"The first Myssy can still be found from a mountain café in Teufi, CH.”
Myssy-ystävät, some of you already know the story about knitting grandmas and supersoft Finnsheep wool – all coming from Pöytyä. But how did we end up here? To understand us you don’t need to go back all the way to our childhood and see photos of us running around the fields and forests of Pöytyä, but of course, that is the base of our values.
The Windsurfer who learned how to knit
We start our tour from the year 2002 when Janne, FIN-24, was still windsurfing. Ever since high school, Janne’s career was in professional windsurfing. Among other things, he won the European Championships in 2001 and was rated among the world’s TOP 10 windsurfers. When his career ended in 2003 in an injury, he decided to take over the family farm in Finland, but to stay in Switzerland, where his base had already been for years.
While searching for a new direction, Janne was living in Davos for the winters and skiing in the mountains. His friend Julia had a handmade beanie that Janne wanted to have, but it was not in sale. With Finnish stubbornness, he decided to make one himself. In a village mountain café in Teufi, local old ladies taught Janne to knit. The first Myssy was born 16th of January 2006 after a week of hard work. This masterpiece looked like a tea cosy - "pannumyssy" and the name Myssy was chosen. It sounded nice to the Swiss. The first Myssy can still to be found in the same café in Teufi.
Of course, without Julie, the whole Myssy phenomenon would not have existed in Davos. She designed the first logo, tags, and parties for the Davos ski society. Soon they both knit wherever they went. Everybody in Davos wanted to have a Myssy and knitting took place always after a good day of skiing. Myssy parties became famous with Myssy fashion shows and different after ski themes. But most of all, Myssy was all about having fun.
Taking over the family farm in Finland
A knitting man stood out from the crowd and Janne also started to knit during his visits to Finland. Blanko in Turku was his number one place to knit. The world was open for Myssy. The myssykraka – a tie- was born in South Africa, when Janne flew to a friend’s wedding. The night before the wedding he realized he had forgotten his tie. He had just learned to knit and it took the whole night, but the first myssykraka was good to go.
In 2008 Janne met Anna and it was finally the time for Janne to move back to Finland. He started developing the farm full time, and soon it was ready to be turned fully organic. For Anna doing creative work and knitting had always been something very natural, and it didn’t take long before she started knitting too. Our brand Myssyfarmi was established in 2009 as Anna and Janne moved to the old Rauhansuu farm and became ”emäntä” and ”isäntä” – Finnish specific terms for the lady of the farm and the farmer.
From there on, the rest of the story came together almost by itself. The first Finnsheep arrived to farm in 2010 as Bambi, Susi, and Onni were born at the Rintala farm, which is located closeby. We realized that there is such a secret treasure as Finnsheep wool. It has a great natural color spectrum, is as soft as merino wool - and very Finnish, too! Finnsheep wool is also hard to get, which makes it an exclusive material. We started to co-operate with the Rintala farm that has over a thousand beautiful Finnsheep and use only this fully traceable wool.
Soon we no longer had time to do all the knitting by ourselves and therefore was introducing the myssymummot – myssy grandmas – as our flagship the next obvious step. The grandmas had been helping us around already for a couple of years and it was time to put them in the front. In every Myssy they knit in some of their wisdom.
Meanwhile, Myssyfarmi Food products: organic virgin turnip rape oil, Hulda peas, pea crush and pea flour had been introduced to the market one by one. What our two product ranges have in common, is the 100% traceability: we know exactly where the yarn comes from, what the sheep was called, who knit the beanie, where did the turnip rape grew and who pressed & bottled up the oil. We are also passionate about both: producing clean organic food and designing beautiful handmade masterpieces out of Finnsheep yarn.
Myssy going international
Knitting has never been our profession, but a passion and a source of inspiration. However, in fall 2015 we made the decision to start developing Myssyfarmi professionally. After Aina, Unto, Unna and Auni all born on 2010’s, Anna decided no longer return her prior job, but to become a modern kind of emäntä working at the farm. Some results can already be seen. In December 2015 we were granted EU money for the project called “growth & internationalization of Myssyfarmi” – probably as the first farm in Finland to get this kind of support. In January 2016 we attended the Berlin Fashion Week for the first time. The internationalization had began.
Today Myssys are sold in 15 countries, we have gotten a lot of media attention, and been awarded on our work. Yet, we still feel like the real journey has just begun. We believe in what we are doing and that we can change, if not the whole world, at least a little bit of the Finnish farming culture and the county of Pöytyä. We have been lucky to be able to gather a great team around us that is enabling the work. For us, it feels like a natural step to go back to the roots where it all started - all around the world.