I'm the Co-founder and CEO of The Grommet. We launch undiscovered consumer products. It's also the birthplace of Citizen Commerce. I write about design, cultural anthropology, and start-ups, mostly.

Real Deal Road Trip No. 6: Michelle Willey / Finnish products trunk show

Michelle Willey (classic ideas for modern living)

Boston, MA

I had a birthday recently.  On the way to a celebratory event, I invoked “birthday girl privileges” and requested a detour.  I wanted to see a special trunk show of Finnish products on a temporary display at Michelle Willey, a shop I really like in Boston.

I was drooling over the rich materials, bold forms, and reassuring Finnish simplicity.  All of the products I saw are new to the US and barely distributed.  I especially appreciated speaking with Timo Utter, who is single-handedly importing  these products from a tight selection of high quality family-owned enterprises.

Michelle Willey shop at 8 Union Park Street, Boston

Michelle Willey, herself. What a great eye this woman has.

Whimsical laser cut trees and ornaments, made from Finland's abundant hardwoods

Wonderful thick wool items from a mother/daughter team; placemats, coasters, table runners

This line is designed in Finland and fabricated in Italy from recycled leather scraps. I loved the hardware and practical details, and especially appreciated the suede-like touch

Timo Utter, from Helsinki, and me. In front of Timo's trunk show.

Some people wax poetic in bookstores, for others it is music stores.  I love those too, but for me a truly absorbing experience is to encounter products that have a perfect blend of form, function, material, and fabrication.  The Finns are so superb at that.

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