Social Entrepreneurship With Grandma

Maitri, Petya, Deni and Monika, all in their mid 20s, thought that it was a shame how the granny knitting talent is going to waste and decided that Bulgarian babas ought to take their deserved place in the world as the “knitting gurus” that they are. 

There’s hardly ever been a Bulgarian kid growing up in the 80s, including myself, who doesn’t remember their baba (granny), sitting on the couch, knitting yet another sweater. For some it may have been the horrible piece of clothing they can’t sneak out from wearing and for others a rare chance to show off some western styles, unavailable anywhere in Bulgarian shops. Either way everyone who has grown up in Bulgaria knows that knitting is the trademark pastime of our babas.

Bulgaria is a small country, a member of the EU, snuggled between Romania, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece and Turkey. It has a population of 7.5 million, 1.3 million of which are people over 65 predominantly living in rural areas being steadily depopulated. The average pension in Bulgaria is 295 leva a month. That’s 151 еuro. It took a Swiss guy to see the entrepreneurial potential in this picture and to found, together with three Bulgarian girls, Snug Essentials

Maitri, Petya, Deni and Monika, all in their mid 20s, thought that it was a shame how the granny knitting talent is going to waste and decided that Bulgarian babas ought to take their deserved place in the world as the “knitting gurus” that they are. After some brainstorming and rejecting ideas to make clothes for kitties, babies, or pillows, the team decided that the growing market for smart devices might be the best one to tap into and not long after the first granny-made crocheted Kindle cover was born.            

“We think that most of the cheap, mass-produced covers are ugly. We offer products that are original, eco-friendly, hand-made and infused with lots of granny love.” says Deni.  Petya adds, “The women are so happy that their craft is finally being appreciated. One of the grannies said that her grandkids didn’t care at all for the clothes she makes them and it’s the first time she can knit something that someone really wants and likes. Plus, it’s a great way for them to earn some extra money.”

In less than 5 months Snug Essentials’ team has successfully completed a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, created a website, and won the first stage of Start IT Smart's 3Challenge entrepreneurship tournament which brings together young entrepreneurs with experienced mentors to help them develop their businesses. Currently, most of the orders come from recommendations and through word of mouth, but the team hopes to be able to grow and employ more grandmas than the six working right now.

“Working with grannies is great”, says Petya, “there are so many benefits to it. You don’t just do business with them, you kind of become their surrogate grandchild, with all the perks that entails. Like, you constantly get to hear all these interesting stories and receive wise advice about life, love and everything else.”

The team’s vision is to make Snug Essentials a brand recognized around the world so that everyone knows that Bulgarian grandmas are "knitting gurus". They also want to involve as many grannies as possible, and as the business grows even train them to be coordinators, accept orders and work with the digital platform. 

I can only wish Snug Essentials luck and hope to see more happy and working grandmas in Bulgaria. 

Please leave your comments and reactions to the idea here. I’m sure the young team will appreciate them. 

Why the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner won’t feature a comedian in 2019

It's the first time the association hasn't hired a comedian in 16 years.

(Photo by Anna Webber/Getty Images for Vulture Festival)
Culture & Religion
  • The 2018 WHCA ended in controversy after comedian Michelle Wolf made jokes some considered to be offensive.
  • The WHCA apologized for Wolf's jokes, though some journalists and many comedians backed the comedian and decried arguments in favor of limiting the types of speech permitted at the event.
  • Ron Chernow, who penned a bestselling biography of Alexander Hamilton, will speak at next year's dinner.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

A new study says alcohol changes how the brain creates memories

A study on flies may hold the key to future addiction treatments.

Scott Barbour/Getty Images
Mind & Brain
  • A new study suggests that drinking alcohol can affect how memories are stored away as good or bad.
  • This may have drastic implications for how addiction is caused and how people recall intoxication.
  • The findings may one day lead to a new form of treatment for those suffering from addiction.
Keep reading Show less