Veneer business in the third generation

Ville Nikunen

Sometimes ending up in the veneer business can happen by accident.

Some stories start off differently. Hollolan Viilu ja Laminaatti’s (Hollola veneer and laminate) story is one of those.  

“Our family are carpenters in three generations. We ended up in the veneer business when my father needed to fulfill his furniture business’s veneer needs, and it made then sense to buy a small veneer production company for this reason. During the 90’s bank crisis he decided to drop out of the furniture business and focus fully on developing veneer products. That decision turned out to be a good one since now we’re the only veneer product company of our scale in Finland.” Tells entrepreneur Janne Kuokkanen about the history of Hollolan Viilu ja Laminaatti.  

Janne started working for his family business already in his teenage years. “One can say I pretty much grew into the business. I started doing some shifts when I was in college, and little by little when my knowledge and experience grew, I started to gain more responsibility. Eventually, our customers learned to direct their inquiries to me instead of father and made it possible for him to hand over the business to me and start enjoying his well-deserved retirement days.”    

Hollolan Viilu ja Laminaatti have built their 30 years of successful business on doing the "job-to-be-done" as well as possible Janne says. “We take each order seriously and do our best to create a high-quality product. We have also always kept an “open-door” policy when it comes to customers. New customers are always welcome, and we try to find the best possible solutions to even the most challenging cases. We’ve been lucky to have organically grown a wide customer base. Word-of-mouth and references have been traditionally our strongest sales tools.”    

When Janne talks about a wide customer base, he truly means it. Their veneer products can be found in crafts, skateboards, lamps, cellphone covers…you name it. Volume sales, and with that, the actual business comes from delivering veneer to more traditional end-use cases such as furniture, walls, roofs, kitchen furniture, and doors. 


Janne loves wood veneer as a material for two reasons. “First and foremost, wood veneer is the most efficient way to use the wood raw material. A cubic meter of raw material can turn into ~1000m2 of veneer. In that sense, one can say veneer production is sustainable, which obviously is important in these times. The other reason is that when working with veneer it’s not only about the production techniques but also the visual side of things. You can truly create one and a million different moods with wood veneer. “    

Even though natural materials such as wood veneer are trending, future success shouldn’t be taken for granted estimates Janne. “We are following closely how the increase in prices will affect the behavior of our customers. We have also recognized that our customer base is shifting their buyer's journey more and more to digital platforms. This will require more development in digital marketing and branding. We work hard to have the kind of visual materials that really prove how wood veneer is THE product when someone wants a solution that is a perfect fit for their needs.”