By: Elmo Ropponen

Our company, Medanta, is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. We started practically from scratch, with the aim of being able to pay ourselves salaries one day. Today, we have six employees and several subcontractors, as well as clothing lines and customers around the world who are interested in our products and ideology.

To celebrate our anniversary, we list ten lessons we have learned about running a business during these years.

  1. A strong vision. If we could go back to 2008 and advise ourselves, this is what we would say: believe in your vision and intuition. They will carry you forward, even through difficult times. We wanted to rethink work clothing in the healthcare sector, and this continues to be our mission.
  2. Confidence and self-esteem. If you don’t believe in your business idea, who will? Our first warehouse was a wardrobe at home, for products that we sold under the Medanta brand. It was wonderful to feel the power that comes from being able to stand behind your idea 110%.
  3. Trial and error. We started out by selling work clothing produced by an American manufacturer. However, we soon noticed that it was not suitable for Finnish work culture – for example, the hospital clothes did not have breast pockets for security reasons. This helped us realise that we needed to design and manufacture our own products.
  1. The courage to do things differently. We carved our own path from early on, which often meant going against conventional ways of doing things. In our field, many manufacturers offer bulk products, but our operations are based on developing our own materials and design styles and ensuring high quality. Leading the way has not always been easy, but it has always paid off.
  2. Listen to your customers. Certain needs, such as the significance of work and patient clothes, had been overlooked in the healthcare sector for a long time. We had discussions and found brilliant people who wanted to lead the way with us in this field. They also wanted to improve their employees’ job satisfaction. Our customers always have and will always strongly participate in our product development.
  3. Be willing to outdo yourself. This is half in jest – but only half: as a new business owner, you should be prepared to skip meals and even visits to the toilet as often as possible. This is because you will immerse yourself in your work, inspired by feedback and encouragement from your customers.
  4. Find good partners. There’s no point in trying to do everything yourself. We have focused on finding the perfect partners for Medanta – on finding the right chemistry, building trust and taking things forward together.
  5. Find the best advisors in the field. In terms of growth, Medanta has reached the point where we need strategic advisors and a professional board of directors. These people know their stuff: they coach us and steer our company with great skill, be it with regard to intelligent clothing, antimicrobial treatments or epidemiology.
  6. Build an agile and flexible team. Our employees are committed to our shared vision and work hard to make it a reality. We are able to respond rapidly, as our operating models are not set in stone. If a customer doesn’t like something and we can fix it or change it, we will do just that.
  7. Sustainability. We are thoroughly familiar with our production chain and monitor it closely. We are aware that the textile industry has large water, energy and carbon footprints. For this reason, it’s important to us that we only manufacture products that are genuinely needed and durable.

We received heart-warming feedback about this just recently, from the dentists at Oral. With the beginning of a new contract period nearing, they let us know that – after three years of use – they didn’t want to change anything about their work clothes. Together with the customer, we had succeeded in creating a line of work clothing that is not only durable, but also nice and comfortable to wear.

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