Photos By Nolan P. Schmidt
In 2014, Josh Humble sat down with a dream.That dream would be to open his own business and create his own brand. Little did Humble know, this dream would eventually render itself into Finnu Designs. With a large focus on wood-based pieces of custom furniture, Humble and Finnu have injected their own Scandanavian heritage into their work. The end result is a custom piece that is perfect for the customer’s home.
Finnu is more than that as well. Humble says “Finnu” has no creative limits on what it can accomplish. He says they just so happen to focus on custom woodwork.
Finnu’s six-step design process allows them to get to a positive endgame with the customer, who is consulted throughout the project. The only rule Finnu places on potential customers? None. Finnu’ers challenge their customers to think of something unique or completely outside the box. This mentality has lent its hand to the eye-popping projects Finnu has put together in the past.
Yet, Finnu is more than just a custom furniture business. Finnu is a brand and every Finnu’er has had a role to play in that branding. Humble recognizes this and is the first to give his team credit for all of Finnu’s success. In the eyes of Humble, these ‘Finnu’ers’ are the reason the company had sustained itself since 2014.
And despite all that they have accomplished in a short time, these Finnu’ers want more. Humble and the team knows they are just scratching the surface of where Finnu could go as a brand and as a business.
Meet Finnu, its philosophy, the people that impact it and how Finnu continues to build its own unique niche from the founder’s perspective.
What Is Finnu?
We get asked this question a lot. So, to get a good understanding of “why?”, it really goes back to my childhood.
I have fond memories of helping my grandfather with yard work. He was proud of his yard and, to my knowledge, won community contests for best-kept yard in the neighborhood. I remember tending to the strawberries, collecting baseballs from the adjacent left field ballpark and tooling around in the wheel barrel. When the labor was done, and as a reward for my good work, he would take me into his tool shed and show me how to build little wood projects. He made lots of little items, including furniture that my family now has in their heirloom possession.
You see, I absolutely loved my grandfather for the time he gave me. He was a Swedish-talking, fun-loving guy who gave me camaraderie any boy would love. So, I knew when I was going to take on this venture, the brand had to be in honor of my grandfather, It just made sense to me.
So, just like any other new parent on the horizon, I scoured the internet for names. I focused in the Scandinavian regions for hours on end in my home office. I was bound and determined and I wouldn’t leave until I discovered this treasure. You could say I was on a mission, or maybe it was my inability to focus on anything else until I did just that. My wife would probably agree with the latter. She keeps me in line when I need it the most which impacts Finnu greatly.
Ironically, after hours of hunting, I couldn’t find anything that didn’t have a brand opportunity or was something I didn’t like. This was until I stumbled upon a little village, trail and creek in Switzerland of all places. They called it Finnu. There was a Scandinavian settlement there, roughly 7,000 settlers came from Finland, I believe in the 50s. I fell in love with it as soon as it rolled off of my tongue. Subsequently, it was all inspired by my Scandinavian grandfather and I knew it had unlimited potential for branding. From that moment, I fell in love with its large gamut and pliability. Using the “U” insignia is just another way of doing things a bit backward. We knew it would take time to connect the dots and that’s the idea. You see, Finnu isn’t just a woodworking company, it really has no limits and isn’t stuck in a box. That’s what we love about Finnu. We just happen to create awesome custom furniture and custom builds.
It takes a team to make an impact. Of course, there are many layers to these impacts, some personal, some broad and communal. Each person who has been a part of the Finnu team has made all opportunities possible.
I’m a firm believer that we are all woven together in the same large fabric of life, some opportunities come from circumstance, some from the hustle and of course some skill. Most of all, I believe our opportunities come from those who do the little things, not taking away from the big things either. A collection of little things adds up for the big swing at another opportunity.
For that, I focus on gratitude for all the hidden “little things” that are actually big things to us. I make mistakes, and we all do so I don’t get too bent out of shape either way. I believe that keeps the train going.
Finnu And Their Customers
It goes without saying, our customers make it all possible. We are focused on customer relationships first and service second. If we don’t have a relationship, what’s the point of the service? We are in the hospitality business as much as we are anything else. Our space is for our customers as much as it is for our operation. The customer is the big ball of energy in the center of the equation. Without them, there isn’t an equation. We are most grateful and always look forward to ongoing relationships and new ones to come.
Finnu At Its Core
Mike Brevik, Cyberdogz Marketing
Finnu works with Brevik to assist in the branding of Finnu.
Here is a common, everyday conversation between Mike and Josh. They describe their interactions, mostly talk about branding, what it means and exchange psychological reasonings behind everything. They’re constantly looking for answers to everyday problems. Josh explains those who connect with Mike will understand pretty quickly that he’s not only smart but listens very well. At the end of the day, his planning and creativity speak for themselves. Cyberdogz’s growth is certainly a result of Mike’s expertise. Mike (Cyberdogz) recently launched a podcast, featuring some interesting people around the country. You can check it out: Brand Retro
Leanne Sucrow, Interior Designer
When creating a custom piece, Finnu relies on Sucrow’s design expertise for guidance.
In the world of what we do, we love working with designers. Designers have a good understanding of client direction, project management, budget, expectations, collaboration and communication just to name a few. What we love about Leanne is her instinctive ability to convey all of that, and to generate conceptual ideas from across the country. She understands what is now, tomorrow and what is timeless. This eventually translates into her own interpretation. She’s an artist at the core and that is very telling in her finished work. It’s top-notch if you will. Coming together with Leanne on projects is an exciting opportunity for us to hit her expectations and ultimately our client’s expectations.
Josh Humble & Jesse Rostad
Both Humble and Rostad are the glue that holds Finnu together.
Jesse came onto the scene almost a year ago to the date. What started as a friendship, became an opportunity that was unexpected. Finnu was moving locations from Moorhead to West Fargo during the onset of the Coronavirus. As any good friend would do, he simply lent a hand in the undesirable move process. Because we’re both motivated people, it was inevitable we would discover the potential for a working relationship. He really wanted to understand what it took to execute the process of the custom world.
So, he spent a lot of time in the shop with me and got more comfortable. Eventually, he started to enjoy all the possibilities with Finnu. His understanding of the brand range was big for me and he just got it right away. In addition, with his experience in the banking world, Jesse is now lead in sales and accounting and how I like to say, “Well, you’re CFO…”. Moving forward, now located in West Fargo, we look to scale up our operation that best serves our clients.