Monday, April 27, 2015

Ferfel - social Entrepreneurship competition

About our idea of Mimice I already wrote here (click). 

Last few months we are working very hard and developing our idea, looking for partners, searching for best solutions, and learning thousands of new things. The truth is that I had no idea about "making toy business" and about many other things before I stepped into the business with social impact. So many things in our life looks so easy and simple "observing" it from far away, but you look a little bit closer, the view changed totally...

It is not easy time :)

We are facing with a lot of difficulties. But also we have very beautiful moments and amazing confirmations of our project. We learn from difficult moments and we charge our batteries on beautiful ones. It is the only right thing to do as long there will be ups and downs.

Very great "up" for us was experiece of the Ferfl competition.

Tomaž and the Giant MiMiCa

Everything started with meeting Tomaž (about Tomaž and about his job you could read here- click).
With Tomaž we met on a workshop about "business for begginers". 
I was on that lecture "by chance". And Tomaž was the one who had a lecture. It was very good lecture about social Entrepreneurship and about starting your own business. It was so good lecture that I decided to stay after it and talk with him and ask him some more questions. And then a miracle happened - me, completely anti-business person started to think about having one ;-) I ve had my artistic head full of ideas and ideals. With Tomaž we met few more times. He gave us a lot of great hints and he helped us to establish our Institute of Culture "Mimi in Jojo". Also he was the one who told us about the Ferfl and encourage us to enter this competition.

Ferfl is a program specialized in social Entrepreneurship. They are working on promotion of ideas with social impact. And lately they organized a competition for the best social impact idea, one of the biggest contest in Slovenia country.
More then 500 innovative ideas entered the competition. 
Only six of them were choosen for "course on social Entrepreneurship" and our MiMiCe were among them! After one month, after intensive course of entrepreneurship, after lectures, workshops, meetings and hard work on developing ideas we had a final competition. On the special event every team, every idea had three minutes of time for "an elevator speech" to convincea jury. 
And the idea who convinced and inspire jury the most was.... MIMICE !!!
We were so happy to get this great confirmation!!!
Now next three month we have possibility to be part of business incubator in Dplac (click) and use some mentoring and advisors for developing our Mimice. 

Keep your fingesr crossed for our Mimice! :-)

Having an elevator pitch.

Mimica in hands of jury

Our little Kalina were all the time with us. She is the reason for the begining of our Mimice and she is so sweet, little helper in all this project. She was with me on stage playing with Mimice while I was pitching. In my opinion the true is that she was the one who convinced jury :)

Our happines when we were announced winner was VEERY BIG!

And first interview for Slovenian television. As you can see in video (to watch it click here), we were still in big, strong emotions :-)

We were also in some newspappers:)
"Ferfl je program spodbujanja idej z družbenim učinkom, ki podjetnikom pomaga na poti do uresničitve njihovih sanj. Letos je svoje ideje na preizkušnjo postavilo preko 500 inovativnih ekip.
Od mnogih zanimivih idej je do konca programa uspelo priti le šestim ekipam, ki so nato približno en mesec svoje znanje izpopolnjevale v Šoli podjetništva z družbenim učinkom. 11. decembra sta bili dve izmed idej izbrani kot zmagovalni.
Inovativna podjetnika, ki sta ustvarila prvi zmagovalni projekt, MiMiCe, sta mlada starša Marija Magdalena Szmatula Černe in njen partner Jošt. Njune MiMiCe so igrače iz recikliranih materialov, ki jih ustvarjajo šivilje iz ranljivih skupin, kot so imigranti, invalidi in drugi težje zaposljivi posamezniki. Igračke sta sprva izdelovala sama, za svojo hči Kalino, sedaj pa razmišljata tudi o knjigah in risankah, kjer bodo glavne junakinje prav MiMiCe. Ker Marija Magdalena prihaja iz Poljske, že razmišlja, da bi svojo poslovno idejo razširila tudi v tujino."

"Prva zmagovalna ekipa, ki se je uvrstila v socialno podjetniški inkubator, je mlada družina, ki je v zadnjem mesecu razvijala svojo idejo v Šoli podjetništva z družbenim učinkom. Marija Magdalena Szmatula Černe je mlada mamica iz Poljske, ki že več let živi v Sloveniji. S partnerjem Joštom imata malo hčerko Kalino, ki je glavna pobudnica njune podjetniške ideje - MiMiCe. MiMiCe so unikatne igrače za otroke iz recikliranega materiala. Igrače ustvarjajo pridne roke šivilj iz ranljivih skupin (invalidi, migranti, težje zaposljivi).
Od prvotne ideje, ko sta za svojo hčerko začela izdelovati igrače iz recikliranega materiala, sta sedaj, po enomesečnem obiskovanju Ferfl podjetniške šole, navdušena nad širitvijo posla. Poleg šivanja MiMiC pripravljata tudi knjige, kjer bodo junaki - MiMiCe - skozi učno pomoč reševali različne probleme. V prihodnosti pa želijo zgodbo povezovati tudi z risanko o MiMiCah. “Na začetku sva razmišljala samo o šivanju MiMiC, ob močnem podpornem okolju Ferfla, v katerem delujeva v zadnjih mesecih, pa sva dobila ogromno novih idej in zagona za razširitev zgodbe. Naredila sva tudi raziskave na terenu, kjer nas je zanimalo, kaj si starši želijo za svoje otroke.” je povedala Marija Magdalena, ki že načrtuje širitev blagovne znamke tudi v tujino."

