A bunch of Swiss and Finnish grandmothers, a sheep called Bambi, the coolest beanie in the world and a career-ending injury have led to a new global fashion brand rising out of a Finnish village.
Janne Rauhansuu really wanted a cool beanie like the one his friend was wearing. Too bad it was made by her grandmother, so a similar one was nowhere to be bought. The only option was to make one himself.
The world-famous windsurfer, with the support of local grannies in the Swiss mountain village of Teufi, knitted his first-ever beanie. It took about a week and the end result didn’t look much like a beanie, but it didn’t matter – they decided to call it a myssy, one of the Finnish words for the accessory.
“It is still on display in the very café where Janne created it together with the ladies,” tells Hanna Jauhiainen, Myssyfarmi’s myssy manager, or development manager, if you want to sound corporate. “Apparently, the following ones did start to look a bit better.”
Knitting became a thing in Rauhansuu’s circle of friends, and he kept on creating all kinds of items from bikinis to ties, gathering growing attention. At the time, he was also contemplating what to do next: professional windsurfing had gone out of the window after a serious injury, so travelling around the world with wind in sails was over.
Fast-forward: Rauhansuu is a father-of-four and husband, living on his family farm in Pöytyä, Finland. His wife Anna Rauhansuu, who made a career in advertising in the capital before making the move to the countryside, took up knitting on her maternity leave, and myssys became a quintessential part of the family’s life.
“Initially, myssys were just a hobby for Anna,” Jauhiainen explains. “However, after a few years they decided it was time to either go big or slow down.”
Want to guess what happened? Hint number one: Jauhiainen sounds a little tired over the phone, because she’s just come back from the Paris Fashion Week.
Production transparency: 100 %
Some of the wool for Myssyfarmi myssys comes from the sheep at the Rauhansuus’ farm, known by names such as Bambi, Susi and Onni. With Myssyfarmi’s growing popularity, the neighbouring farm with over 1 000 Finnsheep has come to help.
The wool from Finnsheep is very soft, dense and light. Jauhiainen also points out that as the yarn has lanoline in it, it feels super soft and comfortable against the wearer’s skin.
In addition to the organic wool, the colours come from nature: no artificial dye is used.
“Everything is traceable,” Jauhiainen mentions. “We can almost name the sheep behind each myssy.”
On top of the traditional myssys, Myssyfarmi’s selection includes other headwear and scarves. Each item carries the name of its maker. As Janne Rauhansuu has other responsibilities at the farm, these days the knitting is done by local ladies. They go by the name myssymummot, beanie grannies.
Fashionable for a lifetime
Today, myssys are for sale in 13 countries through around 50 resellers and worldwide on Myssyfarmi’s online store.
The German market, in particular, has proven fruitful for the company, but Japan and South Korea are increasingly keen to get their myssys on, too.
Jauhiainen believes that the transparent traceability, organic production and lifetime warranty are all-important things to Myssyfarmi’s customers.
“The world is full of all kinds of hats and beanies,” she says. “We believe that wearing a myssy is not just about covering your head – it also carries our values and ideology, meaning no industrial mass production.”
The lifetime warranty is part of the brand. Myssys never go out of fashion.
“Instead of fast fashion, we’re promoting slow fashion,” Jauhiainen describes. “It’s evident that a lot of people are starting to get bored of mass consumption and just shopping for the sake of it. With our warranty, we encourage folks to think about their choices and move towards sustainable design.”
A brand video can be had here