THE STORY OF RAGAMUF
Finnish and Syrian women join hands to create RAGAMUF chair rug covers
A stretchy RAGAMUF chair rug cover fits itself over chairs of different shapes and sizes. Every single RAGAMUF chair rug cover is unique, as its maker gets to personally pick the design, colors, and shapes that they wish to use. As such, not only are rugs surprisingly gorgeous, but they are also meaningful to the persons who make them.
RAGAMUF employs Syrian refugee women, who reside in Turkey near the Syrian border. Machines or looms are not needed for the creation of them. They are made by hand out of knitted rug, which is produced of the surplus of the textile industry. The materials are procured locally from Turkey, which keeps transportation distances short. Our local humanitarian aid organization partner’s aid in Sanliurfa, Turkey enables us to find the employees we hire via a Turkish RAGAMUF subsidiary, and allows us to make sure that the women are paid fair and lawful wages.
Who, why, when
The owner and founder of RAGAMUF is Martta Leskelä, M.Sc., from Oulu. Leskelä and her family lived in Turkey between 2015 and 2016, and during that time she looked for partners for her company. In light of the crisis in Syria, setting out to provide employment for refugee women residing in Turkey came across as a natural course of action. She is familiar with humanitarian work due to her prior work with Finn Church Aid.
Establishing RAGAMUF is Martta Leskelä’s way to express her long-standing passion for working for the good of others, and it combines her desire to aid those in need with her expertise as both an entrepreneur and an economist.
Meanwhile, in the summer of 2015, a designer from Helsinki by the name of Tuula Pöyhönen came up with the idea for a chair rug. While living in Scotland as an artist-in-residence, the designer found herself thinking of her sons playing on their iPads on the faded couch of her apartment while paying a visit to a draper’s shop. Upon finding a roll of flexible fishnet, she had a thought of combining her expertise in carpet textiles and sportswear materials to create a chair rug. In early 2016, she had her first prototype made in Morocco.
Elsewhere, Martta Leskelä had finished laying the groundwork for her company, and began searching for a designer that was a good fit for her concept. The paths of Leskelä and Pöyhönen eventually crossed in March 2016. The ingenious chair rug Tuula had thought up was immediately to Martta’s liking: It was a hand-crafted product, which required plenty of work-hours and workers to produce. Thus, not only was the chair rug an innovative idea in itself, but also a perfect product for her project. As Leskelä and Pöyhönen brought together their ideas, skills, and passion, RAGAMUF was born.
RAGAMUF chair rug covers was launched with an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign the 17th of January 2017. The aims of this campaign was to achieve international visibility, and to receive as many pre-orders as possible, in order to be able to hire as many refugee women as possible. The funds being raised during the campaign will be used to open an online store during 2017. RAGAMUF chair rug covers will only be sold online, which enables us to keep prices reasonable while giving the greatest number of people an opportunity to purchase one.
Additional information and pictures:
CEO, R A G A M U F
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