The framing and art supply shop PauMer Kehys, which moved to a new space on Kauppakatu last February, is a household name in Joensuu. The current entrepreneur Marita Hiltunen joined the company as an employee in 2006. Three years later, she took over the reins when PauMer Kehys changed hands.
Paumer Kehys offers museum-quality framing services and art supplies for both students and professional artists. The shop also sells a changing selection of art prints, photographs and post cards.
Initially trained as a studio weaver, Hiltunen had time to familiarise herself with entrepreneurial work while creating fabrics for interior decoration as a private trader in the early 2000s. When the situation in her life changed, Hiltunen saw an ad stating that PauMer Kehys was looking for a framer. Hiltunen got along well with the entrepreneur and got the job. Although working with her hands was nothing new to Hiltunen, she had no previous experience of framing whatsoever.
– I’ve acquired my expertise through work. At the moment, they don’t even train framers in Finland. Framing techniques can be learned with the guidance of a more experienced professional, but you also need a certain eye for detail, customer service skills and adaptability. The best thing about the job is the meaningfulness that comes from interactions with customers. I’ve often teared up working with art pieces significant to the client.
Entrepreneurship was a natural choice
When her employer told Hiltunen that she was giving up the company, the decision to buy PauMer Kehys was made on the spot. Hiltunen tells that by that time she was already well acquainted with the inner workings of the company. Entrepreneurship enabled her to work with her hands and to work with customers in an independent manner. Although her early years as an entrepreneur were filled with many big life changes and challenges, including the issue of reconciling motherhood and entrepreneurship, Hiltunen feels like she made the right choice, when she took over PauMer Kehys in 2009.
– Entrepreneurship gives back so much. You can work on your own terms and based on your own values. I’ve planned framing with a customer with a three-week old baby, and I’ve set up a travel cot in the store multiple times, Hiltunen recalls.
Help with digital skills and recruitment
Although she has been close to running out of steam at times, quitting PauMer Kehys has never been an option for Hiltunen. However, she admits that she could have asked for help earlier. Help arrived when Maikki Miettinen, Luotsi’s business agent, popped into the shop for a visit. Since then, Hiltunen has received help with her company’s digital development from Business Joensuu’s Digi.Grow-service. She has also found a part-time employee and received information about pay subsidies from Luotsi.
– Don’t belittle your own entrepreneurship. The services are meant for small businesses too, not just large growth companies, says Hiltunen. She admits that networking and information technology have always felt challenging to her.
– Hanna and Marko from Business Joensuu are the kind of people that, if you can’t go along with them, you won’t go along with anyone. It’s nice that they’re looking to take us lone, stubborn people back into circulation.
With the Digi.Grow-service, Hiltunen got a chance to network with other entrepreneurs, develop her company’s marketing and to take a grip on social media. On social media, Hiltunen emphasises being her own, easily approachable self. Next, she is going to take a look at the company’s numbers and financial planning with Business Joensuu’s business coach.
When a long-time customer came to reframe a piece that had been framed decades ago at the same address by Paumer Kehys’ predecessor, Hiltunen felt even more at home at Kauppakatu. Hiltunen feels that the current store is easy to access and that the space allows plenty of opportunities for developing her business. Among other things, she intends to expand the selection of artworks on sale.
The development of the company’s digital services has continued as well. The latest development has been the launch of PauMer’s own website (www.paumer.fi). Although competition in the market of art supplies against online stores is stiff, Hiltunen still believes in the significance of brick and mortar stores:
– Here, the customer is welcome to try out the supplies to, for example, find just the right brush. Encounters and conversations with customers are meaningful. It’s precious to me as an entrepreneur; the feeling of being able to help.
Business whisperers help entrepreneurs with issues such as the growth and development, human resources and operational environments of businesses, the entrepreneurs’ well-being and education, and the planning of buyouts among other things. The whisperers are also interested in hearing feedback relating to entrepreneurship so that they can inform policy-makers. The goal is to listen to entrepreneurs and to offer free and straightforward help to local businesses in different stages.
The business whisperers will be serving the businesses of the Joensuu city grid and the industrial area on week 40. Read more about business whisperers and contact them at www.businessjoensuu.fi/yrityskuiskaajat.
Text: Ammeri Kankaisto
Pictures: Stefan De Batselier