From Retail to Entrepreneurship: My Journey to Coventures
Join us in welcoming Matti Torniainen to Coventures as one of our Entrepreneurs in Residence. This blog delves into Matti's journey from a successful ecommerce professional to an innovative entrepreneur, highlighting his transition from corporate roles to launching his own brand.
My career has always been deeply rooted in retail, particularly in the realm of ecommerce. It's been a journey of continual growth and development within this dynamic sector. However, in the fall of 2022, I chose to pause and take a study leave. This break was more than just a hiatus; it was a period of introspection and learning, a time to think about my next steps. My aim was to find the next step in retail, but after much deliberation, I decided it was time for a change - to challenge myself by exploring new environments and growth opportunities.
Entrepreneurship has always resonated with me, making the transition from a secure corporate role to launching my own venture felt like a natural progression for me. My first entrepreneurial endeavor involved setting up a company designing and selling charging cabinets. Besides setting up and growing my own business, I was eager to find new opportunities where I could apply my experience and capabilities in a new context. Joining Coventures felt like a great fit after several discussions. It was an opportunity that aligned well with my entrepreneurial mindset and desire for new challenges.
I've been fortunate to witness the expansive landscape of S Group’s retail business, particularly its journey through the evolution of ecommerce. My role involved steering the ecommerce development for various stores across diverse sectors, from groceries to consumer goods to DIY. This journey has been about more than just ecommerce growth; it's been about understanding and implementing different development methods, product management, and agile transformation. I've also focused on enhancing customer experience while maintaining a comprehensive view of the business from an end-to-end perspective. I’ve been fortunate to have had the possibility to work with the best retail talents in Finland.
Now, as an entrepreneur with my own brand, Henki Furniture, I continue to develop my business while lending my expertise to other companies.
Some of the most impactful ventures in my career include leading grocery retailing from a 10 million € business to 200 million €, focusing on business profitability and commercial sustainability. Managing ecommerce for stores with extensive product assortments and handling millions of orders annually has been another significant experience. Collaborating with 19 regional cooperatives and a large corporation, though challenging, has been instrumental in shaping my approach to business growth and success where one must understand a variety of perspectives and work together to reach common goals.
As an entrepreneur, I leverage my experiences to help clients navigate the challenges of growing new businesses or enhancing profitability. My understanding of digitalization, ecommerce, and agile transformation helps clients avoid common pitfalls. I've worked with various team setups and development models, and my experience in establishing centralized customer service functions provides valuable insights into effective operational strategies. My focus on end-to-end customer experience, profitability, and targeted focus areas, combined with my passion for inspiring teams and product management, enables me to positively impact client organizations, fostering their growth and development.
Choosing Coventures was an instinctive decision. From my first interaction with the team, I felt this would be a good place to work as an entrepreneur and share the experience with others. The shared vision of developing new businesses and driving growth really resonated with me. The warm welcome from my new colleagues also made me feel that Coventures was the right choice - a sort of home for entrepreneurs where we can pursue our interests and help each other in different ways.