Tag Archives: Finland

Konepajan Bruno

konepaja bruno, helsinki, flea market

Few weeks ago I heard about an indoor flea market in Helsinki, set up in an old machine workshop. It opened this summer, so it’s pretty new in the thrift shopping scene. I have never ever gone shopping there, but last Sunday I decided to have a go at selling.

This is my story. *du-duh*

konepaja bruno, tram stop, pysäkki

This is the tramstop Sturenkatu. The previous one (Kotkankatu) is the closest. You have to walk back a little bit. See that building site in the middle back? The access gate to Bruno is behind it.

konepaja bruno, opas, aleksis kiven katu, helsinki

Walk straight down (up?) the Aleksis Kiven katu until you see this sign. Turn right and you see this gate, and that’s your entrance:

konepaja bruno, helsinki, portti

Ta-dah. There’s a guard, who opens the gate for you. Well, for me he opened the door as I came by public transport. Then you walk a little bit and you should soon see this:

konepaja bruno, entrance, helsinki

See those guys in yellow, bright vests? That’s where you go in and you will see this:

konepaja bruno

Impressive space much? On the right is a café and you can meet the owner (who is not half bad to look at) there:

konepraja bruno omistaja, owner

Anyhoo…I have finally perfected my face-to-face selling and have managed to fit my  merchandise in ONE SUITCASE! No more hauling about a gazillion Ikea-bags in the public transport. Because of that, it didn’t take too long to set up my table and I had time to have a look around and see, what other people were selling.

konepaja brunon pöydät

There are two kinds of tables. Others have a frame and they have a built-in rack above the table, the others are like these (and I had one of them), where the rack hangs freely above the table. Also the latter ones are bigger. This system is slightly problematic because if you have a lot of hanger items, the customers can’t see you behind them. My advice is to take max.10 hanger items and put the rest on the table. But selling just hanger items can be done. You just have to be active yourself in making sure, that the customer knows, where you are. There was a table across me, that hadn’t been booked, so I sat on it and whenever a customer came over to browse, I went and introduced myself.

Now to the business part…Did I sell? My sales were terrible. However, had I been there also to buy, I’d have made some major scores. It really is a buyers market. I’m sure as more people will find it, the sales will improve too. But if you are on a hunt for good bargains, now is the time to go and find them. I did buy few things, one of them being this plastic wall thingy for displaying miniatures and when I came home and did some research, it turned out to be a Finnish design classic. And I was thinking about spray painting and decoupaging it. Talk about butchering classics. Committing crimes against design.

Anyways…My best sellers were in the 5 euro mark. The price for Sunday was 29 euros, so I recommend booking a table together with your friend. And DON’T stop selling until it’s closing time. I made most of my sales after 15 o’clock. It’s also very inconsiderate to leave a market really early. It creates a sad atmosphere, which is unfair to other sellers. Who YOU also depend on to bring in the crowds.

Personally I wish Bruno to succeed. The surroundings are lovely and as a seller, I appreciate that you can book the table and then pay it up after two hours of selling. There are much more impressive pics on Bruno’s website and you can also book the tables there. Here is yet another handy map by yours truly to help you find Bruno:

kartta konepaja Brunoon, map to Konepaja Bruno

I don’t mind, if you share this map. The more people the merrier.

Those little blue dots are tram stops for the tram line 9, which you can hop on at both Rautatieasema as well as Pasilan asema. If you are a seller, you can bring your stuff there by car BUT there is no parking there, so you have to find a parking spot somewhere close by.

So this how I spent my Sunday. Have you been thrifting/selling lately?

-Thrifty Finn-

Inspiration: Ottobre

The other day I was asking on Reddit for links to European online fabric stores. I’m a little bit of embarrassed, that I had completely forgotten the existence of Ottobre. Not the magazine, but the fact, that they sell fabrics too.

They host their shop in Etsy. It’s selection is not huge, but there are some serious amazeballs prints available. Feast your eyes…

Victoire, printed viscose elastane jersey, Ottobre, fabrics, Etsy

Victoire, printed viscose elastane jersey

Is it a bookshelf or a paint sampler? Either way…Very beautiful.

