Interview Mai-Li Hammargren / Founder of Mutewatch
Can you give us a short introduction about yourself?
My name is Mai-Li and I’m 26 years old. I’m Swedish but my name is Chinese as my dad is very much into Asian culture. I grew up in a university city called Uppsala but now I live in Stockholm. I studied in German before I started at Stockholm School of Economics. I took a master in International Management with parts of the education at St. Gallen in Switzerland and London School of Economics. I love that you come across so many inspiring people through your studies.
My dad is half Buddhist half Hindu and my mother works in the Swedish church. I’m not religious but believe in Karma in doing good. I want to create change. I have a spiritual upbringing, an education that was mostly about hard facts and many friends in the creative sector. I seldom judge people but try to understand. People with different backgrounds and perspectives are often the key to create great things.
Since I work very much I don’t have the time for many hobbies but I have many things that I feel passionate about. I love running and used to compete in athletics. I kick-start the day with a 5 min run every morning as I still want it to be a part of me.
I love wakeboard, ballet, art, design and to travel. I’m interested in health and sustainability. I am very much into raw food and nutrition density.
Since a big part of my job is communication I have to be careful with stimuli and often cut down on things as music, news and films – I admire many of my friends who are very up to date with popular culture and love when people introduce me to good things.
My biggest passion in life is to meet people and learn about how they think and what their passion is. I love trying to help people to reach their goals.
What is your personal requirement on design?
I am a big fan of minimalism, good material and stories behind the design. Function and good design should be a union.
What was the idea to invent a watch like mutewatch?
The idea arose when my freelancing film photographer boyfriend went crazy by my snooze alarm. The solution to this every-day problem was a vibrating wristband. Co-founder and engineer Oscar, the design team Norranorr and I decided to focus on creating an iconic design and not a “fluffy alarm clock”. Design opens up doors and makes it easier to communicate a new product.
In times of haste and hurry what are the benefits of mutewatch?
We added a clock and a timer to the product and sometimes call it a time management tool as it can be used to cut distractions. One favorite strategy among our users is Pomodoro technique where you divide every hour into sections: 25 minutes work and 5 minutes break to increate productivity without stress. The silent timer is very useful for this. The mission behind the product is to make people more mindful. My dad used to tell me “You can learn from the past and plan for the future but remember that it’s only this very second that you can be truly happy”. In a society with information overload it feels important to start looking at how we can use our time in a more sustainable way.
For which people did you create this piece of design?
We created the product as we wanted to see it on the market. I guess it is for people that are into function and design. Creative people often it for time boxing, speakers use it to know when to end the session and DJs likes the fact that it’s easy to see the time in the dark. We sometimes call it a product a watch for the iPhone generation. So many things distracts you today we choose to tilt the screen so that it reminds you that you own your time.
With which designer can you imagine to create a "unique" mutewatch?
We have created a special edition with a up-and coming Swedish artist called Jesper Nyrén. Jesper is very talented and it’s a great honor working with him.
Are there any other ideas and collaboration projects to appear from your studio?
We have big plans and many things on our whish list. We launch our news just like Apple, without communicating anything upfront in order to leave space for the creative process and quality. You can follow us on social media for future updates!