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Changing lives with hand-crafted collections

Handmade for change

VÄLGÖRANDE is the latest IKEA collection made by social entrepreneurs. It features unique wood and woven accessories made by a network of 18 artisans in Romania in collaboration with IKEA designer Mikael Axelsson (pictured right). They are part of Bucharest-based social enterprise MBQ (Mesteshukar Butiq), which aims to preserve traditional handicrafts and change attitudes towards marginalised Roma people. ‘This is a new way of working, for us and for IKEA, so it’s a learning process,’ says Andrei M. Georgescu, manager at MBQ. ‘If we get it to work, in the long run it will be something amazing – and I’m confident it can be done.’

‘VÄLGÖRANDE can really make a difference for the artisans and their families, which feels great’

Mikael Axelsson, IKEA designer

Future-proofing traditional crafts

By doing business with MBQ, IKEA is providing a way for artisans like Zoltan Bojadi (top, main image) and Dan Virgil (pictured here) to stay in a profession they love. ‘I really like the finish and the attention to detail in the VÄLGÖRANDE objects. You need to be extremely precise when you work, otherwise the product’s ruined,’ says Dan, who has been a woodturner since he was 14.

‘If IKEA can be part of making social business mainstream and sustainable, that’s fantastic’

Vaishali Misra, business leader, social entrepreneur initiative

A unique touch

Mikael’s collaboration with the artisans resulted in two honey drips, a rolling pin, a salt bowl and a wicker basket. The products mix traditional craft techniques with modern Scandinavian design for a beautiful, handmade look. And all of them co-ordinate beautifully with the vivid blue handmade ceramics, paper products and textiles made in Doi Tun, Thailand, by social entrepreneurs with a long-standing involvement with the initiative.

The VÄLGÖRANDE collection is available in stores in the UK, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway and Portugal now