Finland has always had a more unusual stance on nudity compared to most countries. Being fans of group saunas and skinny dipping in lakes, Finns have become known for their open-minded view on nudity. One Finnish couple took it one step further and founded NaturistBnB, the first home rental website for naturists.
The concept of NaturistBnB works much the same way as any home rental website. Landlords advertise their homes on the website, which allows renters to book them for a fee. The difference is that NaturistBnB caters exclusively to naturists, who often find it difficult to find rentals through regular websites. We spoke to founders Petri and Minna Karjalainen about their unusual idea.
CT: What gave you the idea to start NaturistBnB?
P+M: We have travelled a lot to different places and stayed in accommodations from backpacker hostels to five-star luxury resorts with some of them accommodating the nudist lifestyle. Naturist holiday options tends to be in the most obvious places – nudist resorts or camps where everybody else goes as well. Then we realised it! There is no Airbnb alternative for naturist people. If there would, it would be a fantastic opportunity to travel anywhere and enjoy social nudism with a local host. Best parts of both: textile and nudist world!
CT: What initially got you interested in naturism?
P+M: We don’t really want to categorise ourselves or other people. However, we do enjoy being without clothes when it is possible or appropriate. We have preferred suntans without tan lines and skinny dipping over wet swimsuits since childhood. So in that sense there is no starting point.
CT: What were some of the reactions from the naturist community towards NaturistBnB?
P+M: We are surprised by the general interest. We are actually receiving several interview queries from around the world. We thought this would be interesting just for a small niche community of naturists but it looks like everyday people are more interested in practising nudism than we thought. Maybe this is an opportunity for more people to try this lifestyle. We have received a lot of traffic from around the world, and based on the analytics they are evenly from every age group from 24 to 64. It looks like there is great Interest.
As for the naturist community, we have received hundreds of encouraging messages from around the world. We call that really overwhelming support. However, some established naturist associations seem to have ignored us for whatever reason. One possible reason could be the influence of nudist camps and resorts within those organisations. Some of the hotels and resorts do consider home sharing to be a serious threat to their business.
CT: Finns are known for being fairly reserved. What has the reaction to NaturistBnB been from within Finland?
P+M: We have not received any comments from Finland. Maybe it is considered positive as Finns have a reputation of being honest and trustworthy in business. Social nudity is actually fairly common in Finland. Almost any work community or group of friends sometimes has get-togethers in the evenings which includes having sauna time together. That means undressing and spending time naked with your colleagues.
Also, there are approximately half a million summer cottages in Finland, which is around one holiday home for 10 Finns. For most of the Finns spending time in the cottages, it means being close to the nature, walking in the forest, having sauna time and skinny dipping in the lake. That is actually very close to the naturist approach being one with the nature without the need to wear clothes, right?
CT: Have you experienced any any difficulties creating or managing NaturistBnB?
P+M: Several but mostly technical and usual startup business challenges. However, for only naturist related issues are being permanently banned from Facebook and Twitter, disallowing the advertisement of “adult content”.
CT: What are your favourite cities to visit?
P+M: There are many, but we often prefer smaller villages and there are tons of them. Manhattan and Hong Kong are great for short visits in big cities, and for the food experience, Bologna, Italy.