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Design stories, products and spaces

Straw Enthusiasm – an interview

“Straw  Enthusiasm” means in Polish a short-lived enthusiasm, but this is the only case in the world where it paradoxically means a lasting enthusiasm and leads to success.
What is it? Cotton with hay and straw print. It created a sensation a while ago, but the interest in it isn’t waning, rather on the contrary. The authors of the idea for the bedding with an idyllic design is a couple from Szczecin – Gosia and Marcin from Dizeno Creative. Although they do not have any university degrees in designing and they entered the world of design through the back door, they burst into it like the best in the business. 

They’ve fulfilled dreams that many of us have. The dream of their own, thriving business, joy and satisfaction from their jobs. How have they done it? By fulfilling dreams of others. A dream of blissful idleness in the bosom of nature, in a haystack. Their idea hit the bull’s-eye. The bedding with the hay motif sells like hot cakes.

The impulse came in summer when they were laying in a bed in Gosia’s parents garden. The place where she spent her childhood enjoying horseback tours during which she slept among stacks smelling of hay. That day they wondered how it would be to sleep in hay that doesn’t prickle your butt… - Now elderly people call us and say that we had a great idea and that our bedding reminds them of their childhood in the countryside. They also ask us why our products are so expensive. But unfortunately production in Poland costs that much. Printing is the most expensive. And because the bedding is double-sided… We couldn’t imagine printing the motif only on one side. Tumbled in the bed, it wouldn’t remind of a haystack, and that was the plan.  

 

Mouse, moth, needle, grasshopper and daisy...

Gosia terribly long searched for a place that could complete their order. – I was becoming more and more resigned by the day. Although I called the whole Poland, everyone said that in Poland there are no modern machines for cotton digital printing, and we really wanted to manufacture the product entirely in Poland. I almost gave up, I even ordered samples from China. And when they arrived something induced me to google the name of the service in English. It turned out that a company from Łódź two months earlier bought such state-of-the-art printer. And they put information about it in the Internet, but their web page was promoted in English. That is why I couldn’t track them down at first.

Everything started from the Design – Open Space competition in Wrocław. They sent a visualisation of their project. Then there was a prototype. From polyester, on a fabric used for advertising print. Soon they were going to Copenhagen for the “Forest and Meadow” exhibition organised by Adam Mickiewicz Institute. For that, they had to have their product in the final form that they were supposed to manufacture i.e. from cotton. That was the time when they literally at the last possible moment found that company from Łódź. That is why to the question what was the most difficult, Gosia straight away says that preparing the production. – Now the same happens with the OVO urns. I’m looking for a manufacturer who would make them exactly in the way we designed them – from pressed peat. Because the project was derived from peat pots. A Canadian manufacturer who I contacted said that they will make them with pleasure providing that the order will be counted in millions… I have a feeling that we will end up with our own press and we will be making them on our own – sighs Gosia. 

 

 

Third child

Apart from Hayka which is in a sense their beloved but only a business child, they have two children: Antek and Mieszko. For elder Antek, Gosia is not a real mom. She says he is a great boy. – Hayka chased us out of our bedroom. We live in an old German building and at the very beginning our storage of Hayka was located on a mezzanine. Now it takes up the whole room, and we with our mattress ended up below the celling in our old storage area. We are really happy that everything goes so great. Our products sell quite well also abroad. – Sales abroad just started but you can already find us in two stores in Berlin. In one of them, our bedding is displayed on a bed. It turns out that people more willingly buy articles that they can touch. Especially in Poland, people are cautious when purchasing such kind of staff online. But we do have our “target groups”. The bedlinen is often bought by families and friends for newly-weds as a wedding gift.

 

They treat their designs lightly, with a sense of humour. The design of the already famous bedding is not only hay. There is also the proverbial needle strayed in the haystack, mouse, moth, grasshopper, ladybird. When designing, they don’t stick to one theme. They don’t ponder over whether it’s good or bad. It stared from the biodegradable urn OVO – it was their first design – made for the competition “Make me!”. They entered the very finals and received an honourable mention. – We enjoyed that, and it assured us that we’ve chosen the right way. Then there was a punch bag looking like meat at the butcher’s. Marcin was inspired by Rocky Balboa exercising at the butcher’s in the cult movie. At last the time came for the bedding. And finally, clothes – HAY fashion collection was created after one blogger visited us at some fair. She asked us to make clothes for her child. We created a top and trousers. When she showed them on her blog, the telephones started ringing! – recalls Gosia. Encouraged by the success, we began to make trousers and sweatshirts.  

 

2 in 1

They met at work, in an advertising agency. They worked as graphic designers. When asked about design education, Gosia denies. She graduated from IT department (in Szczecin there were no artistic studies at that time), and Marcin studied sociology. But the husband has always drawn something. When he was younger, he earned money drawing caricatures by the seaside. – At some point, we understood that graphic design doesn’t give us pleasure as it used to do. When the Customer decides about everything, to move this to the right, to move that to the left, the graphic designer is only a mouse operator – laughs Gosia. – it’s neither creative nor motivating.   

Division of roles in Dizeno Creative was natural. It is based on talents and predispositions. Gosia is responsible for e-mail and phone contacts. She is the boss of PR and deals with production. Marcin is the “director” of the graphic design studio. In inverted commas of course, since they invent designs together. Do you always have a similar point of view? – I ask. – Not at all! – laughs Gosia. It takes some time to reach a consensus. And only when we’re both convinced by the idea for one hundred percent, we decide that we’ve hit the nail on the head. And then we start to realise our idea. At present, they are thinking about furniture. The collection will also feature bedroom articles so everything complements each other and matches their other ideas. And of course Hayka.  

 

 

To earn on hay

 

The bedlinen with the hay motif may be bought in standard sizes or you can order an individual size. The service turns out to be very useful since there are many old feather pillows of non-standard sizes. When asked about plans in the nearest future, Gosia responds that they want to make socks with hay print. – Everybody asks us to make them – she laughs. – It is quite funny because in Poland hay sticking out of shoes means that somebody is a country bumpkin, but in France, for example, it means that somebody is rich, and hay in shoes is a synonym of amassing money.

 

 

text: Basia Komorowska for iN Magazyn
http://www.facebook.com/InMagazyn

July 2014