From Mannequino to Messiah

From Mannequino to Messiah

Kelly Sant and Arash Kaynama have sold thousands of their flat-packed mannequins to conscientious
fashion designers and high-street brands globally.
Manufactured from a non-toxic chemical industry by-product, they have created a truly recyclable
and flexible alternative to the traditional Glass Fibre mannequins (80% of mannequins produced
globally are still being made using toxic, non recyclable materials).
But as Mannequino’s success has grown, so have the founders realised further ingenious methods to
create deeper levels of circularity, starting with their manufacturing waste as part of the wider supply

“We started to think about how to link up with other businesses in the community, to see what
interesting waste and bi-product we have locally. We wanted to explore what could be made from
our collective raw material waste that’s normally land filled or shipped out of the country for
example, and by doing so create our own open loop network. We talk about this when we’re talking
to the MBA Execs for Professor Khaled Soufani,Director, Circular Economy Centre (CEC) at Judge
Business School, Cambridge. There’s much excitement about the expansion of this idea!
“We felt if we could use our innovative skills to turn waste into high value products we manufacture
here for our local community, we could rethink how we do everything in the future.”says Kelly.
Addressing food scarcity and the demand for fresh non-meat produce locally seemed an appropriate
place to begin.
“It’s all about imagining what waste raw materials do we have as a region? Once we know what we
have, we can wrap our principles of circular design, innovative manufacturing, regenerative values
and business skills into action. The work we’re doing here with Messiah is just the beginning”
explains Arash.

In their factory based at ARCC Innovations in Great Abington, large bags of shredded cardboard are
stacked alongside labels of ‘Messiah Mushrooms’, the creative duo’s latest product line.

Taking cardboard manufacturing waste from ARCC and the wider community, it is mixed with
hardwood and straw waste, waste coffee grounds from Cambridge cafes, and using restructured
water, and Oyster mushroom spawn.
The mycelium blocks are also nurtured with special sound frequencies, such as 528Hz, to help form
the perfect living conditions for oyster mushrooms to inoculate and grow.
Fungi are fantastic. They can break down the most undigestible synthetic and organic polymers, like
lignin, and the leftovers after fruiting can be turned into uniquely excellent compost, which is being
supplied to local food growers and community allotments in Cambridgeshire. “Right now, we’ve
increased biodiversity in our own garden after introducing blocks to the space and compost.
After just a year, we have observed an increase in all sorts of life, everything from birds feeding, to
bees to bugs to name three visibly identifiable groups, no doubt there is much more to see under a
microscope!’ says Kelly.
The duo developed their special cultivation modules for growing Messiah mushrooms over time,
concentrating on high yields, minimal raw materials, low maintenance, low energy consumption,
minimal labour and premium flavour. They say having engineering, design and manufacturing
expertise has been quintessential in redefining what they now refer to as ‘Factory Farm Forest’.
Messiah Mushrooms, now a trademarked entity, is in fact of such high taste and quality that they
have caught the taste buds of Cambridgeshire’s finest restaurants and Michelin star chefs, whose
eyes are on constantly on the finest freshest local produce.

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