Aiming at realising even the most individual dreams of

Aiming at realising even the most individual dreams of

Petri Karvinen from Kihniö, who established the Wall Mask company, turned his beloved hobby into a successful business activity and a job for himself. He himself played ice hockey as a goalie and noticed that, in the early 1990s, the new-style goalie masks were not yet available in Finnish shops.

“Everybody admired the first mask helmets imported from North America. I made the first mask for myself and started making it better and better. The word got around and my goalie colleagues started asking for my masks.”
 
Wall Mask, established in Kihniö in 1990, manufactures and markets face masks for ice hockey and floorball goalies. Today, almost every ice hockey goalie playing at national championship level protects his face with a mask made by Mr Karvinen.
 
The company markets its products by meeting goalies in person and demonstrating its products in sports shops.  The company goes into changing rooms to listen to the kinds of wishes top players have for the mask, and then tries to turn these wishes into reality. The fact that the entrepreneur himself has years of experience on the ice hockey rink helps him realise individual dreams. Today, the Internet plays a very significant role in the marketing of products.
 

 More than 80 per cent of top goalies in Finland use face masks manufactured by Wall Mask.
 
Wall Mask was granted financing from the Rural Development Programme. The purpose of the project was to create new product models, introduce new materials, and make production more efficient. The company wanted to expand its operations with a view to export markets in particular. As a result, they have found a number of new retailers in Europe and the United States.
 
The project consisted of two areas of development: one was related to design and the other to the development of a new model. A novel 3D-printed prototype was used for the development work. The other part of the project focused on the development of a new production method and the introduction of new materials. During the project, automation of the work was increased with the help of a robot.
 

Wall Mask's products are known worldwide, and many top Finnish and international goalies participate in the product development, including players from the NHL and the Russian KHL.
 
The project succeeded in reaching the goals set for it, and the company has strengthened its status within its narrow sector of special expertise. Today, the company that started from a hobby, employs three people in addition to the entrepreneur. It also offers work to several subcontractors.
The example of professional goalies is important in the marketing as well, since most of the products are sold to junior and amateur players. Some 15 per cent of the products are exported, mainly to Russia, the United States, and European countries.
 
Project implemented by: Wall Mask
Project financed by: Local Action Group Aktiivinen Pohjois-Satakunta ry

Teksti: Maria Markus
Kuvat: Jyrki Vesa