Tikau founder Taina Snellman-Langenskiöld: “Tikau is based on a true wish to help”

Founded in 2008, Tikau not only enriches people’s lives with timeless designs but also wants to be a frontrunner in responsible production. We chatted with founder Taina Snellman-Langenskiöld about Tikau’s story, selection and – above all – sustainability.

Tikau founder Taina Snellman-Langenskiöld
Taina Snellman-Langenskiöld founded Tikau in 2008 after spending time in India.

Hi, Taina! Could you tell us how Tikau’s story first began?
“About 17 years ago I lived in India for a period, researching sustainability in the clothing industry. I understood that people desperately need work where they live – the residents of small rural communities are often forced to move into big cities to find work.

Through Tikau, I wanted to support small businesses and entrepreneurs as well as the artisan’s independent livelihood in challenging rural areas. At the same time, I wanted to help preserve old handicraft traditions. My own background is in the design and clothing industries, which is reflected in my idea of ​​helpful design, my Design Helps! thinking.

It all began as a part-time project alongside my job as a consultant, but soon I was swept away by Tikau. Above all, I had a sincere desire to help.”

Tikau Bombroo rug
Tikau is perhaps best-known for its rugs. The selection also includes bamboo lights and baskets made of banana fiber. The Bombroo rug was designed by Klaus Haapaniemi.
Tikau founder Taina Snellman-Langenskiöld
“I dare say Tikau is a frontrunner in responsible production and perhaps a bit extremist in it, as well,” says Taina Snellman-Langenskiöld.

What were Tikau’s first products?
“Tikau’s first artisan collaborations began a few with artisan families in Gujarat weaving rugs for us, and simultaneously we had started developing the banana fiber collection in Southern India. All these products are still part of our selection!

The first artisans to weave rugs for us now train new weavers and support us in meeting our quality standards. High quality is extremely important to us, and we see it as the foundation for sustainability.”

“The main reason for founding Tikau was my sincere desire to help.”

Tikau banana fiber baskets
Tikau’s banana fiber baskets are handcrafted in Southern India. Tikau aims to provide jobs for local artisans but also to help them preserve their traditional handicraft techniques.
Tikau Raindrop rug
The Raindrop rug is made of 100 % wool, and its dots are dyed with plant-based dyes. The charming rug can be hung on the wall.

Are all Tikau products still made in India?
“In 2021 we launched our Bää collection made of Finnish wool, and in 2022 we will introduce wool rugs that are crafted here in Finland, as well.

Sustainability is about choices – and choices are about values. Someone might value Finnish production while another wants to support Indian artisans. That’s why we wanted to offer choices made both near and far. We, as a Finnish company, also value things like local production, preservation of the arts and crafts industry, and the utilization of high-quality Finnish wool.”

Who designs the products?
“Most of the products are conceived by Finnish designers, but many of them are also created by me and the Tikau team. Our designers include the likes of Erja Hirvi, Ilkka Suppanen, Klaus Haapaniemi and Lotta Nieminen. The English Tom Dixon has also designed banana fiber lamps for us.

Our product development always begins with the makers – people in need of work. The artisans’ techniques provide the framework for the design process.”

Tikau Birds rug
The colorful Birds rug features a magical pattern embroidered on the felted rug by hand. The traditional technique is called Ari.
Tikau Bombroo rug
Tikau cherishes handicraft traditions and techniques. Each product showcases the unique handprint of the artisan who made it.
Tikau Bää collection
In addition to the products crafted in India, Tikau has a collection made in Finland. The collection is titled Bää, Finnish for “baa”, and it is made of Finnish wool.

I have a classic question for you next: do you have a favorite Tikau product?
“All wool rugs in our home are from Tikau. I even have the fan-favorite Bombroo in two colorways. Tikau’s rugs are very durable even in homes with pets or kids, and they are easy to keep clean. Additionally, Tikau’s rugs are natural and free of chemicals or plastics.

We also have a few banana fiber baskets in our home, and I can say they are very functional and easy to care for, as well. Our bamboo lights create the perfect atmosphere in the home.”

What expectations do you have for summer 2022?
“I do wish the situation in the world would calm down. Regarding Tikau, we are looking forward to launching our very first Finnish-made wool rugs – they have required a long product development process.

Personally, I’m looking forward to bright evenings after a long winter as well as gardening and flowers in bloom.”

Tikau favorites

Bombroo rug
Dhobi basket
Raindrop rug
Bamboo lights
Bombroo rug
Round basket
Birds rug
Block throw

See also:

Tikau at Finnish Design Shop >

Text: Emmi Ratilainen Images: Tikau

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