Tag Archives: Finland

The Flea Market Season Is Open

Lepuski2

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.

Regards,

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.

 

Helsinki City Museum: #Flashback

helsingin kaupunginmuseo, Helsinki city museum

Few weeks ago I received an invitation to an exhibition opening at Helsinki City Museum. It was last week and let me tell you, it was super fun.

But first a little about the actual exhibition…The museum had invited 12 Helsinki-based artists to dig into their photo archives. There was no other direction given, the artists were free to do whatever they wanted. They gathered every Wednesday-night to go through the archives and discuss what they found.

The exhibition/installation tells a story about a man, who wakes up on a park bench one morning and starts to remember what happened the night before. The flashbacks are projected on screens and are roughly divided by themes like After Work, Encounterings etc…

 

Go check it out. Helsinki City Museum is a free museum and is located just off Aleksanterinkatu by the Helsinki Cathedral on Sofiankatu 4.

The opening party was great. They had a DJ, some circus artists (I asked from which circus company but I’ve already forgotten which one, explanation for this comes next) and a photo booth! There was a queue for it for all evening but nothing too bad as I went twice. My personal opinion now is that EVERY party should have a photo booth. It ain’t no party, with no photo booth arty.  The company that provided the booth at the opening is called Funbox and they rent them for companies and individuals alike (I checked, you know, the journalist that I am).

Anyhoo. The reason for all that forgetting? This:

ab

It was called something something Green Beast. I drank four glasses of this stuff. Then I met a friend for a glass of wine at an expensive restaurant. That then turned into glasses of cheap sparkling wine at another restaurant, which then turned into dancing at one club and got finished off with some more sparkling wine and dancing at another club.

Yes. I took the concept of the installation literally and applied it into my own life. Life imitates art, that sort of thing. Well, we DID sort of had a reason to party. My friend started his own business so there’s that.

-Thrifty Finn-

P.S. The images posted on Instagram with the hashtag #fläsäri got projected on a screen. It was actually quite fun. I’m not sure if that is a permanent feature for the exhibition but I hope so.

Vintage Fabric Resources

forssa museum, forssan museo, vintage fabric identifier

Via forssanmuseo.fi

I had to share this with you as soon as I found out about it. A Finnish museum has a handy textile design tool, where you can search prints/designs by designer and/or year. And what do you know, the site is also in ENGLISH.

Naturally I had to check if I happen to own anything really good and rare but instead I found fabrics I want to have. Like this one:

1953, vintage fabric design, Finland

via forssanmuseo.fi

From 1953, there’s no designer name but LOOK AT THE PATTERN! It’s beautiful! Or how about this one from 1967 by Helena Perheentupa?

Helena Perheentupa, forssan museo, Finnish textile design

via forssanmuseo.fi

Could a pattern be anymore 60s? No matter what you make from this fabric, it would sell on the craft markets like hot cakes. I demand A RE-PRINT! Ooh, and in different colourways! Imagine yellow…*floats into a fabric dreamland*

One more for the road because this one I’ve seen IRL (sort of, on an online vintage market). It’s by a designer Pirkko Hammarberg and has such a utilitarian name S4089. But it’s anything but:

Pirkko Hammarberg, Finnish textile design, 1968

via forssanmuseo.fi

The fabric is so vibrant and alive! Part of me knows that these colours probably weren’t achieved with the most environmentally healthy chemicals but the other part wishes one could still get these. The third part of me wishes more vintage prints would be re-printed (OTHER THAN MARIMEKKO DAMMIT! I’M SO BORED WITH THEM!) but then the magic of finding these prints at the thrift stores would be gone.

I actually did some research and called Forssan Museo/Forssa Museum to enquire more about this online tool. I spoke with the musem director, Kati Kivimäki, herself and she told me that the online research tool only has a very small selection of their collection. Apparently they have 500 shelf meters just Finlayson prints! 500 SHELF METERS, PEOPLE!!! Imagine getting your hands on that loot. When I asked if they have plans to digitize more of their collection, she told me that everytime they get a job lot where the designer is marked and/or known, they will add it to the search tool.

Now Forssan Museo is on my museum visit wishlist. HERE you can find where they are located and the entry fees.

-Thrifty Finn, in a fabric fever-

 

 

 

 

Greetings From Lapland

thrifty finn, Lapland, Finland thrifty finn, Lapland, Finland thrifty finn, Lapland, Finland

My oh my. I decided to be a dutiful daughter, grand-daughter, godmother and a friend. I dragged my lazy, wiggly butt all the way to Lapland. I kind of had to. Due to my operations, I hadn’t been there for almost two years I think. Or three winters. Anyhoo, I hadn’t seen a real winter for so long that I kept walking outside and ooh’ing and aah’ing on all the trees. They truly look magical.

It was great seeing my grandparents. But even better was the connecting with some of my best friends from my glory days ;D Dammit, they are hilarious. I wish I could tell you all the on-the-moment jokes but you know how it goes…They are only funny to you and/or on the moment. But one of them was a story of my friend, who decided to go on an early morning run and then surprise her boyfriend by slithering under the blankets naked. The boyfriend then proceeded to scream like a little girl. Because “her legs were fucking freezing”. You know, I expect more of a Lapland boy, don’t you agree?

So the trip was great but being with other people EVERY DAY left me exhausted. Not to mention the gazillion discussions on “how are your knees?”. They are fine, can we please move along? Also, guess how many times I was forced into conversations about my reproductive plans? TOO MANY!!! I bet no man has to go through that when they visit home.

Anyhoo, I had a point with this post…Lapland is lovely, you should visit it too.

-Thrifty Finn-

P.S. Funny story, I managed to get an urinary tract infection there. How? You may wonder. Welllllll, my friend convinced me to go sledding and in the process, I managed to get snow in my panties. Good times.