I think what was missing in my earlier items was that they didn’t have a theme running across them. So I set about thinking what would my brand be about.
I thought bringing my Finnish roots to the design would make it unique and also more personal. I also always found folklore, mythology, old customs and saying fascinating and they often inspire my work.
I’ve got 2 Finnish folktales that I really like.
One is about how the Northern Lights came to be. In Finnish the word for Northern Lights is “Revontulet” which literally translates as “fox’s fires.” The story goes that there are these fox-like creatures called flamefoxes (tulikettu or tulikko in Finnish) and when their fur rubs against trees and other objects, it sends sparks to the sky which becomes a light.
Also, if you catch a flamefox it’ll bring you good fortune for eternity.
Another story isn’t really a story, but basically in Finnish folklore all witches live on this mountain called Kyöpelinvuori (literally “witch mountain”) with their black cats. They only come out once a year around Easter time and fly around on their brooms scaring people.
Last year I started to explore screenprinting and also started thinking maybe I could transfer my own illustrations on different products, t-shirts, teatowels, bags etc. by using this method.
I decided I wanted to do a businessplan for my dissertation for a company through which I could sell these products and during the summer I thought I should start “testing the waters” and see if anyone would actually buy what I’m making.
I decided to call my business Susi Apparel. During the summer I opened a shop online at BigCartel and did a stall at The PrintHaus.
These were some of the first stuff I made. They don’t really have any overall theme etc. and I did not sell very well.
So, for my first term project I thought I’d make a coherent, strong collection of items.