Sleep In Bliss: Responsbily Made Sleeping Masks by ÖÖLOOM

It’s very easy for sleep to become an insignificant, routine activity. Yet we all know that good sleep is essential for our physical well-being and sanity. I am a resident sleepyhead. So when I spotted Estonian brand Ööloom’s (literally ‘night animal’) range at the store, I was immediately in awe. A company dedicated solely to provide people with a great sleeping experience with their soft animal-shaped sleeping masks – what more could you want? To top it all off, their products are responsibly made and locally-sourced. I felt like I needed to introduce Ööloom to all the professional nappers out there. Mihkel Virkus, resident visionary and a rigorous sleeper at Ööloom, answered our most haunting questions. 

Words: Johanna Raudsepp

'Fox Girl' by Ööloom, 2016. 

'Fox Girl' by Ööloom, 2016. 

It’s not every day that we see a new brand dedicated to great and sustainable sleeping gear. What inspired you to launch a sleeping mask line? 

Quite true. You don’t see many distinct sleeping brands. I guess people tend to take sleep for granted much of the time. 

This kind of ties in with the origin story of Ööloom. The thing is, many people view sleeping as a passive act. You just close your eyes, and don’t worry about the rest of it. But the reality is that you actually go on breath-taking adventures inside your own mind. Just because you grow stronger and become rested doing it, doesn’t mean you’re doing nothing.

We think that the dream world and the human capacity for imagination should be celebrated and to that end a regular sleeping mask just won’t do. The Ööloom sleeping mask stands as an active reminder of the silliness that your brain can muster up.

Ööloom unicorn mask with packaging, 2016.  

Ööloom unicorn mask with packaging, 2016. 

Who is Ööloom?

Ööloom is a creature of the night. The friendly kind, of course. He is mysterious, but never frightening, like a hedgehog in the fog. He acts as a sort of an ambassador for the seemingly unreasonable dream-world – delivering fresh and unconventional ideas to our rational and, dare I say, dull reality. The word itself comes from the Estonian language. It loosely translates into “night owl”, a person who tends to stay up quite late. But we ourselves prefer the literal translation – “night beast”.

"The ÖÖLOOM sleeping mask stands as an active reminder of the silliness that your brain can muster up."

I love napping on couches and when I’m travelling. Where is your favourite place to nap?

Ahh yes — couches are fantastic. I’m a big fan. But I’d say it’s not about where you fall asleep that interests me the most. It’s what kind of a world you dream yourself into. I once napped into a parallel reality situated inside the imagination of a blueberry pie. It was a pretty sweet dream.

Variety of Ööloom sleeping masks, 2016. 

Variety of Ööloom sleeping masks, 2016. 

Your products are made in Estonia, using locally sourced materials. Conscious production is something we strongly care about. What is your take on it? Do you think more companies should produce ethically made products?

We at Ööloom spend a great deal of time in the subconscious or unconscious, depending on your understanding of how sleeping works. As a matter of principle, we aim to be very conscious about our actions while we are awake. 

A lot of the raw magical power of our products come from the way we make them. The sheep that provide the wool are hand-fed, the felt is hand-made from the wool and the masks are hand-sewn by a small army of lovely ladies. The love and care that is put in, reflects in the finished product.

"Many people view sleeping as a passive act. You just close your eyes, and don’t worry about the rest of it. But the reality is that you actually go on breath-taking adventures inside your own mind."

The importance of locally sourced materials for us is very much a part of the brand. It’s the cold Nordic environment that has made us, Estonians, so creative. The first Estonians that arrived here had to figure out how to build a fire on top of frozen water before they could go to bed. That’s not easy. This has made Estonians more appreciative of sleep and we believe that local materials carry that same appreciation within them.

There is definitely a trend towards more ethical ways of manufacturing. I think it has a lot to do with the ever-growing amount of information available. About the producers as well as to the consumers. It’s easier now to know where, how and by whom, the stuff is actually made. 

For us it’s a no-brainer. As a consistent brand that values happiness, we need to know that the journey of the wool from the belly of a sheep to the face of a human is a happy one as well.

Ööloom panda sleeping mask, 2016. 

Ööloom panda sleeping mask, 2016. 

You have a few endangered species featured in your line of night animals. Where did that idea stem from and will we see more in the future? 

Yes, that’s right. The “endangered species” is a category in the e-store (ooloomstore.com) for the animal sleeping masks that are no longer in active production. The reason is that we want to keep the main collection at 10 different animals, so that the already tired and sleepy person looking for a mask wouldn’t be overwhelmed by choices. We introduce new animals fairly slowly. Maybe one or two new faces a year, the most recent one being a black fox. The older ones fall out of the ‘current collection’ and remain in the ‘endangered species’ category – available only online. We just didn’t have the heart to cancel their production altogether because in our world no animal should go extinct. Imaginary or otherwise.

"It’s not about where you fall asleep that interests me the most. It’s what kind of a world you dream yourself into."

