A pioneer of sneaker fashion, Tuomo Järvi founded a sneaker store in the centre of Helsinki because he thinks Helsinki is not a proper city without one. Music plays an important role in his retail experience.
Who has curly hair and a sneaker store in the centre of Helsinki, and who plays music so loud it rocks the whole Iso Roobertinkatu?
Ha, my naturally curly hair has somehow become my trademark. My name is Tuomo Järvi, and I am the owner of Good Kicks sneaker store. I am 36 years of age, and although I consider myself a native of Helsinki, my birth place Kokkola will always have a hold of my heart. I like beautiful objects and ideas, in fashion as well as in other areas, including bikes, for example.
I have always worked with clothes and shoes, so my own store was a logical continuum. I’m a type of MacGyver man – I like to build things by myself even if someone has created the same solution before. The decision to become an entrepreneur took a few beers in a darkish backroom and some persuasion from a friend.
I’m father to two mini-sized persons, Viima and Myrsky. Becoming a dad shows in my product selection. My latest brand AKID made my son very happy. It is important for him to wear shoes from “Papa’s store”.
What is hip in sneakers right now?
The hottest fashion evolves around the 90s running shoes also known in street fashion as sneakers. At the same, newest technical running shoes have gained popularity. We mostly sell white shoes. Those put a fresh look to any outfit. Earthy tones are also hip right now.
What every foreigner should know about Finnish trainer shoe brands?
Finnish Karhu is one of the oldest running shoe brands, if not the very oldest. Their innovations in running technology have been revolutionary. The whole world should know this at last! In my opinion, every Finn should wear Karhu shoes to celebrate the brand’s one hundred years in business. This way people could take part in the fine history of both Karhu and Finland.
What is your first memory related to music?
My first record was a Paddington Bear vinyl. I still treasure it.
What does music mean to you?
Music is the rhythm to which everything happens. It is also a window to the past, a way to remember something that may have been forgotten.
What kind of music do you prefer to listen?
The radio channel we always choose is Radio Helsinki. It represents the voice of the city to me. I also listen to many podcasts. One song I appreciate above all others is 1979 by the Smashing Pumpkins.
In my store, music plays an important role in creating the atmosphere, and music is the substance of my neighbouring record store Good Crates. Right now we’re playing podcasts from the British NTS Live channel. Charlie Bones’s morning show is nearly as important as my morning coffee.
My colleague Ali, also known as DJ DpSoul, is responsible for the music played in my store.
Do you have a style guru or an artistic idol?
My current idols and objects of appreciation are the young adults in Finland. The people who do what they truly believe in. I meet them constantly through my work. Young people have such values and a way to look at the world that older folks should follow their example.
Ali DpSoul has by far the coolest style and attitude. That is why I wanted him to work with me at Good Kicks.
What is the best summer event in Helsinki?
The best place is obviously Iso Roobertinkatu where my store is located. It has become my second home. It is a street that I always enjoy walking through, saying hello to and chatting with people. The lively chatter on the terraces in the summer is music to a city-person’s ears. Finns bloom in the summer just like our nature.
Good Kicks just turned two years. We organised a birthday party with a music theme and took over the whole street to celebrate with us. It was heart-warming to see so many happy people of various ages enjoying the music. We got such positive feedback that we plan to arrange many similar events during the summer.
The Vision and Flow festivals are definitely part of my summer.
What do you look forward to in the future?
My entrepreneurial dream, for the next five years, is to make Good Kicks a world-famous sneaker boutique. Good Kicks is already, and even more so in the future, a network and a community that ties like-minded professionals from different fields together.
What kind of a playlist have you put together for us and why?
My playlist is no uniform entity – more like individual songs from the best moments of my life. Some go way back, and some are more current. These songs mean more than music to me. They involve people, places, smells, and plenty of feelings.