A problem, lucky encounters, and ambition – Cover Story's co-founder Anssi Jokinen shares how he realised painting needed a makeover.
How was Cover Story born?
Cover Story was born out of a real life need, and the effort and confusion that followed. I wanted to paint the walls of our home and started the process with Google, of course, as I assumed buying paint was a matter of a few clicks online. I quickly noticed I was mistaken, and heard the call of ring road hardware stores.
In the hardware store, I found myself overwhelmed with the huge range of paint shades and disappointed with how no one was helping me pick the right one. Professional guidance was dearly needed. However, I picked a few shades from the tiny brochure and left home with test jars. I thought I was almost done, but back at the hardware store even more decisions awaited me. I almost lost my temper when I realized I had dozens of different paint qualities, gloss levels, and finishes to choose from. I wondered if the shade I chose would even be the same after these choices. Suddenly I realized I had another bunch of decisions awaiting regarding painting supplies. I got my family back in the car and decided to be happy with the shade of the walls we already had.
My experience made me wonder if all this could be done better. Is there paint that doesn’t smell? Could the color palette be curated by a color expert? Could paint be sold online? And how could trying paint shades at home be done as easy and inspiring as possible? I started to investigate. Cover Story was born. And I got a new color on my walls.
How did your founding partner Tommi and Cover Story’s Design Director Päivi get involved?
A few years ago, I was cycling the classic climbs of Tour de France with a group of friends. Tommi was also there through a mutual friend. I thought he was a smart and punctual guy. At the time, the idea of founding a paint brand was already on my mind, but only as a bullet point on my phone’s checklist. Well, time passed. When I had a concrete opportunity to start the business, I remembered Tommi – the guy in Mont Ventoux. I called him, and he got excited right away.
At the same time, I had made a list of the most qualified color experts in Finland and Päivi was at the top of that list. It was a great honor that she joined us without the slightest doubt after our first meeting. I’m really happy that I’ve been able to work with top professionals from the beginning.
How would you describe the world of Cover Story?
At least there is no lack of color! Well, in reality, in the world of Cover Story, colors don’t mean colorfulness or glaring colors – our paint shades move from one nuance to another, binding the space into one whole. In Cover Story’s spatial understanding, decoration is a combination of Scandinavian harmony and an endless blend of shades.
The world of Cover Story is sophisticated yet approachable. Most of our colors are muted, classic and trusted shades that suit both a modern loft apartment and an old log house in the countryside. We differ from the usual in the way we understand paint; it is not renovation, but decoration. It defines the atmosphere of a space.
Our visual world creates frames for the stories that colors give birth to. Minimalist branding gives your imagination space to create stories and moods with colors.
What are Cover Story’s visions for the future?
We want to make decorating the home, and especially painting, more inspiring and as effortless as possible, while, of course, growing our business. I hope that we will become a truly international brand that Finns can be proud of.
Design-wise, we are driven by the idea of paint as an interior design product and as the most important element of a space. Everyone deserves to enjoy nice colors and an atmospheric home. Our goal is to make interior design accessible to everyone – a beautiful home should not be the right of only those who can afford interior design services. Our idea is to provide color design with our curated color palette at the price of a paint can.
Especially now, when the importance of home has been emphasized and more time is spent there, we encourage people to make their lives look like their own. At the same time, we want to take responsibility for our part. We cannot change the industry alone, but we aim to do everything we can a bit better. Sustainability is more than just a feature – it includes everything from the content of a paint can to durable supplies and well planned logistics.
What does your Helsinki store mean to you?
No matter how much I like to talk about digital and modern ways of doing business, I also believe in the traditional store, the physical presence of a brand. First, there was the store, then, there was only the online store – but the truth lies somewhere in between. In the future, there will only be one customer experience, a seamless whole.
Our Bulevardi Paint Studio is not just a store, but a source of inspiration. And you can come here just to admire, you don't have to buy anything.
What is your relationship with colors?
One of my earliest memories is a burgundy plush sofa in my childhood home. I spent a lot of time during my first years lying there like a little worm. So I have a strong memory of a deep burgundy similar to 025 OSCAR of our color palette. It brings me back to the colorful world of my childhood in the ’80s.
My relationship with colors is a bit contradictory. I like colors and I’m interested in colorful combinations and details – however, I still often wear black clothes. I’m not very skilled at using colors but I’m trying to get better at it.
What is your favourite shade from Cover Story’s collections?
As a neutral all-purpose color, that is to say an alternative for white, 005 KIM – Steam white is my favourite. Even the slightest nuance in a light color brings depth to the interior and binds the furniture together. In our home, we have combined 005 KIM with green-gray 026 AGATHA. At the moment, I’ve also enjoyed the combination of rose-beige 021 SIRI and mid-brown 022 EVELYN in our office. A darker ceiling works fantastically with lighter walls!
If Anssi Jokinen was a material, what would he be?
I would be concrete. It’s simple, a little rugged, but it goes with everything and fits in various spaces. And at least, in my opinion, it’s stylish and ages with grace. :)