By: Elmo Ropponen

Stories and play are crucial for children’s well-being. Several generations have learned gentle wisdom from Tove Jansson’s Moomin stories that celebrate friendship, acceptance and respect for others.

Fascinating stories and their beloved Moomin characters now delight children and their families at Lasten Mehiläinen healthcare units for children. This collaboration between Moomin Characters and Mehiläinen, a Finnish provider of comprehensive healthcare and social services, combines the Moomins’ philosophy of life with children’s healthcare services in a new way.

“Stories and play are crucial for children’s well-being, and the Moomins’ philosophy of life includes many themes related to health and well-being,” says Mirella Girs, Marketing Manager at Mehiläinen. The lovely Moomin collection was created in cooperation with designer Helena Manninen from Medanta.

“The Moomin stories include many themes related to health and well-being. In addition to health, the constituents of a good childhood include a balance between the child’s needs and the family and social relations. The Moomins and Lasten Mehiläinen have similar values, and we can talk about important themes in a relatable way through these stories,” says Mirella Girs, Marketing Manager at Mehiläinen.

Good cooperation continues through the Moomin collection

At Lasten Mehiläinen’s healthcare facilities, visitors are greeted with the pleasant atmosphere of the Moominvalley: there are Moomin characters on the walls and on the employees’ work clothes.

Mehiläinen has been using work clothes designed by Medanta since 2016, and the Moomin collection is a natural continuation of this good cooperation.

Designed by Helena Manninen at Medanta, the clothes included in the collection are nice-looking, consistent, versatile and of a high quality.

“The compact collection we created for Mehiläinen four years ago has proved to be highly functional. It includes three tops, two kinds of trousers, a warm-up jacket and an apron that care easy to combine in various ways. The Moomin characters have been embroidered on the work shirts,” says Manninen.

The employees’ green shirts feature five favourite characters: Little My, Snorkmaiden, Moomintroll, Stinky and Sniff.

Beautifully embroidered characters – Little My, Snorkmaiden, Moomintroll, Stinky and Sniff – adorn the employees’ work clothes at Lasten Mehiläinen.

According to Manninen, designing the Moomin collection was a fun but intensive and challenging project.

“Even though the characters were readily available, the creation of the collection involved a large number of technical issues that I needed to resolve. During the project, we had numerous discussions with Mehiläinen to consider the options and brainstorm to achieve the best possible result.”

Sniff’s whiskers – and other important details

“For example, the recreation of Stinky on work clothes required a great deal of deliberation and fine-tuning. We needed to figure out how to make its fur as three-dimensional as possible. Should the white spots on the fur be embroidered or should they be part of the colour of the fabric?” Manninen explains.

“We wanted to recreate the Moomins as accurately as possible, with high-quality implementation. We discussed their implementation character by character: How thin a line can we use? Should some lines be made thicker to make the character look better? How should we recreate Sniff’s whiskers?”

In addition, the sizes of the characters needed to be proportional to one another. Little My is the smallest, and Sniff is the tallest.

“The characters on the shirts are Tove Jansson’s original black-and-white Moomin characters, even though younger generations may be more familiar with the way in which the characters are portrayed in the animated series,” says Mirella Girs.

“We decided to go with the black-and-white characters right in the beginning stages of the project, as they stand out nicely from the green of Mehiläinen’s brand colour.”

Mirella Girs and Helena Manninen are delighted by the positive and enthusiastic feedback from employees and customers on the Moomin collection. Nurse Anna Åkerberg chose a Sniff shirt in the morning.

The Moomin work shirts meet with an enthusiastic response

In work with patients, healthcare work clothes must endure numerous washes in hot temperatures. The embroidery on the work clothes has been done using durable, high-quality thread. According to Manninen, it endures washes and heavy-duty use in the same manner as Medanta’s technical and antimicrobial fabrics.

After considering various options presented by Manninen, a decision was made to place the characters on the chest of the shirt. This ensures that a child’s eyes naturally find the familiar character when they are tired or anxious about the procedure to be performed.

The Moomin work clothes will first be tested by employees at six Lasten Mehiläinen locations.

“Each employee will get five shirts – with five different Moomin characters. They can decide in the morning which shirt to wear. Our employees have been enthusiastic about the shirts, and we have also received positive feedback from customers,” says Girs.

According to Girs and Manninen, the Moomin-themed cooperation will be expanded.

“This cooperation has been particularly wonderful because the Moomins are very warm and human characters. They teach wisdom to both children and adults. We can all learn from their gentle and unique worldview,” says Manninen.

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