Mammu - Fashion with a Social Conscience
MAMMU (Latvian for mum) was brought to life in 2010 by Andris Rubins and Fionn Dobbin. The impulse came from learning about the helpless situation that many single mothers with young children were in in Latvia. As kindergarden places are limited and hiring a nanny is too expensive for many mums, they are forced to stay at home with their kids and thus cannot work 9 to 5 jobs. On the other hand the state child support benefits depend on the mothers previous income and if you were a low earner to begin with, the child support benefits hardly amount to the minimum subsistence level. Andris and Fionn wanted find a way to help and decided to found a social fashion business. At the core we are a tiny company with only two of us here at the office in Riga on a daily basis, but we work with many people who share with us their creativity and know-how.
MAMMU works based on the 7 Grameen principles of Social Business:
- the business objective is to overcome problems which threaten people and society, not profit maximization
- the business has to be financially and economically sustainable
- investors only get back the initial investment amount, no dividends beyond the investment money are paid out
- the profit stays with the company and is used for expansion and improvement
- we are environmentally conscious
- our workforce gets market wage with better working conditions
- we do it with joy!
Here at MAMMU we are passionate both about social business and fashion. We are always on the lookout for up and coming talented young fashion designers to work with. Most recently we collaborated with a talented Latvian designer duet who now are considered as one of the most exiting young contemporary fashion designers in the world!
The designers we work with come up with a design and we teach the mothers how to produce them. We provide the mothers with the necessary materials for production and help them set up their own micro enterprises from which we later buy back the finished wares. Recently we have expanded the circle of people we work with to also include retirees, who are another financially vulnerable group in Baltic societies. Latvian grandfathers do the woodwork of MAMMU products and grandmothers help us in our knitting and knotting projects.
In addition to working with mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers on our own products, we collaborate with companies who wish to have their production done ethically.
Overall, we believe very firmly in collaboration. Therefore, we always welcome students who wish to learn more about our way of business in hopes of inspiring a new generation of businesspeople to think differently about business