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BARCELONA Here, the playful paper plane hook from mitemite; inset, Anna Marti with examples of the cleverly disguised “Bag Against Crime”

bags of fun

Words deborah hatch

Inspirational Barcelonabased brand mitemite pokes fun at dull accessories with its youthful range of products

100 | TRAVELLER | MAY 10

Remember your last pillow fight, or those paper planes you made in school? For most of us they’re wistful memories, but for Anna Marti, childish fun is a grown-up business. The former advertising art director, who quit her job two years ago to set up mitemite (“look look” in Japanese) with just €2,000, is selling fun back to us, albeit in an adult way. Take a novel idea, give it a practical twist and you’re getting close to what goes on inside Anna’s business brain. Take her “LazySunday Pants”, for instance, jogging bottoms with patches of tablecloth Velcro-ed onto them for eating TV dinners on your lap. Or her “Make War, Not Love” pistol pillowcases for good-natured bedtime tussles. Both surplus to requirements, but fun to have. “Mitemite is about escaping the mundane by transforming things we all use in a way that makes them fun and different,” says Anna. So a bag is not just a bag, it’s a “Bag Against Crime”, disguised as a newspaper to confuse potential muggers. “You wouldn’t show off €1m in a see-through plastic bag, so why carry your valuables in a bag that’s clearly an expensive designer accessory?” she says. Anna’s quirky arm candy has fast become her best seller after appearing in The New York Times and on the arms

of trendsetters at Paris Fashion Week. Fantastic news for the entrepreneur, who has sold over 1,000 units of the tote and has more orders on the go. While she’s now turning a small profit, Anna is careful to keep costs down. She works from her parents’ basement with her brother on marketing duties, and gets everything made in a local factory. Ranging in price from €30–€120, mitemite products are pretty frivolous buys. However, after 18 months, Anna has sold more than 2,000 items via her website and through 17 shops in eight countries. So, in today’s recession-battered retail market and with no marketing budget, why are mitemite products selling so well? Partly, it’s because Anna chooses outlets that draw in the right consumers, such as gadget shop L’appartement (44 Enric Granados) in Barcelona, and London’s Beyond the Valley (2 Newburgh Street). “I’m always looking for new shops around the world that complement my products,” says Anna. Future goals include creating new objects for big-name brands. With crime-fighting bags already trailblazing a global fashion trend, don’t be surprised if you see a newspaper being unzipped in a terminal near you soon.

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