About us

Varusteleka (pronounced [Where's the liquor?]) is an army and outdoor store from Finland. We have a walk-in store in Helsinki and we serve online customers worldwide. What does this Varusteleka mean? Varusteleka is obviously Finnish and comes from "varuste", which means equipment, and "leka" which stands for, among other things, a sledgehammer or a bottle of booze.

The company was established in 2003 and has become the biggest army store in Europe. Our crew has 60 professional members and our turnout in 2018 was 13 Million €.

Not only do we have thousands of interesting items, but we spend a lot of time of describing them accurately. As a natural result of having experience with this stuff and a mission to do things right, we created our own brands: Särmä, Särmä TST, Terävä ja Jämä.

Customers will be attended to even after the purchase, that's how good our service is. We take pride in our skill and experience: you will have hard time finding a better military surplus store than Varusteleka.

Values

  • We are the good guys. Besides never straying to the dark side, we go through the trouble of ensuring that there is more good in this world. Source: Strategy for 2018-2020

Mission

  • Take tasks head-on
  • Do something you can be proud of
  • Share knowledge and experiences

Vision

  • Total world domination
  • We are forerunners, internationally known, growing and profitable company

Birth of Varusteleka

Everything began back in 2003. I was 21 years old, had just gotten into the University of Helsinki to study Finnish and was sorely disappointed with the quality of Finnish army surplus stores; the selection was poor and online shops either didn't exist or were so bad you wished they didn't. With the support of my family, I took the first careful steps on the path of private entrepreneurship in the guise of a small online shop. I coded a simple online shop in which I concentrated on proper product descriptions, took a one thousand euro loan and ordered as much Bundeswehr and US issue as the money would buy. Along with the webshop, I had a very rusty van that acted as a walk-in store for the first brave cash customers.

After that things took off like a greyhound after a rabbit, so I ended my studies the same year I started and paid my loan in record time. I had my work cut out for me as I tended to run out of kit much faster than I was able to restock and had a chronic storage capacity problem, not to mention the seemingly endless supply of army kit junkies who just wouldn't take no for an answer. Fancy business premises have never held much interest for me, so Varusteleka has always been situated in places where you wouldn't usually find a shop. I still have vivid memories of a time when I'd keep the shop open until six o'clock, blissfully unaware that the evening watchman had locked the door a four. The current shop is larger and better equipped than many conventional clothes stores, though it is still located in a warehouse hall in the Konala industrial estate in Helsinki. Judging by the never-ending stream of customers, this does not seem to bother people overly much and at least the store is big enough - something that does not, of course, stop us planning to expand it to a grand total of 500 square meters in the near future.

The biggest reform in Varusteleka history was when I decided to throw caution to the wind and get real, full-time employees, and pay them in real money instead of the traditional squirrel skins and steel helmets. When things were no longer limited by how much I as an individual could do, the proverbial manure really hit the windmill. Since then we've been steadily employing more and more people. Where once there was only me and a tired van, there now stand over 40 efficient, knowledgeable and enthusiastic employees ready and able to serve. Indeed, it might be said that this high quality workforce is the main reason for Varusteleka's epic rise to power - through some strange chain of events, I seem to have managed to cheat, coerce and tempt some exceptional individuals to work for me. What makes our success even more remarkable is the fact that we do everything ourselves: graphics, marketing, writing, web pages, accounting, product testing, all of it. Not bad for a bunch of layabouts who've had to figure it all out for themselves, huh?

In it's current state Varusteleka is quite big, and it has gotten that way in much the same way snowballs do: slowly and by itself without any outside money, and accelerating all the time. This is very important for me personally, since I never got into this for the money, but rather so I could do stuff as I liked and build a business as well as I am able to. I'm proud of the fact that in this era of big money and investor shit, you can create something big from scratch by simply rolling up your sleeves and doing things well.

The success of my shop must say something about my countrymen - how can we exist in a country this small, selling mostly to the Finnish? By 2010 Varusteleka had become so big it's probably the biggest in Europe, and might well be the biggest one in the world, at least when it comes to surplus-selling stores. The funny thing is that the vast majority of our customers live in Finland, so, unlike our European "competitors", we only have some five million potential customers. Maybe it's our harsh climate, or maybe Finns just have a taste for getting better stuff for less, who knows.

Varusteleka is still primarily an online shop - all our products can be found on our home page, and we're quite honest (some might say brutally so) when it comes to product descriptions. We send orders ridiculously quickly, and if you didn't like what you got, returning it is free (provided you live in Finland). This does not even remotely mean that our walk-in store has been neglected though, quite the opposite in fact, and not least because one million people, give or take, live near it and to pop in to say hi every once in a while. Despite numerous appeals from the public, it is not as of yet realistic for us to set up stores anywhere else in Finland. This does, however, mean that our storehouse and walk-in store are on the same premises, which in turn means that every product you can find on our web page can also be bought from the walk-in store.

Staff

  • Valtteri

    With us since 2003. Class: Entrepreneur.

    "It's pointless to blame me for anything, I'm always on the good guys' side. "
  • Henri L.

