In our 'Meet the Maker' section, we talk to the innovative founders, creative designers and genius brains behind the most popular brands in our range! This week we put the much loved brand Eat Mielies in the spotlight. With hilarious illustrations that magnify the quirks of the human body, this forward-thinking brand is a playful ode to diversity! But what open-minded creative is hiding behind this brand?
Hi Eat Mielies, can you introduce yourself?
"Hi I'm Kim, the weird person behind Eat Mielies Weird Illustration :-)."
What does Eat Mielies stand for?
"'Mielies' is the South African word for corn (on the cob), so although I speak English with my family in South Africa, we use this word 'mielies' instead of 'corn' (South Africans like lots of milies).
When I moved to Amsterdam I spoke English to all my international friends and had to train myself not to say 'mielies' because no one had any idea what I was talking about! It therefore felt like a special South African company name, this perfectly normal word that I had to try so hard not to say, while when I visited my parents in South Africa it was casually tossed around.
I had no further mission in mind. I just started making drawings that made me laugh, and products that I would love to buy in stores! And somehow everything exploded and turned into this realm of cock mugs and hairy bottom socks. I should have been a musician... oops!"
How and when did you come up with this idea?
"During my music studies in 2017 I started drawing and made my first products, just for fun. My friends bought most of them, but after a Sunday morning at the market near Museumplein, I was amazed at how many other people also like them. found!
I've always loved strange drawings. I started getting tattoos of hairy old men because I thought real hairy old men would get tattoos of sexy women with big breasts (sexy mermaids and stuff like that). So someone had to get those men tattooed. I really had to beg tattoo artists to draw these guys for me, so I just started drawing them myself! (And I was bored in music history class...so I drew a lot )."
Was that hairy old man your very first Eat Mielies design?
"I made a few at a time. A greeting card that says ' I like your boobs (and you) ' and ' I like your farts ', a tote bag with different breasts on it and a T-shirt with a hairy old man on the front I had never seen clothes with 'normal' people on them, only sexy women or famous rock musicians, hahaha.
So basically just anything I wanted or things that I found funny. I also made a lot of things with penises on them, breasts became popular but no one put dicks on things and I like dicks!"
Haha! What were you hoping for when you embarked on this Eat Mielies adventure?
"Nothing at all, just having fun. In my opinion, that's the best way to - accidentally - start a business!"
So, are you still having fun?
What are you most proud of?
"I think the fact that I can be financially stable by selling strange illustrations? That makes me very proud."
What shows your commitment to environmental friendliness?
"I try to stay plastic free, so orders are packed with paper and cardboard. I save and reuse packaging materials as much as possible, my office is filled with cardboard parts waiting to be reused. I use organic PLA bags for my cards and recycled envelopes Almost all of my products are made in the EU."
Which design has a special place in your heart?
"My hairy willy mug , hands down!"
Is your own home also full of Eat Mielies products? :-)
"Yes, I have a supply of hairy willy mugs for when my in-laws or other important guests come over for tea."
Is there anything fun planned?
We are looking forward to! Is there anything else you would like to pass on to the readers?
"Bodies come in all shapes and sizes and we all get pimples, blemishes, stretch marks and hair in random places and we all need to go to the bathroom and we all fart. I like seeing the funny side of how strange people really are . I hope you can too! :)"
*Kim's answers have been translated from English.