Sometimes a product is not an essential: you could certainly survive without it, but it is clever or attractive enough that you simply like the idea of having it in your life! There seem to be an increasing number of young Czech businesses specializing in products just like this. Their founders are combining new ideas with great designs and smart marketing, to successfully fill nice little gift-sized gaps in the market, using festivals and exhibition such as Designblok and Code:Mode to market their ideas to a young, trend-setting crowd.
NB: Most of these are Czech brands who do not yet have English websites. However, a quick translation via your search engine can usually help if you’re a non-Czech speaker like me.
The brains behind La Caraffe are focused on finding ways to reduce the worldwide consumption and wastage of plastic and paper cups and containers. Their products offer stylish and practical alternatives to the average disposable coffee cup. They ask: why drink grey, bitter coffee from a vending machine when you can brew your own perfect cup at home, pack it in your briefcase, and slurp as you go?
Their swish website takes us through the range of products on offer. Firstly, the ‘Caraffe Poster’ (199 CZK) a blank ‘thermo-cup’ onto which you can add a photo or design of your choice. Simply upload your preferred image via their site and they’ll create a personalized cup and deliver it to you for a mere 93 CZK.
If you’d rather leave the design work to the experts, they also offer a range of designer thermo-cups in their limited La Caraffe Collection. There are a range of designs available, including those by young Czech artist Petra Vojtasíková.
The other product on their site is the Australian-designed ‘Keep Cup’, specifically intended for re-filling coffee at home or in your favourite café.
The cup is made from recyclable materials and can withstand microwaving and dishwashing. It is designed with real coffee experts in mind – designed to fit under standard handles on espresso machines, and to not break the all important ‘crema’ on pouring. The Keep Cup is not a thermos, however; it will (like a standard disposable cup) keep your precious coffee warm for up to 20 minutes, but instead of slinging it in the bin after one use, you can rinse it out and return to the coffee shop for a refill time and time again. The cups come in three sizes (espresso for 249 CZK, cappuccino for 279 CZK, and latte for 299 CZK) and various bright and vibrant colours.
If you love coffee and the planet, take a look at La Caraffe.cz
‘Mix it’ was conceived by two former classmates, Tomáš and Martin, who decided to go into the muesli business together. Their aim was to fill a small but specific gap in the market – to enable customers to mix their own blend of high-quality breakfast cereal, choosing from a range of ingredients via a comprehensive and easy to use website. They believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and that customers should not be restricted to the over-priced and over-flavored options available in the supermarkets.
Via www.mixit.cz, customers can select their own personal blend of fruits, nuts, and cereal in a few simple clicks and then choose to either have the final product delivered to their door, or to collect it in person via arrangement with their participating outlet.
The company, which has just celebrated its 2nd birthday, has built up a very respectable 7000-fan following on Facebook and they say their customer base is growing steadily as Czechs become more comfortable with the idea of ordering groceries online.
If you’ve been to a music festival, exhibition, conference, or corporate event recently, chances are you’ve seen, or maybe even sat on, a Wegett bean bag. These guys are taking the Czech Republic by storm with their comfy, stylish and practical range of seats and sofas.
Founded in Brno in 2003, the company has swiftly expanded across the country and online, with shops in Brno and Prague and representatives in over five other towns and cities.
The product section of their website (unfortunately, only in Czech at the moment) has the original ‘Wegett Classic’ at the top of the list – a comfy and useful chair which can be customized to suit your color scheme and taste. Great for reading, working from a laptop and for kids. It is lightweight, washable, malleable and can be used inside or in the garden.
They have 8 other designs on the homepage, including the all-important ‘Wegett Dogs’, a fully customizable doggy bean bag for your four-legged friend!
You can choose to have your bean bag delivered or save the postage fee and collect it yourself from one of their shops. These seats aren’t cheap (around 4000 CZK for the ‘Wegett Classic’, for example) but they are certainly comfortable, and according to the site, can have therapeutic benefits helping with muscle regeneration and spinal issues.
Sofistick make designer wall stickers. An odd concept perhaps, but a quick glance at their homepage shows what a wonderful effect these beautiful sticky creations can have on your home or office. There are floral motifs for the living room, world maps for the office, animals for the playroom, underwater scenes for the bathroom and much, much more.
You can search their very good-looking website under different categories (‘plants’, ‘for children’, ‘city’, ‘the kitchen’, etc.) or by artist – they have a team of staff designers, plus a selection of guest artists. Once you have chosen your desired sticker you can select the color (from around 20 different shades), size (on most but not all designs), choose your delivery or collection option, and pay. The stickers are very reasonably priced, with small designs (30x36cm) from just 400 CZK and the largest sheets (120x144cm) costing 2500 CZK and can be applied to any smooth surface including windows. You can watch a handy video explaining how to apply the vinyl stickers here.
Kabelky snů translates roughly to ‘handbags of dreams’, and that is exactly what this company is all about – handbags of all shapes, sizes, design,s and prices, all on one user-friendly website. There are handbags, shopping bags, eco-friendly bags, laptop bags, cosmetics bags, beach bags, purses and even some footwear! Prices range from as low as 130 CZK for a very practical collapsible eco-shopping bag (save on plastic bags by always having one of these tucked away in your handbag or pocket), up to 2,200 CZK for a cooler-bag on wheels, perfect for delivering your frozen and chilled foods home from the store in the summer, without the risk of defrosting en route!
You can order and pay via the website, or on delivery, or just pop into their small but well-stocked shop (Vinohradská 343/6, Prague 2, open Mon to Fri 9am – 8pm and Sat 9am -12 noon) and browse the items in person. A great place for gifts, and special treat purchases – a girl can never have too many handbags after all!
This is just a small selection of some of trendy local companies and their products. Do you have any other favorites? Have you discovered a new and innovative product recently that you’d like others to be able to enjoy? Please let us know in the comments below!