• Aurora Grion

3 female-run projects in Helsinki you need to check out!

Let’s have a look at (and support!) these 3 female-run projects that have the ultimate goal of leaving a positive impact on society and the environment.

As many of you may recall, last year we organized the first “Näistenpäivän Marssi” in Helsinki (International Women’s Day March), right before Covid-19 hit and changed our way of gathering and interacting with others.

Even before the current restrictions came to place, we sadly had to give up on the idea of organizing a new march this year. Had it happened, we would have liked to invite female-run businesses: the idea was to create a sort of a tiny market, where these women could showcase their projects and share why they believe in what they are doing.

But then we thought: “Hey, hold on… Why don’t we create a space for some of these projects online, on our website?”. We picked (for now) 3 projects we found extremely interesting, but stay tuned for more of them in the future!

What all these projects have in common is that they are all female-led and they all have the purpose of leaving a positive impact, socially and/or environmentally. Curious to learn more about them and about how you can show support? Let’s get started!

#1 FloweRescue ry

Did you know that 40% of the flowers grown commercially each year will be thrown away before they reach the hands of consumers? That’s appalling.

FloweRescue ry is a nonprofit organization that was created with the intent to address and spark dialogue about the issue of waste in the floral industry and to connect people through the beauty and joy of flowers.

In practice, most of what this organization does is collect surplus and waste flowers from wholesalers, florists and events, and turns them into bouquets that will be donated to elderly care homes, hospitals, charities, and community art projects.

How did this project start?

Kati Mayfield, one of the founders, explained how the FloweRescue adventure was made possible at the beginning:

“This idea came when I started working at local flower wholesaler Kukkatoimitus (now the largest supporter and partner for FloweRescue). One of my jobs at the wholesaler was to throw away the flowers that couldn't be sold, and I saw right away that some of them were still very beautiful and could be used if they were cleaned and "freshened up".

So, in 2018, I pitched the idea to Kukkatoimitus to rescue some of their waste flowers after Christmas that year since there is often a lot of waste after big holidays. Kukkatoimitus gave me the green light and offered not only the flowers but also the workshop space.”

The community grew very fast in less than two years (and with a pandemic in between!): FloweRescue can now count 48 members and nearly 200 volunteers. They've rescued over 40,000 flowers, which equates to about 3,800 bouquets being donated to 14 different community partners.

“For me, there is no greater joy than experiencing and sharing flowers with other people. But today there is no such thing as a sustainable flower (at least not one which is commercially grown), and I want to change that. So FloweRescue, in its current form and in all the potential it holds, is a manifestation of my life's work and purpose.”

Kati Mayfield, FloweRescue Founder

How to support?

  • Take part in the workshops: each week on Thursdays (occasionally on Mondays, too) at 16:30 near Teurastamo. You will help in processing and sorting the rescued flowers and make bouquets. About 50 bouquets are made per session, so each person gets to make quite a few. No previous flower experience necessary, and volunteers of all ages are welcome!

(During the whole month of March, due to Covid-19 restrictions, the activities for new volunteers will be paused. Hopefully, FloweRescue will host new volunteers again in April!)

  • Contribute with a donation: FloweRescue is planning to offer bookings for volunteer group experiences (e.g. for team building, birthday parties, or hen parties) as a fundraising activity. Of course, feel free to donate even if you don’t plan to participate in these activities! ;)

To sign up you can email admin(at)flowerescue.org, or send a DM through Instagram or Facebook.

Photo credits: Kati Mayfield

#2 MakrAmore

MakrAmore is the project of Anita, a Finnish-Italian physiotherapist specialized in feminine health issues. As a woman and mother of two little girls, she is quite aware of and concerned about the social aspects of being a woman, such as gender-based violence, discrimination, and equality.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Anita started learning the macramé technique and fell in love with it. So then why not combine this new passion with raising awareness on topics that are dear to her?

In Anita’s words:

“It came naturally to me to incorporate into those knots my intent to raise awareness on social and environmental topics. Getting creative has become, over time, my therapy: it helped me and emotionally sustained me on my motherhood journey as a single mom.

So this is the background that shaped the idea of MakrAmore: knots made with Finnish recycled yarn and Italian love.”

Among MakrAmore’s various collaborations, there is the one in support of Solidarisuus Ry, a Finnish organization working to stop violence against women in Nicaragua, Somalia, and Kenya.

Anita designed the “Pimppi keychain” (roughly translatable with “Pussy keychain”), in order to give her contribution to the fight against the practice of female genital mutilation. The proceeds of these keychains are entirely donated to Solidarisuus ry.

How to support?

You can custom order macramé pieces or buy the “Pimppi Keychain”, just by sending an email to makramore@gmail.com. Check out MakrAmore’s Instagram account or Facebook page to find out more!

Photo credits: Anita Del Bianco

#3 Upcycle with Jing

How about combining the idea of purchasing beautiful pieces of jewelry and reducing plastic waste? Doesn’t it sound just exactly like what our society needs?

Well, that is what Jing is doing, through her business “Upcycle with Jing”!

Driven by the love for handicrafts and for nature, Jing always knew she wanted to create something beautiful and meaningful in her life, as a career. For her, working is not only a way of earning money or doing whatever she wants but something more than that: it is giving her contribution to causes she strongly believes in.

All of Jing’s unique jewerly pieces are created from fully recycled plastic, with the aim of reducing plastic waste productively, preventing the creation of new plastic, and protecting the natural world from the harmful processes used to generate traditional jewelry materials.

“In many ways, my designs are much more than jewelry; they are daily reminders of just how fantastic our beautiful Earth is. They are the embodiment of our natural world and the global movement dedicated to protecting it.”

Of course, it is not very easy to turn upcycling ideas into profitable businesses: some handicraft techniques are very time-consuming, such as crocheting and embroidery, and very often the customers are not willing to pay enough to cover the actual cost of the product. Therefore, Jing did a lot of interesting experiments and chose plastic bottles jewelry as the main product to develop.

“For me, this is much more than just a brand; it is about bringing something unique and elegant to the table – without harming the environment. I add a part of myself to every piece of jewelry I sell. Most of my designs embody the natural elements that Upcycle fights to protect through sustainable manufacturing. Inspiration comes from the flora around the globe, earthly beauties, and of course, humanity's innate attraction to the natural world.”

How to support?

You can purchase these unique pieces of designer art on Jing’s website, and don’t forget to follow her on social media (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube)!

Photo credits: Jing Wang

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