Flaming Feathers, printed viscose elastane jersey, Ottobre, fabrics, Etsy

Flaming Feathers, printed viscose elastane jersey

Dramatic feathers. This screams maxi dress to me. Ottobre used this one for a little girl’s shirt in their pattern magazine, but personally I think this is too grown up print for kids.

Scarlett, printed viscose elastane single jersey

Scarlett, printed viscose elastane single jersey

If you follow my Instagram, you know that I looooove botanical prints. But they seem to be really hard to find :(

Girona, lightweight woven  viscose, Ottobre, fabrics, Etsy

Girona, lightweight woven viscose

I actually have some of this fabric. I found it in the bargain bin at my local fabric store. Now that I know what’s the real retail price of it, I’m going to think twice, what I’m making of it. Ottobre also has it in pink jersey.

Jujuy, viscose elastane single jersey

Jujuy, viscose elastane single jersey

Digitally printed jerseys are a HUGE thing in Finland right now. No wonder. There’s pretty much no limit of what kind of images you can turn into a print. So far I haven’t bought any though. I don’t have an overlocker and I have an issue with sewing stretchy materials on my sewing machine. Might have to bit the bullet though. I feel Iike I’m missing out on something utterly creative.

Fly Feather, cotton popline, Ottobre, fabrics, Etsy

Fly Feather, cotton popline

Another thing that’s hard to find in Finland, is cool quilting cotton. Ottobre used the bottom two to make a really cute girl’s skirt. Looked very expensive and designey. At 10 euros a meter, not too shabby. The middle fabric would make an amazing pencil skirt too.

Secret Garden, printed cotton, Ottobre, fabrics, Etsy

Secret Garden, printed cotton

Last but not least…Some more florals! I have a quilt in the design process and I’ve already started collecting fabrics for it. These would bring in the much needed sophisticated pinky-ness in it. Only 9 euros per meter. Me likes.

Just in case you didn’t know…Ottobre is a Finnish company and it’s located in Rovaniemi, Lapland! YEAH! DEM MY HOMEGIRLS!!! They have an English language blog too, and you can check it out HERE. All the images here are linked to their respective Etsy-postings and they are not affiliate-links.

-Thrifty Finn-



Kaboom, A Thrift Store in Helsinki

kaboom, helsinki, thrift store, fleamarket

For the first time for a long time, I’m introducing a new second hand store to you. I was told about Kaboom by my friend, who has sold his stuff there and apparently has made good money each time. Hearing this, I had to go and check it out.

kaboom, helsinki, thrift store, fleamarket

Kaboom is located on Albertinkatu 46, only couple of hundred meters from the Kamppi shopping centre.

kaboom, helsinki, thrift store, fleamarket kaboom, helsinki, thrift store, fleamarketMy first impression was, that it’s not too big but there’s a nice mix of things for sale. Quite a bit of retro goodies as well. The prices range from very cheap to the upper edge of what I consider reasonable prices for second-hand goodies, but most of the stuff I saw was between 2-10 euros. Retro things obviously being more expensive.kaboom, helsinki, thrift store, fleamarketIf you are selling, there are some vitrines available for your pricier things. I ended up booking a table as they have a deal going on. 2 weeks for 70 euros. I usually get my butt kicked with self service second-hand stores, but I’m hoping this location is better for the stuff I usually sell. I haven’t checked my saldo yet, so fingers crossed :)

Anyhoo, Kaboom has a website HERE and a Facebook-page. The staff is very friendly and speaks English. Definitely worth a visit, if you are into thrifting and second-hand things.

-Thrifty Finn-

P.S. Naturally I’ve bought a quite a few things from there already. They have a charity booth, where the proceeds go half to children’s charity and half to an animal shelter. I found this gorgeous, gorgeous skirt in it. It’s way too small for me, but I just had to have it for the print. I mean look at it:

kaboom, helsinki, thrift store, fleamarket

It’s just heavenly, don’t you think?

