corporate online store and put production orders ahead. My work then includes, for example, adding products and product texts for e-commerce, contacting customers and coordinating orders and deliveries.

In terms of production and corporate sales, the situation calms down a bit in the summer and winter, but during these times there are often seasonal discount sales and pop-ups, which in turn increase work on the consumer e-commerce side. I create sales campaigns for the online store, coordinate deliveries of potential sales events, and think about selections. I am in close contact with the warehouse and take care of any problem situations, customer returns and deliver orders from corporate customers for packaging and invoicing.

I collaborate on a daily basis with team members of the same brand, who are responsible for, for example, collection descriptions, consumer marketing and product development. Successful collections and campaigns are the sum of the work of several people. Season-independent work tasks include answering customer service messages and calls, work maintaining the e-commerce, and work related to ongoing development projects.

What motivates you in your work and what in turn is the most challenging in your work?
Development projects on the side of e-commerce and customer interface digitization have brought many success experiences and inspire everyday life. I feel able to realize myself in my work and learning new things as well as continuous development are important values ​​for me and increase motivation. Also, the positive feedback from customers always warms the mind.

Balancing with the collection work typical of the textile industry sometimes brings challenges; one should remember to stop to rejoice in a successful campaign or collection, even though the next five are already underway!

How has the industry changed during your career?
Especially during The COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of e-commerce as a sales channel has grown enormously. I also think b2b sales are evolving and approaching consumer sales, orders are preferably placed through the wholesale online store as it is easy and flexible 24/7. Alongside traditional resellers, new types of functional concepts have emerged, such as pop-ups, clothing lenders and specialty stores for responsible clothing.

To my delight, I have also noticed how responsibly manufactured clothing and domestic brands are of increasing interest to consumers!

What is the most important thing (s) you have learned in your work?
I constantly learn new things in my work, so it’s hard to highlight certain things, but I find work scheduling and prioritization under pressure, teamwork skills, and an independent approach to my own work to be important. I have also, according to my own interest, reached the world of online shopping and I believe that this knowledge will be very useful in the textile industry of the future.

What do you think are Black Moda Oy’s competitive advantages?
Black Moda’s operations are very flexible and customer-oriented. The service and products we provide are of high quality and we are a reliable, long-term partner. We are willing to help and develop alongside our customers. Employees are allowed to influence their job description according to their interests and everyone’s ideas are listened to, which is why we have a wide range of top experts in their field!

What do you dream of?
I hope that Finns will increasingly favor domestic responsible clothing brands and, as a result, the Finnish textile industry will also grow and develop. We hope to have many great new brands and experts in the industry.

What kind of greetings do you want to send to production customers or resellers?
I would like to warmly thank everyone for their cooperation, I hold our partners in high esteem!

What kind of greetings do you want to send to consumers?
Thanks to all the new and old Aarre fans! I get wonderful messages every week from clients who brighten up my work day every time. Everything here we do our best to make you happy with our products as well as our service.

What kind of greetings do you want to send to a young person in the textile and clothing industry?
There is currently some training in the textile industry in Finland, but the industry also needs a lot of experts in e-commerce and the commercial sector. Feel free to follow your own interests, the training route for the textile industry can be very diverse!