As the daughter of an Estonian refugee I came to deeply understand my own family’s story and heritage as I grew older, which left an indelible mark on who I am as a person and how I view our world. I am especially humbled by the history and richness of the “stories” of other cultures and it’s people reflected in their important art and traditions. Through my family’s story of a beautiful life in Estonia before WWII and subsequent occupation for 51 years, I have become acutely aware that these stories, traditions and art need to be preserved, honored and respected. So, I have become a collector of the past, an admirer of the future, and a guest of our multi-cultural world.
Living in the Bay Area for over 35 years I have been a student of its diverse cultural heritage, especially being drawn to Mexican folk art, Indian Truck art, Asian block prints, Graffiti, and mediums such as paper mache, tin works, fabric art, ceramics and screenprinting. Mix in my magical upbringing filled Estonian lore, crafts and customs, my wild-child nature and love of children; I live to create an imaginative, whimsical atmosphere - even if it means hanging books, teacups and paper parasols from the ceiling, sewing tiny clothes for animals and making fairy houses in the garden. I hope you have fun viewing the items I have personally tracked down and am honored to retail at Hella Kitsch.
Hella Kitsch was born from Mai-Liis’s passion of collecting unusual vintage and modern kitsch from around the world; kitsch in the sense that they are extraordinary items that have a remarkable personality, artistry and nostalgic appeal. Items that we still hunt down online today or will be remembering and wanting in the future. From a magical Dancing Ballerina from the 1950’s that doesn’t use batteries, to a ceramic fish jug that guggles as it pours, you and your family will feel a small pleasure from your purchase, that is our mission. We source our items from small independent businesses and artists to hundred-year-old manufacturers that still make the same products today and are committed to fair trade and ethically made goods. Located in the Bay Area of Northern California - a mecca of beauty, diversity, artistry, and history we hope you feel the vibe from the “The Bay” that has inspired us.
Our mission at Hella Kitsch is to provide small pleasures; extraordinary small-batch sustainable goods from around the world with a story or cleverness that makes it unique and and fun for you and your family to enjoy for years to come.