The Flea Market Season Is Open


Today was my first day of outdoor flea market for this summer. The city of Espoo hosts a free park flea market few times every summer and this was my first time of participating. The weather was heaven!

I didn’t know what kind of stuff would sell, so I gathered a bunch of my better clothes as well as some vintage fabrics. Turns out I should have taken home decor and kids items with me. But my sales weren’t too terrible, plus on the bright side, I didn’t have to pay anything for the spot. Actually, that’s a huge plus. My name ain’t thrifty for nothing.

banana boxes, thrifty finn, flea market

As per usual, I got chatty with my co-sellers. Quite a few of them had attended these free flea markets before. Directly across from me, were a bunch of girlfriends, who came there with three cars (and 21 banana boxes) and they had a very nifty set-up. They had thought to bring rope with them and they strung it between trees and hung some of their better stuff on it. Next time I’m going there, I’m going to use that trick to display my vintage fabrics.

vila, lacy top, thrifty finn, flea market

Naturally I did some shopping myself. I bought this top in the hopes it would fit me and usually  size L from Vila does. Well, it DID fit me but just, and it didn’t hang prettily like this kind of top is supposed to. It wasn’t too bad as I managed to sell it almost right away to someone else. My other finds included Vans-sneakers (not in a perfect condition, but they were 2 euros and I can get one summer of use out of them) and a faux Tommy Hilfiger-purse. Personally, I’m not too keen on rip-off purses but it’s a perfect bag for the summer and will go with tons of my clothes, so I couldn’t possibly pass it up.

leppävaara, bulevardi, Alberga, thrifty finn, flea market, summer

The location was just perfect. This view is looking up on the boulevard park of Leppävaara and behind me here is the Sello-mall. The next flea market here is on 3rd of July. You can just show up and pick your spot, but you have to bring your own racks, tables or whatever you want to use to display your stuff.

-Thrifty Finn-

P.S. I was in a doggy heaven. I lost the count of how many doggies I gave cuddles to.

A Case for Independent Blogging…

bella blogit, paskat kirppislöydöt

This morning, as per usual, I started my morning by browsing Twitter to see, if there’s something interesting. Well, it turns out, I only didn’t find something interesting but very infuriating and I think you all, as bloggers have interest in this story.

Few years ago, a woman started a blog on blogspot.com called Paskat Kirppislöydöt, which means Shitty Thrift Store Finds. It became very successful and even has over 26 000 FB-likes. Naturally, this kind of success, which is huge in Finland, attracted some blog-portals. I mean, who wouldn’t want to have than kind traffic. It’s moneys! But this is what happened. It’s a good warning story for every blogger out there, who wants to become professional. I’m translating (again, poorly) from the original blog post:

My last blog post was almost a month ago and in general, blogging has become a chore, or quite frankly, I just haven’t been wanting to do it. I’m finally going to tell you the real reason why. I don’t know the consequences of it but I think this kind of cases always should be brought to light, and not just let the blog portals, or others, to do whatever they want to other people.

Let’s start from the beginning…This is my personal blog, which is always been an independent one but I’ve been writing for years for the most popular thrift store blog in Finland. I was already writing it, when it was early and wasn’t updated that often yet, and when there were few other writers and it was an independent blog. In 2013 blog was moved under a portal and the amount of writers was reduced to three. The original owner of the blog left completely and it was me and three other girls, who originally were writing anonymously, who were left running the whole thing. We updated the blog according to the set timetable, ran the Facebook-page, where we managed to gather over 26 000 likes.

I didn’t attend the first meeting with the owners of the portals, but we were promised, verbally, whole bunch of things, such as financial rewards for which there was a set scale. We were promised an online access to a real time data, where we could follow how much we’d earn. We never got the access, even though we asked for them repeatedly. We kept getting the runaround of “oh, we can’t get them to work”, although mysteriously they COULD tell how much traffic our traffic was increasing. Apparently the most of all the blogs in the portal. The promised increased rewards never materialised and our messages were never answered the first time we asked for them and in the end they were promised to be paid later. Stupidly, we believed this and continued running the blog.

