Otto Hokkanen is a 21-year-old Metropolia student who moved from Mikkeli to Helsinki a year and half ago to study International Business and Logistics. Yeah, so what? Wait, there´s more; he has his own clothing line called Dens Clothing and he just established his first online shop. That´s just for starters, his long-term goal is to become a millionaire by 2030!
There aren´t many things in life that are more important than finding your passion and dream, setting a clear goal and truly work for it. As we know, it´s easier said than done, thus a sobering dose of inspiration and encouragement is something we all could find use of. Hokkanen´s determined attitude and story nicely fits the bill.
Boldly Choosing the Hard Way
Since his early childhood Hokkanen has always been entrepreneurial. Amongst other things, he used to sell self-made bird boxes and overhauled bicycles. At age of 16 he became interested in clothing fashion, which led into designing prints on T-shirts, caps and cloth bags, which all received plenty of positive feedback from friends.
A year ago Hokkanen decided it was time to expand his hobby and he begun to design his own clothing line. Today he has a newly opened online shop with ten products to choose from. He says that in general the wear are modern street fashion with a Scandinavian tint.
No doubt, Hokkanen is pushing his brand to extremely competitive markets, where only a few dare to take their chances.
“There is no niche in the market, you have to create it by yourself. Everyone often repeats that clothing company needs a celebrity to sell a product or brand. I disagree. The company is able to gain popularity with infectious and various prints and patterns. The most elegant would be if the company did not advertise their products through celebrities, but the popularity would be the result of only good marketing. There will be challenges in this area, but my tactic is to go small and unobtrusively towards the hearts of the Finns”, Hokkanen reveals in regards to marketing strategy. At this point however, most of it he likes to keep to himself.
“I have a strong vision of my own business model, but I still keep it a secret. However, it is completely different from what you´d usually expect. At the beginning, I have basic collections, which I sell, but when my business develops, my business model develops. I have a strong feeling that with it I succeed in my field. Unfortunately, I can't open any more at this time. Let’s just say that it will stand out from the competition”, he says.
Green Plans Ahead
While just getting started Hokkanen works alone and does not have any subcontractors or partners in cooperation yet. There will be plenty of time for that in the future.
“I order my clothes from a British company that makes the shirts ready. Shirts come to them from China. My caps come from a company in United States, which have a factory in Latvia. I put my neck and size tags to the shirts myself. Over time as my business and my knowledge of the clothing industry grows, and when I´ll have enough resources, I will be working harder and stronger for the environment. At present, paper bags which I use, to send orders to customers are made of recycled materials. As a small company, I would just make loss, if I´d order my clothes from anywhere else than countries like China or India. In the future I´ll have more resources to build an environmental friendly clothing line”, Hokkanen says.
Focusing on the Right Things at the Right Time
Hokkanen studies his second year in International Business and Logistics (Bachelor´s) degree programme at Metropolia UAS and he has been more than happy about it.
“In fact, I applied to Metropolia, International business and Logistics by chance. My friend talked a lot about this degree programme and I decided to apply too. I was very interested in business, but I had no clue where to apply. With open mind, only one hour's sleep and without any preparation I went to the entrance exam. Then later in the summer, I received a notice that I had been accepted to study in Metropolia UAS. I was excited, but I didn't know what to expect”, Hokkanen recalls.
And then the experience exceeded his all expectations.
“Education has given me more than much. I just couldn't expect what kind of training I would get, but the training has been excellent. I've learned a lot about very different subjects, which I need in this field, such as marketing and finance. I've been able to take advantage of these basic skills in constructing various operations and functions of my company, such as simple- and double accounting”, he says.
The agglutination of entrepreneurship and university studies can´t be an easy mix. To Hokkanen it is all about scheduling and concentration.
“Everyday life is very hectic and stressful, but I have learned that stress should not be given greater power. I have learned to work as efficiently as possible, and to keep the studies, as well as free time apart from each other. When I do, I do it properly. But when I don't, I don't do it at all”, he says.
Who Counts Failures, If You Finally Succeed?
Remember Rocky´s motivational speech line from the movie ”Rocky Balboa” (2006): You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done. Interestingly Hokkanen has his own way in saying substantially the same thing about uncertainty of life, which says quite a lot about his character.
“My long-term goal is to be a millionaire by 2030. In my opinion, the Finns are very humble people, but I think people should be very ambitious about their dreams and dare to say what they really think. I will try to succeed through my company and I will invest 110 percent from myself to the company. If my business fails, then I will rise and try again, as long as I will succeed. Who counts failures, if you finally succeed? I will always work as an entrepreneur, I know it and I have always known it. It has been a thing that has taken me forward all the time. I don't want to work from 8 am to 4 pm every day throughout my life in the job that I don’t even like. I am willing to work from 8 am to 8 pm every day, if I love what I do. Then it does not even feel like work, does it? Love what you do, nothing else matters. And don't listen to others, when it comes to dreams. Listen only yourself and you will achieve exactly what you have always dreamt of”, Hokkanen concludes.
We have heard the business people say, that at the end of the day all that matters is the bottom line. When it comes to bigger picture, that 21-year-old man´s quote right there is the bottom line. Isn´t it?
Dens Clothing online shop will open on January 12. at: www.densclothing.com
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