During the Design Academy Eindhoven graduation show at last year’s Dutch Design Week, Kyra Meilink had a very positive reaction to both of her projects. TOON is a radio for elderly people with dementia that simplifies usage. She received offers to have this included in books and magazines about care and welfare. Her other project, SEC, is a collection of transformable raincoats, which goes into production next week.
Was it financially hard to get your studio set up initially?
When I was still studying at the Design Academy Eindhoven I also worked as a Youth Care Worker for children with autism. I used this money to start up the studio. I was fortunate enough to start with no debt and I received no government funding.
How did you get your projects into production?
After my graduation I went for two and a half months to New York City. When I got back I searched for conferences and exhibitions that were related to my graduation work.
I did a presentation at the “Eindhoven Summit on Service Innovation in Cities 2011” and I participated in conferences. At these I was actively seeking potential producers for my product TOON.
I visited a few potential producers to see if they wanted to produce SEC. Some producers contacted me after meeting me at an exhibition or a conference. Others I contacted myself or I was introduced by someone from the network I have built up.
So what did this all amount to?
For SEC I will sign a contract next week. I met this company at the GREEN TODAY EXPO in the RAI in Amsterdam.
So it is been a busy year. Did you ever lose hope?
Not at all! All the exhibitions and conferences gave me more energy to start thinking about new projects! It is a little strange to graduate as a designer because you quickly need to become an entrepreneur if you want your products to be produced. But I found the right balance between these two roles.
So where to from here? Will you solely focus on product design?
I mostly create concepts and products inspired by daily problems as well as global issues. I am always trying to find realistic and optimistic solutions designed in a minimalistic and playful way. I like to work without a specific target group or a specific problem. Some people call me a problem solver or a social designer.
SEC images by Masha Ru.
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