FMAM: From much-loved hobby to independent, successful business
By Molly McPharlin | Photos: FMAM
Finland is a crafting nation. Many Finns are experts at knitting, sewing and felting. These skills are passed down from parents or grandparents, learned in school where both boys and girls must master the fundamentals of sewing and woodworking, or later, in numerous and affordable adult craft classes. Some turn their skills into a profession. For Paivi Sillanpää-Ojala, her hobby of creating hand-made moccasins for her friends’ children became the start of her career.
Sillanpää-Ojala founded For Mommies and Minis in 2015, and it soon became known by its abbreviation FMAM. “Ever since I was a young child, I sewed and secretly dreamed of doing handicrafts as a profession. After creating presents for my friends’ kids, I was encouraged to create an Instagram account for FMAM,” says Sillanpää-Ojala. “As a result, inquiries began to come in asking if the products could be bought. I founded an online store and soon I quit my job as a kindergarten teacher and became an entrepreneur.”
FMAM’s goal is to make timeless products for everyday life. Besides children’s leather moccasins, Sillanpää-Ojala also creates accessories for both adults and children, such as hairbands, bags, and bowties. All the company’s products are handmade in Finland, using chrome-free, ecologically produced Nordic leather. FMAM strives to implement a sustainable development model and has been awarded the Design from Finland label.
FMAM is especially popular with families who care about responsibly produced products. “My customers are often parents of small children who want to buy durable items for their children whose origin is traceable. In addition, our products for adults are also popular. I have my own shop which is open once a week for customers. Our products can also be found at retailers all over Finland and in FMAM’s own online store,” she says.
Currently, FMAM operates mainly in the Nordic countries, but a future goal is to internationalise the company. “We have an agency in Tokyo who wants to export FMAM’s products to the Japanese market. We are also looking for dealers elsewhere in Europe,” says Sillanpää-Ojala. “Internationalisation is an important part of our plans. However, growing our operations in Finland and making more kinds of beautiful products is also a high priority.”
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