I wrote the blog with the same nic I use here, and my identity has never been a secret. I gave  numerous interviews to various medias on my own time, and only one gaining from this, was the portal. Of course article’s on YLE (The Finnish Broadcasting Company) and mentions on radio bring clicks and readers for the blog, which is what a portal wants. Slowly and surely I became more and more frustrated at the situation and me and the two other girls tried to reach the management at the portal. This time I suggested a face to face meeting, as I thought they’d be forced to listen to us. An e-mail is too easy to ignore. Finally we met them, me personally for the first time. The meeting went nicely and we managed to present our case professionally and again, we were promised a lot of things. The salary thing was promised to be answered by the end of the week. Do I even have to say that it wasn’t? I had to send them numerous e-mails and when I finally got an answer, it was entirely something else.

My expectations for the salary weren’t high but since the meeting went so well, and we didn’t demand the impossible, only what we were promised, the end result was a slap in the face. They fired us. I was upset. I asked my colleagues and they confirmed receiving the same e-mail.  All of us writers were given a month’s notice and they announced they were going to continue “update the blog in-house”. I couldn’t believe my eyes! I immediately dug up my contract and it clearly stated that blog only owned the rights to the name and the address but the content was  ours to keep. Thus the portal could continue with the blog, but we could keep all of its materail

We decided to act. We removed the portal employee’s from our FB-page, which was our main channel to reach our readers and which we had been running for years. At the same time, we changed the password to our e-mail, where the readers have been sending their pictures we’ve been publishing. They also send a lot of images to Facebook. I assumed I had the right ot do so, because I didn’t think the portal owned the rights to them as it wasn’t stated in the contract.

It didn’t take long but I received a message from another one of the writers. The portal management had called and YELLED, that the admin-rights have to be returned to them. Apparently they could see, who had done the changes (read: me) and if I didn’t do the changes within an hour, they would take an action against the other person. (At this point I have to comment that threatening a third party for second party’s actions is insane and proves how little legal rights they actually have, but it gets worse…) At the same time I noticed that our usernames for the blog were cancelled. We couldn’t access a blog, that we thought was ours and where we owned the content, this was even stated in the contract. I was even more upset. I urged all the involved to calm down and promised to send an e-mail about it. I drafted the text and had several people to read it to make sure it’s professional. I stated my feelings and pointed out that their behaviour was not called for. Because the management was tormenting my colleagues, people I consider my friends, by yelling at them because of the changes I made, I didn’t see any other option than returning the admin rights (my comment again…Didn’t see any other options? Yes, there was/is. Contacting a lawyer), even though there was no mention of the Facebook-page in the contract. I wrote, that I’m doing it under an condition that we wouldn’t be kicked out of the blog until the contract actually ends, which would be the May 1st, 2015. It was a huge mistake. I never got a response but I did get a call from my upset colleague that she received another threatening phone call from the portal and they refuse to hang up until I return the rights. (Again my comment…How stupid is the colleague? She can hang up too and block the number). I asked her to give a message to the portal, that they should respond to my message and negotiate this like an adult. This wasn’t possible as “they don’t respond to blackmailing”. (My comment: pots and kettles, people, pots and kettles…) So now I’M the blackmailer, because I wanted to follow the contract and not them, who demanded the FB-admin rights within an hour or I “would face grave consequences”. I was never told what these consequences are, but I got scared when an adult starts threatening and behaving aggressively.

And I wasn’t the only one. Our third writer wanted to drop out very early in the case. I wished we could have stuck together as us three would have a better chance against them and we could demand our rights, but I can’t really blame her for her decision. I understand how scared you get, when someone, who is in management, threatens you with a legal action. I wish I could give up so easily as it would make my life much easier. I’ve had many sleepless nights because of this and my stress-levels are through the roof.

We were promised an access to the blog, if I returned the FB-admin rights. I did this under extreme pressure but our access was never returned. Me and the other writer asked for them and reminded about our one month notice but I never received an answer to my e-mails. It was quite clear that the management didn’t want to provide any evidence to us of what had happened, so they could deny everything should the need arise. All the aggressiveness happened over the phone.

