The Slow Movement and Mim Concept: What and Who Are We as a Brand?
The Slow Movement
The Slow Movement advocates a cultural shift toward slowing down life’s pace. Simply, it asks us to focus on quality over quantity, we may need to slow down how we live, how we consume and how we produce. The Slow movement is more than a movement that advocates something as simplistic as physically slowing down our pace or actions, it is instead a movement that places a new value on the benefit of taking more time to achieve outcomes or meet our needs.
If you’re reading this, then you’re in the half of the world’s population with access to the internet. We live in a modern world that offers us an abundance of choice and convenience. That also means you have access to a seemingly infinite amount of online shopping options.
It’s easy to shop cheap, fast products. And, it’s easy to shop often. But, the choice is also there to shop slow, ethically, and sustainably. Like all things in life, with great choice comes great responsibility
“Once we know and are aware, we are responsible for our action and our inaction. We can do something about it or ignore it. Either way, we are still responsible.”Jean-Paul Sartre.
As humans, we are all consumers. But, we have choices to make regarding what we consume and how much we consume of it. Here are some ways to get started as a consumer:
Shop Less & Buy Less: it is not about buying nothing (some says running around naked is the most sustainable option), it is not about compromising your taste and your life quality. It is about shopping less frequently and buying less each time you shop.
- When You Shop:
- Choose quality over quantity
- Buy timeless designs that will never go out of trend
Do your homework to avoid unethical brands and fast production
Once You Own Something: this is the simplest and easiest thing to do - Love the few things you own
Mim Concept and the Slow Manufacturing Practice
The current industrial system is generally based on highly automated manufacturing plants, which allow fast production and serial manufacturing. While it is impossible to offer handmade furniture without breaking the bank, Mim uses the "slow manufacturing" philosophy following the Slow Movement culture.
Traditional woodworking techniques are applied in order to assist modern automatic equipment and skilled carpenters can then perform semi-automatic processes in order to obtain products with craftsmanship that is appealing and rich. In turn, technology returns to being predominantly mechanical.
Slow Manufacturing can increase the quality of the product, giving the uniqueness and excellence without compromising affordability. The reduction of electronics and computerisation, the elements largely responsible for standardisation, allows the skills of the craftsman to once again become relevant.
As a brand, why did Mim choose to follow this path?
Born and raised in Vietnam for the first 10 years of my life, I spent almost every summer in the South Vietnam, along the Mekong river bank. During the time in Vietnam, I remember vividly there were thousands of local wood shops where the locals could just walk in, choose a type of in-house wood and tell the carpenter what they wanted. Watching the carpenter cutting the pieces in such a way that they fit together as tightly as if they’d grown that way in the first place and using hand tools was mesmerising, the memory has stayed with me ever since.
There are not many carpentry villages like there used to be 20 years ago. Many big brands from the West have taken over small local wood shops, automatic equipment has replaced hand tools to accommodate the demand of fast production and serial manufacturing. With Mim Concept, I want to bring back a part of the forgotten craftsmanship in a modern approach.
The only down side of Slow Manufacturing is, well, slow.
When Mim was first started, we only had 4 items (Joey Collection). It was unusual for a furniture brand to only sell a handful of items. Xavier and Loszak collection were launched in the past 2 years, again, the current total number of items on Mim is still under a dozen. And once an item is sold out, it usually take us 5 to 6 months to restock, Mim does not sell trendy products and no "final sales". You always can return the item in 15 days if you don't love it. As mentioned, you gotta love a few things you own :)
It is not common for a brand to go against fast production, we have to compromise potential sales because of the longer lead time compared to other big brands. However, this is what we signed up for, to make a certain change in manufacturing behaviours.
From Mim, with love
By Anh Ly
Designer of Mim Concept