2_3_ScanMagazine_Issue_81_Oct-Nov_2015_Scan Magazine 1 15/10/2015 21:37 Page 129
Scan Magazine | Feature | Scandinavian Everyday Heroes
Al Kassi has lived in Streatham for five years and loves the area. “I feel at home here,” she says. “There’s an incredible sense of connectedness and affinity, and on top of that there are plenty of families here who just don’t have enough childfriendly places to go to, so I was adamant that I wanted the shop to be here.” Moving away from the sales-focused model of the web shop, the Swede wanted the new place to become an all-in-one platform where families could socialise and get support. There is now a café, a playroom, a small boutique space, a library, a creativity room and a garden, and the name plays on a combination of nostalgia and fun. “I wanted to hold onto some part of the name of the web shop, and the word ‘lattjo’, meaning fun and quirky in Swedish, suited the idea of the place being child-friendly bordering on childish. I also vividly remember the TV programme Lattjo Lajban from my childhood, so the word carries that nostalgia for me.” Add the element of offering startups a pop-up space, and the brand name is complete. The Swedish branding was far from an afterthought. Al Kassi missed Swedish influences on her son’s upbringing and felt that London sometimes lacks the social support and warm, family-friendly environments she had experienced back home. A Swedish playgroup now takes place at LattjoPOP every Wednesday, and Swedish classes will kick off very soon. Moreover, LattjoPOP is a one-woman project, so it naturally gets the founder’s own Swedish touch. There has been compromise, however. “When we first launched the menu it was difficult to convince people about the food. We quickly
“As a parent you sometimes just need to get out, but it can be difficult and stressful when you’ve got your kids in tow. Therefore it’s great that there are places like LattjoPOP, where there’s coffee for tired parents and toys for the children.” Sofia, Swedish mother of two, south London
LattjoPOP is a safe environment for children to play and grow.
had to change how we made sandwiches; people just don’t know how to eat open sandwiches here!” she laughs. “Slowly but surely we introduced some Swedish dishes and cakes, but we now have both shortbread and cinnamon buns. It’s enjoyable to watch people’s reactions to jam and cheese sandwiches…” Fans of LattjoPOP have been generous with their support, donating books and toys and helping to paint the place. But the funding opportunities are few and far between. The venture is quite niche, and it is notoriously difficult to get funding for a social enterprise. “We’ve got rent to pay, a retail space, café and playroom to maintain and free activities to run. I’ve been to courses and worked hard to spread the word about LattjoPOP, but there are so many projects out there competing for at-
tention,” says Al Kassi, admitting that it has been a tough year and that she sometimes daydreams of taking on a traditional, well-paid job. “Whenever I am tempted to move on to something else I think of the mothers who come in and just want to chat or need someone to hold their baby while they drink a coffee, or those who have just started a business but don’t know how to create a Facebook event to launch their pop-up with us. I’m here to help them,” she says.
LattjoPOP 544 Streatham High Road London SW16 3QF Open: Tue-Sat, 10am-5pm Have a few quid to spare or some time on your hands? Help the LattjoPOP community hub grow stronger. Visit www.lattjopop.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Which Scandinavian everyday hero do you think we should talk to? Tell us on facebook.com/scanmagazine or @scanmagazine!
Issue 81 | October 2015 | 129
Promoting Brand Scandinavia. Featuring interview with Swedish singer Ane Brun.