Shopping experience like a walk in the forest

Posted by Tiina Mustonen on April 28, 2017

Sokos is one of the biggest department stores in the Nordics, with 18 locations throughout Finland. One of their stores took on the ambitious task of updating their cosmetics department to fit the needs of their customers better, while providing an eye-catching entity and an effortless shopping experience.

As only the bravest pioneers make it in the retailing business, store manager Jarkko Elola and sales manager of the cosmetics department Satu Ylitalo sensed a need for a major revamp of the space to increase their competitive edge in the market.

Providing customer comfort through nature

Sokos had a clear vision for their new natural cosmetics department: a pure, natural space. As the products in the new section of the store are pure and free of unwanted chemicals, they wanted the space to reflect the same sense of purity.

The green walls enhance the store's natural feel.

The natural cosmetics section had to stand out from the other cosmetics in the space, and make customers enjoy their time spent there. “It was important to us to create an environment where customers feel at ease and where they can find everything they are looking for effortlessly,” said Satu.

Thus, other natural products, such as supplements, were combined with natural cosmetics to create a whole new section of all natural products, so that people could find everything in one unified space. This meant making clear distinctions from other sections of the store with separate flooring and furniture, which represent the products in it.

Department of natural products

    • One wall of the section filled with 100% natural cosmetics
    • A wide range of 95-98% natural products
    • Synthetic substances: Human-made substances made in a laboratory. Primarily preservatives and colorings as well as fragrances which are added for improvement or cost efficiency. They can also be used for softening strong odors of nature and improving the preservability of natural cosmetics.

Connecting with nature

The first ideas that came to mind for achieving this were using recycled materials, such as old furniture instead of purchasing new ones, as well as bringing nature indoors in a genuine way. However, bringing in plants that only look real wasn’t enough. They wanted authentic nature in the form of living plants. This is how Naava came into the picture.

Because of its living, natural plants, Naava was a pivotal step in achieving the look wanted for the space. Not only does it represent the products well, but it is also the main attraction as soon as you walk in: the tall, luscious green walls can’t be missed, and it brings a whole new aspect to the shopping experience.

Customized smart green walls integrate seamlessly to their surroundings.

As the ideas started coming together, the section built its very own identity: a natural, soft, and relaxing space that is the focal point of the entire cosmetics department.  The natural product section catches the eye straight away after walking through the doors of the department store, inviting you to explore it in more detail.

The light wooden flooring and furniture of the space give it a cozy feeling, complemented by the soft natural light pouring in through the windows. “The natural light is one of the biggest factors bringing joy to not just staff and customers, but even to the people strolling by in the street, as they can see inside the store through the big windows and get a glimpse of the lightness and softness of the space, making us a part of our surroundings,” gleamed Satu.

The finishing touch

Satu and Jarkko praise Naava for how easy of a solution it is compared to normal houseplants. “People often ask if the smart green wall requires a lot of maintenance. It doesn’t!” Satu grinned. It makes people stop and stare, which is something regular pot plants wouldn’t do.

Naava green walls are the focal point of the department store.

The feedback has been nothing but positive from both the customers and the staff, who have felt the difference in everyday working life after the changes made in the department. “Being able to see outside and seeing the Naavas almost makes you feel like you are outside,” Satu said.

“Naava is a gateway to wellbeing”

“Naava isn’t only a good fit for the natural cosmetics department, but it also fits the entire brand,” stated Jarkko, explaining how Naava and Sokos share the same values of authenticity, quality, bravery, and pioneering. According to Jarkko, it is important to keep changing with the times and bravely try new things in order to attract people back to the traditional way of shopping in a social environment instead of fast-growing online shopping.

Both Jarkko and Satu agree that the changes made were worth it in the end, and really took the cosmetics department to the next level, making it a world-class store.


  • Department store in Finland
  • Department of natural products
  • 1,681 inches high and 47 inches wide Naava Designers with a light wooden casing
  • Member of Naava Family since March 2017
    • “Naava is a gateway to wellbeing, which represents the ideology and values of the space: respecting nature and the holistic nature of health and wellbeing.”

Interested in reconnecting with nature yourself?

Contact us to talk about how to incorporate Naava smart green walls to your retail or office space.


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