When Anna Suoheimo moved from Finland with her family to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, she was heartbroken by the plight of persons with disabilities and the situation of single mothers. Mostly, they are outcast from society with little opportunities in life. Anna wanted to do her part to change their lives for the better, she set out to start a business that could change the world one rug at a time. Working with both the Finnish and Ethiopian Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to create a product chain that would benefit people with disabilities of Ethiopia.
The goal is to create hundreds of new job opportunities for vulnerable groups by creating a local economy from employing the traditional weaving methods of Ethiopia with the supply of wool raised by local shepherds utilizing traditional sheep herding in the countryside.
Each rug is unique and tells a story about our shared humanity and the land it came from. When you order a Sera Helsinki Rug you will receive a video of when it begins its life on the loom, and a card signed by the artisans. A beautiful collection of ethically handmade woollen rugs and cotton towels, combining modern Finnish design & traditional Ethiopian craftsmanship. Born out of a love and compassion for humanity; Sera Helsinki rugs provide to improve the living standards of the artisans, empowering the most vulnerable groups in Ethiopia.
Empowering Design - Ethical Wool Production
The wool comes from the highlands of northern Ethiopia. The climate is cool in these regions and therefore the villages have traditions using wool in their everyday life. The sheep roam freely in the nature and are looked after by the shepherds. Shepherds are an essential part of a sustainable and impactful production chain. Sheep are carefully looked after by shepherds while being able to roam freely in the highlands of Ethiopia.
Sera Helsinki links the rural highland shepherds to the production of exported design rugs. From a business perspective, sheep breeding and lambs are valuable assets to shepherds, and wool thread is an extra income, which is often seen as a waste material.
The fleece is shorn off the sheep twice a year traditionally, with a method that doesn’t cause pain. All our wool is free of mulesing, and the process is entirely handcrafted without electricity or devices. After the fleece is shorn, it is spun to yarn and woven into unique Sera Helsinki rugs. Every sheep varies in colour by nature and every weaver works in a different way. For this reason every rug is unique, there are no two identical rug.
The threads of the carpets are hand made from woollen fleece shorn off the sheep. It is not chemically dyed and this rugs are natural and ecological. Sheep fleece comes in three colours; black, white and brown. The different thread colours are achieved by mixing the natural wool colours. The thread keeps its natural lanolin – also called wool wax or grease – which helps to remove any dirt.
Traditionally handcrafted materials are essential for Sera Helsinki’s designs, making each rug unique and charming. The wool thread is handmade by using ancient traditions in the highlands of Ethiopia. These villages are rural and very poor. Spinning is often a side income, making it possible to raise artisans and their families above extreme poverty.
Sera Helsinki rug production uses traditional and organic methods without electricity or harmful chemicals. Talented artisans craft our rugs from pure and natural sheep wool thread, which is entirely handmade without any electricity or machines. Animals are never harmed during the making of the wool rugs. The thread-making process does not include any chemicals, bleaches, or dyes; wool color is the natural lambswool. Only lukewarm water and soap is used to clean any impurities. The resulting thread is as organic as it can be.
Studio Nordhaven exclusively distributes leading Scandinavian brands, including Stelton, Gejst, Rig-Tig, 101 Copenhagen, Sera Helsinki, and Nordstjerne in the USA and Canada.