The magical Wulff Spirit mesmerized the customers
Wulff is known for its special atmosphere and spirit both in customer service and amongst its staff. The creator of this so called Wulff Spirit is of course the founder Thomas Wulff and his sunny personality.
Thomas Wulff moved to Helsinki in 1878 after completing school in his home town Turku. He got a job at his uncle Gustaf Wilhelm Endlund’s bookstore. Under his uncle’s apprenticeship he learned manners, an outlook on life, and strength of the will, because Edlund was a demanding employer. These skills that Thomas had learned during his time working at Edlund’s, he put to use when he founded his own paper store “Wulff” in 1890.
“It is the customers who keep us alive, not the other way around”
When one speaks of Thomas Wulff, the words kindness, cosiness, and politeness spring up to many people’s minds. He had an amazing ability to create cosiness and warmness around him. It radiated in the store to both the customers and the staff. “He truly was a delightful person and was always so polite. He was actually known for the way he always let women go first in the tram”, told Wulff’s former worker Martta Pulkkinen in Wulff’s personnel magazine “Kulma” in 1975.
One of Wulff’s strengths was above all service: it delivered more than it promised. Also, Thomas Wulff did not praise his store or compliment his products. Even the announcements in the papers were very simple and to the fact. This feature played a big role in the early success of Wulff.
The company has always emphasized the importance of customer service and treating the customer as an individual. Because of the service many clients returned to the “Corner” again and again, and that is why many of the customer relationships were long-term. “Filling of ink pens and inkwells was daily and everything was done free of charge – it was that famous Wulff customer service”, told a former worker Edith Palmu, who started as an errand girl at Wulff. Also the then-managing director Harry Fr. Wulff emphasized the importance of service in his first letter-from-the editor in “Kulma” magazine to Wulff’s staff in 1957: “We still have to remember that beautiful advertisements and packaging alone will not sell our products, it is the individual encounters and customer service that makes the customers comfortable in our store and make them return here –We shall never forget the old good truth that “It is the customers who keep us alive, not the other way around”‘.
“We always had a great time”
The staff was like a big family. The premises were small and there was not the same volume of staff as Wulff has nowadays, so inevitably everyone knew each other. “The personnel was invited to the director’s house a couple of times every year and there we always had a great time”, praised Leo Giers, who worked as a warehouse manager in the 30s. Nowadays the situation is a bit different: “Everything is so much bigger and there are more staff members so that you cannot know everyone any more”, lamented in the 60’s Karin Winsten who joined the company in 1910. Even though the staff today does not necessarily meet each other every day, people have always enjoyed working at Wulff. Among others, Karin Winsten was one of the many staff members who got an award of honor for working more than 50 years at Wulff.
Atmosphere is the most sensitive of goods that time and development usually fades. Working under an oil lamp’s light, drawing beautiful letters with a fountain pen can be quite different from using a punch card or reading barcodes under a fluorescent lamp. Wulff has been able to keep up a warm work atmosphere and to create new inspiration already for a remarkable 120 years. For that Wulff wants to thank its staff, partners, and above all its customers who have relied on Wulff’s services. Together we all write new chapters to the long and successful story of Wulff.