Instead of Black Friday, support these 10 emerging local craft brands this week
We highlight the artisans and entrepreneurs representing a new era of Nordic craft — from kombucha to ceramics, knits, and fluffy duvets. And, a group of proud Finnish grannies.
By JOHAN MAGNUSSON
November 23, 2021
Myssy’s Grannies keep you warm this winter
If there’s one country here in the Nordics famous for its craft, it has to be Finland. Now, a new generation of craft brands is making a mark and one of them is Myssy, a farm-based design company from Pöytyä. All the garments and accessories are made of hand-dyed yarn from a local herd of Finnsheep and hand-knit by local retired ladies, known as the Myssy Grannies. Today, the range is sold in 16 countries. This fall, the brand unveils a beanie capsule with leading Finnish contemporary fashion brand Makia as well as the Myssy Hood. As a representation of the times we are living in, this season’s novelty is made to protect us, not only from coldness but also loneliness and hopelessness. And, it’s sold out almost all the time. Thankfully, the Myssy Grannies are here to knit new hoods in order to refill the stock.
Aiming to create the fluffiest duvet on earth
The traditional down duvets without channel seams, often used in traditional Alp villages, have been hard to find outside the rural mountain setting. Until now, when Happy Fluffy Cloud offers their soft and fluffy duvets — traditional bedding in a new context.
— We wanted to create something like a cloud that embraces you in a big hug when going to bed, say the founders.
The key, the founders tell, is the right mix of down and feathers — 50 percent down and 50 percent feathers — from goose only, with a weight of five kilogrammes reminiscing of a big, soft pillow. European poultry is used exclusively, and the production, the brand states, is strictly regulated with traceable farms and suppliers. The feathers and down come from birds that are to become food, meaning that the entire bird is being used in a more sustainable way.
Launched in early 2020, the brand started with ordering 20 duvets per delivery from their small Italian supplier, one of the few in Europe with the entire production line in-house: from feather to bedding. Now, those orders are 500 duvets at the time.
Bringing ancient knowledge to the demanding customer of today
As the rise for non-alcoholic beverages doesn’t seem to stop, it’s hardly any surprise that Norwegian kombucha producer Empress experiences busy days. Founders Anna Karenina and Christer Andersson saw a hole in the market, developed a passion for kombucha, fermentation, and natural ingredients, set up a microbrewery at home in their Oslo apartment, and soft-launched two and a half years ago.
The company has now moved the production into Orkla’s former premises at Trollåsen, only a few minutes away, and produces on a large scale. The client list includes leading Norwegian retailers and restaurants and Empress will now start exporting to Europe and the U.S. The beautiful labels are still made by Anna Karenina herself though.
— Our brews are a fusion of culture, ancient knowledge, and modern alchemy. By using organic fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices from local and global regions, our beverages are refreshing, nourish the body, and delight the taste buds, she tells.
Neumann’s modern classics
The label’s first unisex line, Initial no 1, is co-founder Thomas Neumann’s interpretation of that very watch that his father Gert wore when emigrating from Germany to Sweden in the early 50s.
— Today, I carry the watch on my arm, he tells.
Neumann combines high-quality materials, including your choice of a wristband, either in stainless steel or vegetable-tanned leather from Tärnsjö made by hand in the south of Sweden, with a quartz movement from Swiss Ronda and scratch-resistant sapphire glass, slightly raised creating a beautiful profile. The packaging is made in Stockholm of recycled paper. A great mix of modern and classic and a great Christmas present for someone you care about.
Brännland’s artisanal ice cider
Started over ten years ago on the Baltic seaboard of northern Sweden, Brännland Cider spent two years of trial, error, discovery, and progress, before finding out that their fruit — and the climate that they’re in — were best suited for making Ice Cider. Or, as it’s called in its country of origin, Cidre De Glace. Now, they produce several varieties for the domestic and international market, all based on 100% apple juice and free from additives, aiming to let the fruit’s origin and growing conditions create the base for a uniquely Swedish ice cider.
The other week, the brand Ember, a limited-edition spiced ice cider to enjoy cold, hot, or as part of a cocktail in the colder months of the year.
