From the moment we found Mifuko in Paris at M&O, we instantly fell in love with the bright colours and artisan designs of their baskets. In keeping with the Pepper & Ink love of a pop of colour, this brand makes us smile and the story behind it just wins us over even more. Mifuko was founded in 2009 by two Finnish designers, Mari Martikainen & Minna Impiö. Both Mari and Minna studied Textile Art and Design at the University of Art and Design Helsinki and both have a Master of Arts degree. The Mifuko brand stands with one foot on the streets of Helsinki, and the other firmly on the red soil of rural Kenya.
The colourful Kiondo baskets combine contemporary Finnish design with traditional Kenyan handicraft techniques and all products are handmade in Kenya. Minna and Mari meet the artisans in Kenya regularly & to them work at Mifuko means creative and fun co-operation between different countries and cultures. The results of which, in our view, speak volumes & these products instantly stand out from the crowd.
Here we pose a few questions to both Mari & Minna in the hope of learning a little bit more about their company.
Where did the name originate ?
The word mifuko means pocket in Swahili.
What have you enjoyed most about working in Kenya ?
We enjoy the stories we hear from the artisans about their every day life, the beautiful nature of Kenya and being with our dear friends whom we have known over 10 years already.
How do you see you expanding the brand ?
Mifuko baskets are already sold over 30 countries. We wish to grow stronger and bigger little by little and step by step.
What lessons have you learnt along the way ?
We are designers as our profession and there has been a lot to learn about marketing, logistics and trade to name a few.
Last but not least, tell us a little about Helsinki…… If you only had a weekend, where would you recommend we go ?
Helsinki is a beautiful, small city with a lot of happenings. There is big parks and it is located seafront. Our favourite is Allas sea pool, where you can go for sauna and swim in the sea. There is a market place called Kauppatori and on the side of that market hall worth to see.
Your top three interior styling tips ?
We like to visit secondhand markets and make bargains of old vintage items. Combining new and old things is interesting. We believe that in the future people are more and more interested in the origin of their product. Who made it and where? Is the production ethical and sustainable? In general to style your home in a way you feel comfort.