My Favorite Things 5 Years Since

By the stoop (photo courtsey of Mikko Kempas)

By the stoop (photo courtsey of Mikko Kempas)

My Favorite Things - a storefront operated by Finnish skateboarding natives, celebrates their 5th anniversary of supplying some of the most coveted skateboarding and streetwear essentials. We caught up the founders of MFT to clarify their path from the day one all the way up to this date. Check their amazing story below.

VHS corner - very heavy shit?

VHS corner - very heavy shit?

In Summer 2013 we started to talk about it and kept marinating the idea over that following winter. Sadly bankrupt Grey Market Supply and Cali Helsinki still freshly on our minds (R.I.P. to both of you legends) we thought something wasn’t completely right, when at the same time there wasn’t basically anything ’wrong’ either. We had shops in Helsinki for sure, but we thought we’re still missing ’something’.

Skateboard shops in Helsinki had moved to shopping malls, and shopping malls are not for everyone, that’s just how it is. It’s kind of hard to describe what that exactly was that was missing, but it was clear it was something you could sense when walking into Grey Market or Cali Helsinki few years earlier. The realness, the rawness, the homies doing their thing with passion.

From the rise of smaller independently owned skate brands like Palace and Polar Skate Co. around 2011-2012 we could see this wasn’t only what Helsinki needed, but what would become a worldwide trend in skateboarding in general. Or maybe the word ”trend” is misleading in this case, maybe it should’ve been like this always?

So we finally decided to quit the talking and actually do it on Spring 2014, and after several months of hard work and planning we opened My Favorite Things’ doors on 21st of August, 2014.

Risky. Bold. Insane. To be honest there was only a handful of people who really believed that we could make it work. Hidden in the back of a dimly lit courtyard. Not aiming for the masses. ”Too focused on skateboarding”. Yeah, we understand a lot of people didn’t believe that it could work.

Now five years later we’re truly humbly stoked to see our shop doing better than ever before. A lot of positive things have happened to us past these years, but it has definitely taken an enormous amount of work from several people. Countless hours of giving up on free time and prioritizing work over personal life. Losing hundreds of hours of good sleep overthinking about work.

But at the end of the day it’s the passion and love to that work what counts the most. It’s the happy customers, it’s the people who believe in us and support us now, it’s the homies who come to hang out at our shop, they make all of the hard work worth it.

Hopefully you can sense that ’something’ when you step into MFT.

Here’s to the first five years, hopefully there’s many more years to come.

Oki Kalaoja

Part owner & president of My Favorite Things

Hang Up Awards

Hang Up Awards

On top of the fascinating story of grinding hard for the past 5 years, we were eager to find out more about the little things that culminated into My Favorite Things. Here’s what Oki told us.

 
Stroll down the memory lane

Stroll down the memory lane

 

Where does the name “My Favorite Things” actually originate from? Was there any other alternatives for the name?

To celebrate our 5 years we actually decided to tell the story behind the name publicly for the first time. We were thinking the name has to relate to our ”golden era” of skateboarding (late 90’s – early 00’s). That’s why also our official company name is Trilogy

We went through a dozen options for the shop name, and surprisingly the one we picked was maybe the most unusual shop name we had from our options, but we really liked the vibe of it. That sounded really special and gave us the option to stand out with it. It took a bottle of sake, couple cases of beer and one sleepless night at the shop to decide the name.  

The main reference comes not from the classic musical Sound of Music, but DNA Continuum’s Jahmal Williams’ skate part from 2002. For that time of skateboarding it was absolutely inspirational to see a skate part with classic timeless skateboarding by Jahmal paired with John Coltrane’s version of My Favorite Things song and other cultural references on that part.

To have something special for the 5 year anniversary, we partnered up with the skateboarder / artist Arsi Keva, famous of his 12” record cover art series. he did a custom painting for us that we’re launching as a pullover hoodie and a t-shirt on our official birthday on 21st of August.


 

MFT 5v artwork by Arsi Keva

 
View from the brick-and-mortar store’s entrance

View from the brick-and-mortar store’s entrance

Can you tell us the weirdest and/or funniest memory that’s occured during the last 5 years?

Stefan Janoski and Arto Saari came to the shop one morning few years ago. Wu Tom (our shop manager 2014-2016) was so starstruck he didn’t manage to get a photo of them, haha. It always trips me out to see long queues in front of our shop for special launches. Last time with Nike SB x AJ1 Low UNC’s the first guys tried to come to camp out 4pm the day earlier.

Deck wall (picture courtesy of Juha Pönkänen)

Deck wall (picture courtesy of Juha Pönkänen)

MFT is now half a decade deep, where do you see MFT during the next five years?

It’s probably weird to say this as an entrepreneur, but our goal with MFT has never been to grow rapidly year after year or aim to open a 2nd door or whatever. Skateboard business is a small margin business and we are 100% ok with it as long as we are able to keep the shop running in Freda & online. We’re happy where we are right now and the vision’s clear for the future too. Online business has been a blessing for us and that’s also one thing we keep on focusing on, without sacrificing the vibe or the quality of our customer service in our brick & mortar at Freda which will always stay top priority for us.

The first customer of My Favorite Things

The first customer of My Favorite Things

Can you name us your top 3 brands that are up for grabs in your supply?

We’ve been lucky to get several pretty hard to get brands in our brand list. We’ve imported over 15 brands as never been seen before in finnish marketplace within past 5 years, which I’m really proud of. I never forget the feeling when we were allowed to sell Fucking Awesome as first two customers in Nordics (with Street Machine, Copenhagen) in September 2014, that meant a lot to us back then and opened us quite a few doors after that. I’d still say our favorite brands to sell are the local brands run by the homies. From international brands, Polar Skate Co.’s always been our #1 since we opened. Pontus’ journey with Polar Skate Co. has been amazing, which i’ve been lucky to witness as a distributor since their day 1 in 2012. Big thank you to Nike SB and Adidas Skateboarding too giving us the access to some special heat, there’s much more to come…

My Favorite Things x Happy Hour

My Favorite Things x Happy Hour

Any shoutouts?

We want to thank all of our customers past these 5 years. The brands that believe in us. We’re blessed to make it this far and hopefully these five years have only been a start of this beautiful journey. Also a huge shout out to everyone that helped us get this far, all the people who have helped us at the shop or with graphics or whatever, you know who you are.

 Thanks to Hypend for this one, let’s keep doing it for the culture in Helsinki & Finland in general!

The team (photo courtesy of Mikko Kempas)

The team (photo courtesy of Mikko Kempas)


Curated by
Karim Awad & Oula Valkeinen