What does Ööloom dream about? 

Ööloom dreams about many things. The most common and reoccurring dream is one of total world domination. I’m not an expert in dream interpretation. But this probably reflects the ambition of the company and our own plans for total world domination – achieved not by force, but by the creative use of happiness, whimsy, and dangerously cute sleeping gear.

See more:

Ööloom sleeping masks exclusively featured in our Conscious Gift Guide.

https://ooloomstore.com

#ConsciousGiftGuide 2016: Fifteen Memorable Gift Ideas

A meaningful gift from a loved one leaves a fond memory... and we like creating memories that are painfully hard, if not impossible, to forget. It always brings more joy to give an unforgettable experience that puts a smile on the receiver’s face, and let it last for long. Yet sometimes the experience can take the shape of that perfect, pampering product, much appreciated for seasons to come. 

I assume the majority of us have a bit of a cybernaut approach to Xmas shopping — if a product we have imagined here and now as the perfect match in our imaginary wish-lists of friends and relatives doesn’t exist online, we can impatiently decide we don’t really want it at all. In this extremely packed and alarmingly stressful holiday schedule of ours, who (however dedicated to the gruesome hunt for a pile of *cough* exciting *cough* pressies) would bother to browse the shops on foot in the limited hours post office work, or on a precious weekend, mechanically zigzagging through aisles and sections and floors and piles and heaps of goodies… and we know access to the pleasant part of it — all these flavours and aromas and organic mulled schnapps and the spirit of actual *enter the C word*, does not come without unnecessary distractions — or better call it nuisances — clumsily fighting the crowds using two elbows at a time and a *slight* panic attack from the fantastic, yet nauseating merry atmosphere and piped-carol muzak on the 5th floor of a massive, labyrinthic shopping mall (do I even need to mention the excruciating pain from swollen feet?). All we want to do is moan, pardon moi, be done with the most difficult part, such as le gift hunting, and be saved by a comforting cup of festive tea and vegan biscuits in the comfort of our own home, the protective thick four walls. And then hide under four blankets, secretly hoping to wake up in 2017. 

Do not take this honest truth lightly — however early we endeavour to arrange and order the gifts, there are always those that need to be fixed at the very last moment.  Luckily, a range of ethical and conscious products are also available online, so you can skip the unnecessary shops browsing for 5 hours, non-stop. We have better things to do… like meditate and obsess-read our favourite Sunday columnists lying on our couch half passed out in a fetal position (however, we keep our eyes shut with ignorance, when it happens to bulk the same amount of time). 

To ease the stressful process of looking for that Right One — a perfect experience, a memory, a culinary oeuvre, a tangible thing, which would actually last and be remembered, not end up being a momentary joy, a quizzical, ostentatious oddity discarded a day later, I have put together a list of memorable favourites. The Right One should not be only momentary, but remembered and cherished by the receiver — if not forever then for seasons ahead — and have a fond place on their shelf or ornate mantelpiece, ideally found at the same place a year later. 

It’s difficult to cater for someone else's wish-list, but it’s comforting to know that your Fair-trade favourites all over the world are just a click away from making someone’s memory of the year. 

Ughh! The hard part — now let's be over and done with it. 

1. For those after impeccable results without much effort, Finnish brand Supermood’s Chaga mushroom infused One Minute Facelift power-drop from their Egoboost range has got you covered. I can’t get over this easy-to-use miracle product, which gives your cheeks and instant, on-the-go lift. 

https://www.supermood.fi/product/one-minute-facelift-30ml-2/

Supermood Egoboost: One Minute Facelift Serum. 

Supermood Egoboost: One Minute Facelift Serum. 

2. LUMI is another organic cosmetics brand we swear by. Last month, they launched a new Superbloom eye serum, which reduces swelling and gets rid of unwanted dark circles. In addition to the adorable packaging, it rejuvenates the sensitive skin around eye area and helps to fight even the toughest Nordic climate. 

http://luminordic.com/en/product/superbloom-eye-serum/

LUMI Superbloom Face and Eye Serum.

LUMI Superbloom Face and Eye Serum.

3. One thing I’ve learned — wearing the right basics can give great comfort for the entire day. This Sleek body by Woronstore comes in 3 most worn tones and offers just the right amount of support. In addition to the sustainably made comfort, it also enhances your cherished curves. I’ve realised I always want to keep the items closest to my body as natural as possible, and having that small luxury of sustainable fibres close to you can make a huge difference in feeling good. 

https://www.woronstore.com/products/sexy-slim-bodysuit-sleek-body-grey-melange?variant=27081713862

4. Swedish Stockings is another ethical Scandinavian brand specialising in sustainable pantyhose. Their Andrea Smoking stockings are not only 100% fairly made, but also a lot more appealing than any sister version of high street or supermarket pairs. SS's premium quality caters for the one who favours quality and always adorns herself in dresses and skirts. I am sure she doesn’t exactly want to go through a pair a day...  

https://www.swedishstockings.com/collections/all/products/andrea-smoking

Swedish Stockings, 2016. 