When my numerous contact attempts were ignored, I resigned just to wait for my final salary. I didn’t want to say anything until I had received all the money I was owed. In the meanwhile, the dust settled until I got an e-mail from the “helpdesk”, basically anonymously from the portal. I was accused of something I hadn’t done and they demanded me to rectify it. I answered and explained that I hadn’t done it and therefore couldn’t fix it. I also mentioned that my username hadn’t been activated so I couldn’t access my material for which I have the copyright. I asked a transfer file for my material. I received an answer that I have rights to the text but not for the images. It doesn’t say so in the contract but they e-mailed me that if I used the images elsewhere I would be guilty of a crime. Then I got blamed for blackmail again and was told they wouldn’t pay me my leftover salary, if I didn’t fix the earlier mentioned thing, which I hadn’t done. Finally they send me a transfer file of my texts without any of the images (including the ones I’ve taken). The file also missed entire posts. I can’t do anything with this file (my comment…Yes you do. This is evidence of their wrong doing).

As of 1st of May, the blog was completely out of my hands. Still on the 2nd of May, there was content created by me, as seen in the screenshot (my comment: not posting the image). I found tons of my posts on the blog and they had just removed my initials from the. The post above is still there, again only without my signature. There are posts by the other writers too, they even left the Best Wishes in the end of the posts, the signatures missing. This isn’t how copyright works but portal doesn’t care and the readers won’t notice.

Why am I telling you all this? Because if my text makes even one blogger to think carefully about joining a blog portal, or at least to read the contract very carefully, this matters. What happened is very much against my moral values and although it’s easier to keep one’s head down and let other people all over you, I value myself more if I fight. I’m sure nothing good comes out of this for me and I’m also sure there will be even more threats, but few more won’t make any difference. It kills me that the site I built for years, was taken from me and the portal is now making the profit of it. It did so for years but at least I was financially compensated, even if it wasn’t very much.

My conscience is clear, because for the entire this time I’ve been professional. Though I do regret a part in the one e-mail I sent them

“Hello XXXXX,

You know good an well, why I’m messaging you, although we haven’t been in contact. Your threats were received, thank you very much. I wish, that you understand that your behaviour is uncalled for and very unprofessional. Which is why I won’t write anymore about that.

Now to the matter at hand. If the only way to access to our blog (and for which we hold the copyright) is to give you the admin rights to our FB-page, this doesn’t leave much choice, does it. I will only do this under the condition that instead of kicking us out of the blog, we stay there till the contract runs out, which is the 1st of May.


Emma-Kaisa Kuusisto.”

Although I had several people to read this to make sure it’s professional, the management took it as a blackmail (my comment: it isn’t) and my colleagues paid for it by having to listen their yelling. This wasn’t my intention. I told this to the “helpdesk” too. I tried to handle this as an adult but it became impossible because of the actions of the portal.

Maybe someday I’ll start another thrift store themed blog as it is one of my passions and a very important hobby. As of this moment I don’t have any motivation for it. I will continue writing my personal blog as this opening up has given me new fuel to write.

I’d like to remind that the two other writers don’t have anything to do with this blogpost.

So here it is. Personally I think that if you become successful enough to attract a blog portal to take an interest in you, you are strong enough brand to get advertising yourself. Readers come to you because of YOUR TALENT! Why would you voluntarily give up a slice of that to a third party that hadn’t invested a cent in developing your content? In this case the writers should have done research on the company and have a lawyer check out the contract. You never have to sign the first version. Remember, THEY are the ones who want you and THEY are the ones, who have to present to you, why they’d be better for you. They are the ones, who need YOU, not the other way around. I hope Emma-Kaisa gets a lawyer as I don’t think this will go to a court.

What are your thoughts? Have you been successful enough to get a portal to take interest in you? How did it go?

-Thrifty Finn-

P.S. The owner of the portal is a company called Bastella Media Oy. To get the names of the owners behind that, I’d have to buy access to the Finland’s Company Database. Which I’m not too keen to do yet. We’ll see if we get any answers from them today. Fingers crossed.