    With us since 2006. Class: Product stuff.
  • Samu

    With us since 2006. Class: WEB.
  • Eric

    With us since 2006. Class: HR Manager and Beer Baron.
  • Sampo

    With us since 2007. Class: Development Manager.

    "Adventurer, wizard, hero."
  • Sauli

    With us since 2009. Class: Copywriter and product wizard.
  • Toni

    With us since 2009. Class: Marketing Director.
  • Teemu E.

    With us since 2010. Class: Receivals.

    "Minor league doorkicker."
  • Oku

    With us since 2010. Class: Customer Service wizard.

    "Ye olde customer support worker."
  • Janne

    With us since 2009. Class: Shop assistant and Jack-of-all-trades.

    "Oldest forever part-time worker."
  • Valtteri P.

    With us since 2011. Class: The Shop's desigated "somebody".

    "Kiki's birthday!"
  • Mikko

    With us since 2011. Class: Marketing.

    "Techno is best!"
  • Tero

    With us since 2011. Class: Sales Manager.
  • Jarmo

    With us since 2011. Class: Warehouse.
  • Sami

    With us since 2011. Class: Product Photographer.

    "Works for bourbon."
  • Teemu T.

    With us since 2010. Class: Logistics Manager.
  • Essi

    With us since 2011. Class: Technical Product Developer.
  • Vesa H.

    With us since 2011. Class: Shop assistant.
  • Marianna

    With us since 2011. Class: Shop assistant.
  • Tiia

    With us since 2012. Class: Shop assistant.
  • Roni

    With us since 2011. Class: Shop assistant.
  • Tomas

    With us since 2013. Class: In-house collection and Customer service.
  • Tytti

    With us since 2013. Class: Buyer.
  • Mira

    With us since 2013. Class: Managerial secretary.

    "Fluffiness, cats and coffee."
  • Mart

    With us since 2013. Class: Deputy Store Manager.

    "Also known as the Zip Tie Whisperer."
  • Suvi

    With us since 2013. Class: Director of Customer Service.

    "I don't need an inspirational quote.
    I need COFFEE."
  • Tuomas

    With us since 2013. Class: Receivals.
  • Vesa R.

    With us since 2014. Class: Outbound logistics.
  • Maria

    With us since 2014. Class: Jämä Manager.
  • Aleksi

    With us since 2014. Class: Road Captain.

    "Make it rain fire!"
  • Joni

    With us since 2014. Class: Buyer.
  • Ronja

    With us since 2014. Class: Shop assistant.
  • Jonne

    With us since 2015. Class: Customer Service warrior.
  • Magnus

    With us since 2015. Class: Customer Service.
  • Mika

    With us since 2015. Class: Warehouse.
  • J-P

    With us since 2015. Class: Warehouse.
  • Miro

    With us since 2015. Class: Outbound logistics.
  • Nuutti

    With us since 2016. Class: Warehouse.
  • Otto

    With us since 2016. Class: Bar Man.

    "I will poison you!"
  • Tea

    With us since 2016. Class: Warehouse.
  • Olli P.

    With us since 2016. Class: Shop assistant.
  • Pauli

    With us since 2016. Class: Shop assistant.
  • Jari

    With us since 2016. Class: CEO.
  • Emma

    With us since 2016. Class: Product Development Manager.
  • Laura

    With us since 2016. Class: Shop assistant.
  • Kristina

    With us since 2016. Class: Customer service.
  • Lauri

    With us since 2017. Class: Shop assistant.
  • Jukka

    With us since 2017. Class: Controller.
  • Santeri

    With us since 2017. Class: Buyer.
  • Olli R.

    With us since 2018. Class: Analytics and Business Development.
  • Lauri R.

    With us since 2018. Class: Analytics and Marketing.
  • Niklas

    With us since 2018. Class: Warehouse.
  • Sampo I.

    With us since 2018. Class: Warehouse.
  • Veera

    With us since 2019. Class: Marketing.
  • Luca

    With us since 2019. Class: Shop assistant.
  • Tuomo

    With us since 2019. Class: Shop assistant.
  • Mika H.

    With us since 2019. Class: Shop assistant.
  • Marleene

    With us since 2019. Class: Warehouse.
  • Arne

    With us since 2019. Class: Warehouse.
  • Maria H.

    With us since 2019. Class: Warehouse.
  • Kunigunde

    With us since 2019. Class: Shop assistant.
  • Hemmo

    With us since 2019. Class: Products.
  • Anna

    With us since 2019. Class: Product Development Manager.
  • Boy

    With us since 2016. Class: Shop mannequin.

Company info and trivia

Founded in 2003. Situated in Finland. Owned by His Majesty, Valtteri Lindholm. CEO Jari Laine. Varusteleka's address is Hankasuontie 11a, 00390 Helsinki, Finland. All our functions are located in the same premises. Business ID: 2082907-8. EU VAT number: FI20829078.

2018 turnover was 13 Million € (4 % growth compared to 2017). Handled and shipped 259 213 orders to 83 countries.

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