Swedish Stockings, 2016. 

5. Investing in good quality sleepwear can truly make a difference for those who love to lounge. Make your nights and blissful sleep last longer in this Noctu organic cotton nightie, without compromising neither the ethics nor the comfort.  Good news is Christmas is the time for sleepovers and hangouts at home, and a quality night gown lasts you throughout all the early nights of winter, helping you drift off in comfort. 

http://www.noctu.co.uk/shopall/swing-nightie-sage

Noctu Organic, 2016. 

Noctu Organic, 2016. 

6. For those, like myself, who travel frequently (to the extent it actually becomes frightening), a nice de-stressing pillow would be the best thing to wish for to cope with muscle aches and cramps. Weather for a long plane ride, or just a soothing night’s beauty sleep, this Origins lavender and citrus induced body wrap is a real anti-stress must-have!

http://www.origins.co.uk/product/15360/43378/bath-body/sensory/feel-good-hug-body-wrap/lavender-lemon-orange

7. This Moroccan Natural 24K Gold Leaf Serum pairs together 3 miraculous, highly effective ingredients — organic certified Argan Oil is packed with restorative omega fatty acids, which is designed to diminish fine lines whilst still deeply hydrating the skin. Prickly Pear Seed Oil improves the health of the skin by tightening pores whilst nourishing and softening. Rose Oil helps balance moisture levels and reduces the appearance of skin imperfections. The unique bottle releases gold leaves when shaken!

 https://moroccannatural.co.uk/collections/gold-collection/products/finest-24k-gold-serum-with-rose-oil

8. Scents are often associated with nostalgia, triggering fond memories, and I am sure this Byredo scent with a meaning is worth splurging on for that very special one… Byredo’s Rose of No Man’s Land, featuring notes of White Amber, Turkish Rose Petals and Raspberry Blossom, serves as a tribute to the nurses (often referred to by soldiers as “Rose of No-Man’s Land”) who saved thousands of lives on the front lines of WWI, their story is one of selflessness and compassion.

https://byredo.eu/rose-of-no-man-s-land-eau-de-parfum-50-ml

9. Nordic Honey from Estonia brings you organically certified honey from select apiaries, leaving out the ugly truth of chemically fertilized fields and dirty factories. As to the Christmas sets, their signature wooden lids are handcrafted by a small carpenters workshop in South of Estonia and highly durable glass jars are from an Italian glass factory. All Nordic Honey products possess integrity and are delivered to you with great care.

http://www.nordichoney.com/products/gift-box-no-2

10. Votch’s stylish cruelty-free watches from London, adorned with vegan leather straps, guarantee no animal skins were used for the making of their elegant timepieces. The timeless classics come in a variety of tones to align with your loved one’s individual personality…  

https://www.votch.co.uk/collections/the-watches/products/the-pink-and-gold

11. My absolute winter wardrobe favourites are turtlenecks... a nice basic polo neck keeps you warm and goes with literally everything, and nothing can be better than one made responsibly, caressing your silhouette in a silky smooth way. A well-made turtleneck leaves an effortless impression, yet can complement even a more affluent party ensemble. Good things, like this Peopletree's turtleneck top, come in shades of burgundy.  

http://www.peopletree.co.uk/women/organic-cotton-handwovens/may-turtleneck-top-in-plum

12. For those, who often need to deal with anxiety and find it difficult to calm down after an eventful day, this Supermood pillow mist must be the most effective natural herbal solution putting you at ease.

https://www.supermood.fi/product/sweet-pillow-scent-50ml/

13. These fun Ööloom sleeping masks are just so cute and the most precious accessory to all the night owls like me, who are extremely sensitive to luminescent distractions and keep waking up as soon as bright daylight makes an appearance. It is quite a challenge to decide, which animal to go for, and for the fun part, each of them includes a description of the animal's sleeping habits. Should I go for the unicorn or panda… 

https://ooloomstore.com/store/unicorn/

14. I have started caring about my haircare routine more than ever, and getting more accustomed to organic and Fair-trade cosmetics day by day, I even want my hair products to be entirely cruelty-free. For the holidays, Antonin B. offers a solution supporting the good cause — the eco-chic gift set contains the best-selling Ceramides Enriched Desert Hair Serum,  PeTA approved Axiology Lipstick and a Fair-trade Grand Cru chocolate surprise for all the sweet tooths. 

www.antoninb.com/en/organic-vegan-beauty-christmas-gift-set

Antonin. B. Cruelty-Free Christmas Set. 

Antonin. B. Cruelty-Free Christmas Set. 

15. MAST Brothers chocolates in trendy, nostalgic packaging, each carrying a theme of our favourite cities and featuring unique pairings, leave a symbolic, sensory memory. Hint:  we particularly adore their London-themed ‘vanilla & smoke’ indulgence — 

https://mastbrothers.co.uk/collections/all