I cheerfully spoke to a client recently about possibility of cooperation – she received our marketing material and was interested in producing a range of stands and stools with us – when she asked whether all of our wood is of European origin. After a second of stunned silence, I replied that of course, not only European but Polish – Polish oak, ash, pine, the whole lot.
I don’t know whether it was that silent moment or my amazement but she felt obliged to explain: she had previous experience with suppliers that produced in Europe using Asian wood. She was not impressed. Why reach out so far if Europe offers resources in abundance?
When Tomas Pedersen, the founder of Kosmonaut first came to Poland it was a country of sudden changes and clashes. He liked Polish melancholy and the moods that were changing as frequently as the seasons. He also saw the potential: Poland has tons of natural treasures, resources that could be freely used in production without harm for the environment. More trees are being planted that are cut down, in fact the forestation is increasing all the time: from 21% in 1945 to 29% in 2013. Metallurgic industry is thriving – copper and steel are big businesses here.
Producing in Poland has other advantages: there is no need for continental transportation, the carbon footprint is limited to a minimum. Communication is easy – there is no ‘time travel’ involved and English is widely spoken.
Being close to the source is one thing, efficient production is another. Polish craftsmen are skilled and there are strict quality rules. What Poland needs is more innovative approach and automated production as well as more long-term thinking and simple human confidence. Poland will be catching up with the biggest players in Europe still being able to offer competitive prices if it only fulfills those conditions.