New Innovator: Mamukko
Hungarian-born brothers, Attila and Levente Magyar, came to Ireland six years ago with plans to work hard, earn some money and go home. The economic crash put paid to that dream when the brothers lost their jobs.
Looking around for something to do, they revisited an idea artist and designer, Levente, had a number of years ago to produce bags from recycled and upcycled materials.
The Magyar family are leather and wood craftsmen over many generations and the boys had grown up learning the skills of the trade.
Their father is a designer for a large Transylvanian sports shoe, bags and accessories company.
Living in Kinsale provided the inspiration to use old boat sails and marine canvas as the primary base material for their products and two years ago Levente began the process of designing a range of sailing, fashion and sports bags that sell under the Mamukko brand.
The brothers pumped their savings of around €16,000 into the venture and were supported with two priming grants from the South Cork Enterprise Board. They also work with SMILE, a resource exchange programme based in Macroom.
Their main selling channel is currently online but the brothers have recently begun supplying their first retail outlets in Cork. Through contact via Facebook the company secured two volume orders from Australia and a request to become the company’s distributor there while web sales to the US and Canada have been particularly strong.
Mamukko is a two-man band with the brothers designing, making and selling the bags themselves. However, plans to expand and take on the company’s first employee are underway.
Mamukko will be exhibiting in the Enterprise Zone at this week’s Showcase creative expo in the RDS, which brings in potential buyers of Irish products from all over the world.
Waste to eco-friendly
“All of the fabrics we use are waste, either offcuts of new materials (such as sailcloth and PVC) or used items that people no longer want. We are also looking into recycling many other potential materials such as old wet suits,” says Attila who originally trained as an English and history teacher. “Our intention was to challenge ourselves by applying traditional skills to creating eco-friendly bags that are functional and affordable. Our friends call us the textile hunters because everywhere we go we see potential fabrics, in signage, on the side of lorries and we ask ourselves how would that look when reworked and upcycled into a shoulder bag, for example.
“Our collection does not limit itself to sports or fashion bags. There are many other ideas and applications we are working on, such as products for protecting hardware and technology and also stylish and colourful products for the home and office.”