Finnish fashion firm turns to crowdfunding to dodge bankruptcy

The 10-year-old fashion firm Samuji owes creditors 150,000 euros.

Image: Pekka Sipola / AOP

Finnish fashion brand Samuji has begun a crowdfunding campaign to stave off bankruptcy. The firm was founded a decade ago by Samu-Jussi Koski, former Creative Director of Finland’s iconic Marimekko brand.

On Monday, the firm launched a week-long campaign last week on Finland’s biggest crowdfunding platform, Mesenaatti. By Tuesday morning the fund had accumulated 20,000 euros.

The company has an ambitious funding target, some 400,000 euros, with a minimum goal of 150,000 euros, which corresponds to the amount it owes to creditors.

In addition to the crowdfunding initiative, Samuji will host an art auction in early September to help raise funds to bail out the company.

Karoliina Hellberg, Tuukka Tammisaari and other artists have agreed to contribute some of their creations for the auction.

Hellberg told Yle that the auction should take place next Wednesday, 4 September, adding that details about time, place and participating artists will be revealed in the next few days.

Unpaid pension contributions behind bankruptcy

In July, daily Helsingin Sanomat reported that Samuji had filed for bankruptcy. The firm had defaulted on employees’ pension payments, which pensions firm Ilmarinen sought to recover, resulting in the bankruptcy filing.

Samuji owed some 150,000 euros in unpaid pension contributions. At the end of July, CEO Frank Svenfelt told HS that there were two major reasons for the company’s collapse.

In the first instance, the firm lost two major resellers in 2017. "Two of our three big resellers shut down for reasons unrelated to us. This had a very big impact on us," Svenfelt said in July.

The other factor was the fashion brand’s failed foray into the US market. Samuji opened a retail outlet in New York in late 2016, which however closed its doors in April this year.