Jani Toivola is a person with societal influence - he's a writer, actor, speaker, podcast host and also former member of Finnish parliament. For ASK Journal Jani speaks about eco- friendliness, design values and parenthood. 


Can you tell me about your experience as a parent? What are some of the joys and challenges you've encountered?

I think the biggest joy in parenting is just being able to walk through this life next to my daughter. Experiencing life beside her. That is also the most challenging part. To have the courage to walk with her wherever  she takes me. To be open to who she is. What are her passions and interests and values in life. To not be afraid of the journeys she needs to take. To not be afraid of her vulnerability and the fact that when you are on a journey at times there will also be pain. 



Balancing a career as a multi talented artist with parenthood can be challenging. How do you manage to juggle both responsibilities effectively?

I think it's a constant battle inside me. Me as an individual and my need to express myself and my role as a father and the sole guardian of my daughter. In practice the biggest thing is that we have a great circle of people around us. Safe and loving adults who are all part of my daughter's life. Without these people I couldn't have my career as an artist. I also take my daughter with me to different places. I think it's also a great way for her to experience new things and learn about life. To know the house of parliament but to also know the National Theatre. 



What strategies or routines have you found most helpful in maintaining a healthy work-life balance?

To try to maintain a good connection with myself and my daughter. Small moments that are just for myself and for the things I need in order to feel good about myself and to remember who I am and what my values are. Same with my daughter. Going for a car ride and just talking or going to see a movie or play a card game in the evening or reading together. For me personally the best tools are meditation, running, baking and ice swimming. 



What are your thoughts on eco-friendliness when it comes to everyday products like bags? 

For me it's all about sustainability. How things are made and where and by whom. And also using products in a sustainable way. Buying elements that I can use for a long time or put them in my closet and comeback to them 2 years later. Buying less overall and when I buy things I try to buy elements that are good quality. Eco-friendliness is also about responsibility. That we together are responsible for this earth. The planet that is not really ours.  


What are the most important features or qualities you look for in everyday bags?

Quality and practicality. And a little spice of something in the design that allows me to express my personality. As I man I love this era where I can finally have a purse and have no shame. I still feel ecstatic everytime I walk on the street with my little evening purse. For me it is freedom, life lived without shame. I am of that generation that boys were not allowed to be interested in what were considered womens purses. I played with my mothers purse but always in secret.  



What style or design elements do you prefer in a bag? Do you lean towards a more classic, trendy, or functional style?

I would say classical functionality. Bag that  I can use from morning till night with different styles and moods.


Are there any specific messages or themes you hope to communicate or inspire in other parents through your involvement in this campaign?

You are always enough. In every situation.  Always. Perfect as you are. And with an apology you can go far. We are bound to make mistakes as parents but the crucial part is our courage to go back and apologize. That is love and that is safety. That is the most important lesson in life, I think.




Words by Sanna Silander

Photography by Karoliina Bärlund