Fashion / Society

How one couple, 80 grannies and a flock of sheep are changing the face of sustainability

By Eliza Sörman Nilsson

Photo: Johanna Laitinen

The husband-wife duo behind Finnish knitwear brand Myssyfarmi have parlayed a hobby into an agenda-setting sustainable business, all from the comfort of the farm

“To see a guy with really big hands knit... It’s a sight,” Anna Rauhansuu laughs. “He likes to be the centre of attention,” she says of her husband and business partner Janne. Anna and Janne are sitting next to each other at a broad oak table, speaking to me via video call from their farm in Pöytyä, Finland – the home of their knit wear brand Myssyfarmi. Playing into all the beautiful farming cliches, Anna has knitting needles and a ball of indigo blue yarn in her hands, she knits as we talk. Janne has just come in from harvesting the organic crops. On their heads, colourful knitted beanies.


In a past life, Janne was a professional windsurfer, travelling the world, until an injury forced him to stop. “I was living in Switzerland, in the mountains, I was there after my career...” Anna looks up from her knitting to finish his sentence, “searching for a new direction”. Janne found local grannies who started teaching him to knit. “It's my farmer's hands,” he says. “I’d be sitting in the cafeteria in Swiss hostels and people would be watching me, thinking ‘What is this man doing?’ I found it funny and cool.” The party trick soon turned into a hobby with friends requesting Janne-made beanies.

Finnsheep at Myssyfarmi's farm

It's common for farmers to name all their sheep. Photo: Johanna Laitinen

Myssyfarmi is going back in time, reinstating the traditional Finnish 'cottage industries'. Photo: Johanna Laitinen