— We wanted to make a spiced ice cider close to the German glühwein-tradition without compromising with what our ice cider is. We’ve spiced a blend of barrel aged 2018 ice cider and steel tank aged 2019 with an artisanal German glühwein distillate, added a top note of Bergamot from organic ethereal oil and finally a touch of apple-brandy distilled from our cider by our friend Jonas Larsson at Tevsjö distillery, tells founder Andreas Sundgren.
Scandinavian minimalism meets world chaos
Last year, JonasPhilippe was founded, aiming to give men the opportunity to express themselves in a world of jewelry. Created by founder Maria Phillips, a large part of the inspiration comes from her father, a flamboyant globetrotter with a restless soul, who never had a boring day in his life.
– We believe in challenging oneself, being open-minded, and passionately designing jewelry exclusively for men in a concept where Scandinavian minimalism meets world chaos, she tells.
The brand just announced their first collab together with emerging artist Kristofer Grezcula — a necklace and bracelet made of high-quality freshwater pearls. If you ask Maria Phillips, it’s about time to de-borefy life and lose the tie — all according to the brand vision to ”jewlify” men.
Design Editions highlights the beauty of functional materials
Renowned Danish architect and designer Mikal Harrsen is the founder of MA/U Studio, which he sold to Boffi about 3 years ago when he also moved to Italy to become their executive brand director. He’s now back with a new brand, Design Editions, exploring the relationship between craftsmanship, modern machining, and materiality to create vertical surface and acoustic panel designs for use in residential, office, and hospitality interiors.
The brand uses traditional crafts and modern manufacturing techniques to encourage a new appreciation for component materials utilized today in design. Raw materials ranging from aluminum and steel to terracotta and textiles are reexamined and used to emphasize each material’s aesthetic properties separate from its functional role. The aim is to transform the latent potential of primary design materials into a new class of aesthetic objects. Design Editions uses its international network of respected designers and architects to present a collection that they describe as a combination of Scandinavian minimalism, Italian contemporary design, and international modernism.
OM-SE thinks that it’s about time to rethink your skincare routine
Buy less, buy better. You’ve heard it all before. But there’s now a growing movement that it’s not only better for the climate, but also for the skin — hence the current rise for multi-functional products. As one great example of that, Swedish brand OM-SE states that their minimalist 3-step routine — including, for instance, cleansing oil, face mist, and face oil — can smartly replace 13 conventional skincare products — and that it’s time to say goodbye to your eye-makeup remover, pre-cleanse, face wash, toner, essence, hydration serum, lash/brow serum, moisturizer, day cream, night cream, eye cream, beard oil, and setting spray.
— Skincare doesn’t need to be complicated. This regime protects your skin’s barrier, nourishes its microbiome, and develops a naturally balanced complexion in just three simple steps. For us, potent multi-use products free from fillers and additives mean happier skin, time saved, and less waste, says Jenny Huurinainen, co-founder and product formulator.
The range is carefully crafted in small batches. For the customer’s convenience, they’re also available for subscription. And, to encourage customers to buy when they actually need to refill, subscription customers always get a reduced price, as recurring orders help the brand to minimize overproduction and reduce delivery spikes.
PHI’s conscious knits
Founded three years ago by entrepreneur Camilla Modin Djanaieff, knitwear brand PHI focuses on craft and long-lasting garments as well as labour standards, also donating parts of the profits to children’s charity.
Both the sweater and the scarf are produced in Italy and made of 97 % recycled cashmere and 3 % merino wool. The patch, as seen on the sweater, is part of the brand’s special PHIX kit, sold separately to cheer up your grey November — or cover a hole on your favourite pair of denim, instead of throwing them away.
Sculptures provoking the viewer to touch
Visual artist Erika Emerén received her Masters in Arts from Design Academy Eindhoven in 2018. Since then, she’s been invited twice to work and exhibit in Jingdezhen, China. During the pandemic, she lived and produced sculptures in an old porcelain factory that’s turned into a residence for artists called Ifö center in southern Sweden. In her works, she borrows techniques from the domesticated landscape — knitting, crochet, and cake making — to create puffy and sharp ceramic and textile sculptures that provoke the viewer to touch.