Juha Latvala from the Finnish clothing brand Sasta is the latest victim to be put under the GTN spotlight.
Sasta is distributed in the UK by Outwear Ltd, www.outwearltd.co.uk
Please tell us who you are and who you work for.
My name is Juha Latvala and I’m the CEO of Sasta Clothing, a 52-year-old wilderness outfitter from Finland. I joined Sasta in 2014 as sales and marketing director and have been the CEO since 2017.
During the turbulent COVID-19 times, one of the markets that has done fairly well has been the outdoor/hunting markets, so we have been very fortunate on that front. Also the Sasta brand and our products are getting more and more recognition internationally, which is supporting the growth of our business.
Up to anything new?
There are always new developments, but we have stayed clear from fashion cycles and kept a focus on making the best possible clothing we can, and constantly improving our products. Sometimes this might come across as boring—when we don’t present new collections all the time—but on the flip side you know you are getting quality gear that has truly been tried and tested. Some of the oldest items in the collection have been there for over 20 years.
Do you shoot? If so, why and what?
Maybe this is a language thing, but I would call what I do hunting, everything from Grouse to Moose. Probably my favorite form of hunting is stalking for Moose (with my trusted 30-06 Lynx Light Hunter straight-pull rifle). I also enjoy game-meat, so it is a great way of harvesting organic meat into the freezer.
Aside from shooting, what are the loves of your life?
I enjoy the outdoors as a whole and spending time with my family doing different outdoor activities, from mountain biking to hunting. My daughters—aged seven and nine—have also shown some interest towards hunting, which I am very happy about.
What’s the biggest threat facing shooting, in your opinion?
My perspective is probably slightly different because it doesn’t reflect only the UK. Overall, I believe the biggest threat is us losing our connection with nature and thus also losing for example the understanding of the role hunting plays in wildlife conservation.
The politics should be put aside and both sides—hunters and those who oppose hunting—should sit down and think of the ways we can improve the natural habitat, rather than pointing fingers. Putting this in simple terms, without a healthy diverse nature, our future will look quite stark for everyone. Will this change and the dialogue happen? We will see, but I for one will continue to promote the importance of nature and that all parties should have better understanding and respect towards it.
What can the Government do to support the industry more?
Again my view does not directly reflect the situation in the UK, but there should be more understanding about nature and wildlife and we should use this understanding to moderate the discussion better. A clear example is how hunting is a natural part of life and how it can play an important role in wildlife conservation and the overall well-being of nature.
What’s your favourite shooting read?
I do read a lot of the different hunting publications, but I have also enjoyed Steve Rinella’s MeatEater Netflix TV show. It has been something that my daughters have also liked to watch, and the best part about that has been it’s easy to start a conversation with them about hunting.
And the best bit of kit you ever bought?
Hard to only choose one, so I have to mention two items. First, my Lynx Light Hunter 30-06 straight-pull rifle has served me well over the years and it still gets me excited every time I pull it out from the gun slip. I also get a lot of use from our Mehto Pro. 2.0 trousers—they have been a trusted companion from early-season grouse hunts to moose hunting during the winter season.
Tell us an interesting fact about yourself or your business that we might not know
I have lived a big part of my childhood in Africa—in both Kenya and Ethiopia. They were some of the best years of my life.
If you could only eat one kind of soup for the rest of your life, what flavour would it be?
My grandmother’s moose meat soup.