My name is Martin and I’m the creative part and the hands of Kajo Design.
I was born 1986 in Schwerin (East-Germany), but I grew up in a small village 5 km away from Berlin.
After graduating from school I studied to become a forest worker as well as forest machine operator. Later I took it a step further and studied forestry in a university.
For me it has always been important to experience new things, not to stay still and find my place in life. My work history is reflecting that: hospital, private and public forest sector, 12 hour shifts on forest machines, German Parliament.
First I was driven by making money and building a nice career. But with the time I had to realize that this is not a way that will bring happiness to my life.
It was the time when I was about to graduate from university, when I met my Finnish girlfriend. Having no clue what comes after university we decided, to try our luck together in Finland. So I moved there in November 2013.
Being spoiled of always finding work easily in Germany, that has been a huge cut for me. I didn’t realize early enough that Finland was going through a huge economic crisis and in addition to that I couldn’t speak/understand a word in Finnish. These are bad conditions for finding work.
For some time I started doubting myself. But with better knowledge of the language and slowly arriving in the new country I also noticed that a huge chance was offered to me. And I also realized what kind of “fast” life I had in Germany, how driven I was on building my career and how much I forgot myself. Knowing and accepting that I probably won’t find work in forestry I used the possibility to find out what I’m really passionate about.
Trying different things I ended up with woodworking, which always has been a part of my professional education and always has been fun for me. I started at the terrace of our cottage where we spend my first winter in Finland.
It was also the place where the idea for Kajo Design lamps was born. While making firewood on a sunny, but cold winter day I realized how a light can shine through thin wooden slices and create this beautiful warm light that makes our lamps so unique.
After that experience it still took me two years and many ups and downs to come to the point where I’m at the moment. Founding your own business in a foreign country is not the easiest step to take but I never regret it.
It makes me happy to see how happy it makes me to do what I’m doing. It is nice that I can create and produce something that I absolutely love and that is more than just a lamp. It is always such an awarding feeling after many hours of work, when I can switch on the light of a new lamp and see what shades it creates this time.