The People Behind Our Products: Outi Puro of Finnish Design Company, Mum's

The People Behind Our Products

Mum's Designs Outi Puro
Mum's is a sustainable Finnish design company that combines art and ethical production wonderfully. What started as an art project grew into a recognized brand bringing wool rugs, wall hangings, cushion covers and blankets to loving homes. The Mum's collection is fairly traded, eco-conscious and ensures sustainable incomes to artisans in South Africa, Cambodia, Bolivia and India. Outi Puro, the mum of Mum's, prides herself in making beautiful things with a beautiful story. Read more of her story below!
Olson House: Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Outi: I have a daughter, the oldest, who is at university and 3 sons. I live in a house we have made ourselves out of recycled materials. It is a traditional Finnish log house situated 8 km from the city. I live in a small village close to forest and close to the sea.
Mum's Designs Outi Puro with sons
Olson House: Were you always a creative person? Have you only worked with textiles?
I have worked with many materials as originally I am a sculptor and visual art teacher. I loved to make communal art together with groups of people. Baking was actually one of the things I "used" as art the most, as I gave people a chance to come and bake together. All was eaten or fed to birds after. We made happy nice little things which made us happy. Throughout my career, I have worked with recycled plastic, reclaimed cotton material and other reclaimed material collected at factories (materials which would otherwise be thrown in rubbish), leftover silk, leather, wood and telephone wire. Textiles just have taken the most of my time these days.
Olson House: What was your focus of study at Aalto University in Helsinki and Arts Academy in Turku?
Yes. I graduated as a visual artist and Sculptor and a visual art teacher and of course also did design.
Olson House: Why did your art project lead you to Africa?
Outi: It was part of my doctoral thesis for Aalto University. I went there to make a video "Baking for my long lost friend in Africa 2006." I actually baked for my one of my Soul African friends, Diane. First time I was there for around 2 months, but returned several times after.  Mum's developed from an art project to a sustainable design company over the following years.
Olson House: Was sustainability, eco-consciousness and humanitarian values a part of your childhood? Where did you learn the great value of creating out of these things?
Outi: Actually yes it was. I used to wear all my mother’s Marimekko dresses from the 60´s and I bought my clothes from flea markets and re-devloped those. I also lived in Australia for a year when I was young and loved the flea markets there. I have always created. I love music, sport, art and drawing. When I was a kid there was a weekly issue of Donald Duck magazine. I drew the cover every time and drew every day, for my mum, my teacher and my friends. 
Mum's Designs Love Clutch
Olson House: How do you choose which designers to work with?
Outi: These days designers contact me because they recpect the values we have in production. In he beginning, I did all designing myself and I still design many of the products. In the early years, I asked for Anu Penttinen for collaboration and she agreed. She was the first MUM’s designer and we made a collection of bags made of recycled cotton with women artisans in Africa.  Now we are a small team of designers, just a few people who are good friends. When we started all was so small and together we have grown it bigger as we work as friends.
Olson House: What is the most memorable part of your career so far? 
Outi: Perhaps when we brought South African artisans to Finland. The artisans did not speak English nor had they ever traveled on a plane or visited abroad. 
Mum's Designs Artisans in Africa and Cambodia
Mum's Designs Artisans in India
Olson House: What do you like to do in your free time? Where do you like to travel for fun?
Outi: I never travel for fun its always work. :) I love nature. I spend time with my loved ones including my dog, Rose. I run in the forest and by the sea. In the winter, I also do winter swimming.
Outi Puro's dog
*Mum's luxury wool rugs are available in-store only and for special order! 
Contact us or stop by the storefront for more information & inquiries.
Shop Mum's Design Rug and Pillow at Olson House

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