I’m Jessica Honkanen, a carpenter from Eastern Finland and the founder of Karjalan Kelo. We make unique urns from birch.
My story as an entrepreneur started from a personal loss. I had been interested in the funeral business before, but when my loved one learned that his life was coming to an end, I asked if I could make him an urn. Designing his urn, thinking of all the memories attached to him, I had a strong sense of doing something right. It felt like this is what I should do more of. This was my first step into the funeral business.
To be honest, I was nervous about starting as an entrepreneur, but I knew I would regret it or think “what if”, if I didn’t try. Starting something, trusting in oneself and one’s vision is hard. My best advice for anyone struggling with the start is to just be brave – things will move forward at their own pace just as they should go. Focus on doing what you do the best.
My best advice for anyone struggling with the start is to just be brave – things will move forward at their own pace just as they should go.
As I’m working in the business of grief, the fact that every one of my clients who has ordered an urn from me and wants exactly one of my urns for their use, is the most rewarding thing. It’s a matter of honor for me and always just as wonderful. In addition, I am proud to be able to employ myself.
There is no one-size-fits-all guide to entrepreneurship. All the information has to be retrieved sprinkled from different places just according to what things affect your own entrepreneurship.
Thus, the most significant learning during my career has been to ask questions. Frank questions can be asked directly from potential customers or companies. I had been pondering one question for a few months, until one day I picked up the phone and decided to call a potential customer. I got an answer in three minutes after two months of inactive self-reflection.
The most significant learning during my career has been to ask questions.
The biggest myth of entrepreneurship is that you need to be some sort of a superhuman to do it, or that it is difficult. The basics of accounting can be learned with a little study and you can get direct help from agencies and your networks with any specific questions. When you start trying, interest in these things also arises and they become quite interesting. You will certainly learn by doing.
In the near future, I hope that I’ll graduate and I’ll develop my business further, maybe even hire one full-time employee. You never know what life brings so I don’t want to set too strict goals for the future, right now I just want to focus on doing what I enjoy the most.
I believe that digitalization will change the funeral business as it has changed our whole society. We’ll see more businesses online which means that people can compare services and plan things easier from home. I also believe that sustainability is becoming more and more important part of business as the awareness and the pressure towards companies increases to operate more sustainably. Companies can make their operations more sustainable in different ways, which has a big impact because companies influence what kind of commodities are released to the market.