Personal crises can often become a catalyst for creativity, ultimately leading to a positive result. The story of Tea Latvala is a great example of this. She is a designer and the founder of Teatiamo, a Finnish company situated just a few kilometres away from the Northern Polar Circle that has specialised in wooden dildos. Tea tells us more about the creation of Teatiamo and the special characteristics of her hand-crafted dildos in our EAN interview.
Tea, on your website you tell the story of how you got into the business of making dildos, and it sounds like a spiritual journey. Was it like that and could you sum up what happened?
Tea Latvala: Back in 2015, I found out that my boyfriend was cheating on me and I told him to pack his bags and leave. At that time, we were staying in Miami, and I told him that I would stay there for a while on my own. I instantly downloaded Tinder and started my recovery. My main healing source however was a psychic whom I met a few blocks away from our apartment. We talked a lot and used meditation as a tool for healing. During one of those meditations, she literally stood up, started laughing and said, “I see dildos in beautiful boxes.” Back then, I thought that wtf! But when, at the end of that year, I was packing my products into beautiful boxes, I remembered her words.
How would you describe the philosophy of your company, Teatiamo?
Teatiamo is the happiest company in the world, seeing how Finland is the happiest country in the world. We want to design timeless and beautiful pieces that will make you smile, and you can leave them on a dinner table.
How big is your portfolio right now and what kind of toys are you selling?
We have variations of wooden dildos and anal plugs in different colour themes. The main collection normally includes birch, walnut, cherry, and acacia. Then we have rainbow coloured wood and different country colours. At the moment, I would say we have 10 different dildos and 10 different plug colours. Plugs come in two different sizes.
Why did you decide on wood as the material of your choice? What makes it well-suited for being turned into sex toys?
Wood is natural, durable, and a safe choice. When taken care of, it can last a lifetime.
Did the ecological aspect play a role in the choice of materials?
Yes. We mostly use wood that has been cut down for other purposes. Compared to many plastic toys out there, our products are the better choice environmentally, and in many cases, they are also safer to use because they don’t contain any toxins.
Your colourful toys have a very interesting look. Can you tell us more about the manufacturing process that leads to this result?
Each product is unique and handmade. The process starts with designing the blank. Every blank is layered, ecologically died birch, made and produced in Finland. So, when you see the stripes, you understand that every stripe is a layer of died birch. The blank itself is very expensive and we have made calculations about how many products we can get from each blank. When we have the blank, we then use CNC machines for carving the shapes, and the rest is done by hand.
How would you describe your customers? Who buys a dildo or plug from Teatiamo?
I never would have thought that my audience would be so broad. I have customers from different age groups, starting from people in their 20’s up until their 70’s. Actually, senior citizens are a big customer group. Also, as far as gender is concerned, it is pretty much divided equally; however, that can vary depending on the source or reseller whom customers buy it from. Teatiamo products are also bought as gifts.
Are you planning on releasing more sex toy designs in the future, perhaps made out of other materials as well?
When I started this business, I had materials such as PVC, glass, wood, and crystal stones etc. But quite soon, I realised that I should focus on wood. Currently, I am in the process of developing a wooden dildo with a wireless loading system. I am hoping to get this product on the market before Christmas.
Where can your products be bought right now? Are you working with any distributors or are planning on doing so in the future?
In the States, you can find my products at tomoffinlandstore.com, and also in the Los Angeles Pleasure Chest boutique. Of course, you can order my products from my own website www.teatiamo.com – we deliver all over the world. In Britain, you can find my products at the Coco De Mer boutique. In Finland, we have four types of resellers: sexton stores, design stores, lifestyle and wellness stores, and just recently, we started working with a hotel (Klaus K.) in the centre of Helsinki.