loves! xoxoxoxo!
p.s. Photos made be Jernej Kokol- young and very talented photographer (click).

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

MiMice- the story

I wasn't here a lot lately. To be honest and real I was absent for good, few months... 
Some of you sweet people follow us on facebook and you know what is going on, but some of you probably wonder why I am not here for so long time. 
I wish to tell you a litle story about what I am doing now. For sure you already noticed my toys. I have alredy shown them few times on blog (like here or here) but I am not sure how much you know about them and about all idea of .
Nevertheless I think I owe you this post:)

Our toys- Mimice are created from love. 
I started to creating them when we realized we were about to become parents. I wished to create some beautiful welcome present for my daughter. In the same time with Joštt we were talking a lot about children, discussing about upbringing and also about toys, books and games which are available in shops. Joštt as a kindergarden teacher (yes! I have this luck to be wife of man who is working in kindergarden!!!) has a lot experiences and observations about the way children play and about influence a toy can have on child behaviour. 

As all parents we wish to give to our child the best we can. Of course we want our daughter to be healthy and happy. We wish that she develops well and become smart and intelligent girl and woman. But above all we want her to grow into compassionate, good and loving person. We soon discovered a common issue, which was the absence of toys that would support the emotional development and imagination of our children. We also noticed an absence of heroes with strong characters that would inspire our children with great positive messages.

This was our turning point. 

For our daughter and for every other child, we decided that we were going to create good toys with positive characters and great values. 
We joined forces by combining our knowledge, skills and experiences. 

And that is how MiMice were created! :-)

We have big wish that MiMice will take children and their parents to an often forgotten place, a place of love, good self-esteem, self- respect and respect for others and nature. We believe we are creating with them a world that thrives on love.

We want that kind of world to be created in our kindergardens and our homes. We wish that all children are given the freedom to explore their imagination and self-awareness, develop a secure emotional ground and are encouraged to build loving relationships through quality dialogue.

The first little creatures that were sewn by my hands quickly began to touch people's hearts and soon sewing during nights on a borrowed sewing machine just wasn't enough. We decided to expand. We decided to act in the spirit of social Entrepreneurship because we wanted our Mimice to bring a positive message right from the start. For this reason our toys are made by vulnerable groups - hardly employable people. Our partners are organizations who employ people that are disabled, elderly, migrants and recovered addicts.

We wish Mimice to carry good message in every level and we are very proud of our values:
  • handmade and unique: every Mimica is handmade and has a unique knitted face
  • community: Mimice are made by hand, made by vulnerable groups. They are sewn by the hands of disabled people, migrants and recovered addicts.
  • environment: we up-cycle using unused materials and giving them a new, better life.
  • safety: all toys can be washed in the washing machine and they don’t have any pearls or buttons that could fall off or be swallowed. Materials are certified and safe.
  • local: Mimice have European not Far Eastern orgins. All are sewn in Slovenia with Slovenian materials.
  • fair play: fair salaries and safe working conditions.
  • communal: our proceeds are reinvested in the local economy
  • simplicity: our designs are cute but simple. Mimice are leaving space for children to develop their own imagination around them.
  • dialogue: When we develop Mimice’s characters we listen to the desires and needs of both parents and children
Mimice are created from love and this positive energy is spreading through every toy we make.

Och, I forgot about the name: MiMice!
Why MiMice?It is very simple. My name is Maria Magdalena but my friends call me Marysia or simply MiMi (combined from the first letters of my name). And "ninica" is slovene word use for cuddly toy children use to sleep with. Name MiMice sounds obvious and our friends start to use it to named our toys even before it become a brand name!

The story of Mimice has just started. And there is a long way and a lot of challenges waiting for us (and I love challenges). 
There is a lot of great people we've met thanks to MiMice (and I love meeting great people). 
I can not wait what will be next step:)
I believe that with all love and all postitve energy Mimice have around them they will develop into world wide project:)
back soon! xoxoxo!!!

p.s. this great pictures are taken by very talented young photographer Jernej Kokol (click).We had a very nice - photoshooting day with Jernej lately. I so wish to show you more of this great pictures- it will be very soon:)