I've know I've said it before, but I love Chit Chat Fridays! The lovely people I interview are so amazing and really inspiring. Each one of us is trying to make our mark on the world and I love to learn how everyone is making their mark. Today I am talking to Isra owner of LatteMama. I met Isra a few years back at one of her popup events as she was so kind to invite me along. She has been a true believer in GIRLSTALKTOBOYS from the very beginning. She understands hardwork and dedication and is a true believer in supporting people just starting out. LatteMama stands for independence and this is what you will find in her great selection. When browsing her shop, you will find loads of lovely things you know your little ones will love! Read on to find out more about LatteMama!
1. TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF. WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND?
I grew up in Sweden but am 100% Iraqi. I moved to London when I was 18 to study languages at UCL. After only two years in this lovely city, I found myself being a single mum and had to take a break from Uni. I got too restless too fast and used my background in the family business, and passion for writing and creativity to set up LatteMama in 2011.
2. WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START LATTE MAMA?
I got really homesick when I had my son. There was a sudden need for comfort and familiarity, and although I had noticed differences between London and my life in small town Sweden before – I hadn’t expected how different being a mum in London would be. Suddenly it became hard to find good shoes, and jackets and good quality clothes and I realized there wasn’t a scarcity in clothes, but I rather missed what Swedish clothes meant. It involved comfort, unique style and going back to the basics. By bringing Swedish design to the UK and online, I was hoping to continue the LatteMama lifestyle, and it’s worked. I had such a great childhood in Sweden and if I can’t give my son that childhood, I’m at least going to infuse it with some Swedish loveliness.
3. WHAT IS LATTE MAMA’S MOTTO? WHAT DO YOU WANT YOUR CUSTOMERS TO KNOW ABOUT YOU?
LatteMama is all about not letting your mama cramp your style. Essentially I believe so much in the imagination and creativity of children and it truly inspires me. Even though the children perhaps can’t dress themselves quite yet, I’d like to think that the pieces on the site are all inspired by children and their playing rather than an idea of how we think children should behave. It was always the idea to be more than a clothes store, which is why I enjoy blogging about motherhood, meeting other mums and discovering new brands.
4. WHO ARE YOUR FAVOURITE KIDSWEAR DESIGNERS AT THE MOMENT?
I love all brands that we stock, but a real favorite is Modeerska Huset. It’s the closest thing to perfection I’ve seen in a long time. It’s great quality, is incredibly soft and Jenny – the designer understands children and what they like to wear and what they can’t stand when it comes to comfort. I’m so happy I found Modeerska Huset and it’s a brand I strongly believe in. Jenny does all the print design herself, and that’s the kind of creativity I look for and value.
5. ANY NEW DESIGNERS YOU ARE EXCITED ABOUT?
PiuPia and Filemon Kids are both relatively new and amazing brands which I’m hoping to work with next year. They’ve got that perfect outside the box creativity, but with great comfort and style. Kids can look so cool just playing around and I think that’s sometimes missed in children’s design where we insist on dressing children up only for special occasions when they in fact can have great clothes on all the time.
6. HOW DO YOU APPROACH EACH BUYING SEASON? DO YOU ALREADY HAVE AN IDEA WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR? OR DO YOU LIKE TO DISCOVER NEW BRANDS EACH SEASON?
I’m very careful with making sure that the brands I stock represent LatteMama. It’s not always about what looks good, and what’s cool and stylish but there needs to be a message from the brand and designers that I agree with. I’ve experimented before and have stocked brands which I realize afterwards doesn’t represent me or LatteMama and have had to let it go. I love finding new brands, and am proud of how far some brands like Slugs and Snails and Mina Shoes have come after being stock at LatteMama.
I don’t always go with new brands each season, it’s only if a brand really moves me that I like to invite it to my LatteMama family of brands.
7. DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE WORKING? IF SO, WHO’S ON YOUR IPAD RIGHT NOW?
I always listen to music when I work. I’ve got no loyalty when it comes to music, and my list is always a terrible mix of Kanye, some old school Michael Jackson and cheesy Abba. Right now Cups from the Pitch Perfect soundtrack is playing…no shame.
8. IF YOU COULD COLLABORATE WITH ANYONE IN THE WORLD, WHO WOULD THIS BE? WHY?
I think I’ve been very fortunate with the brands and bloggers I’ve worked with. Although, I dream big when it comes to LatteMama and its success I’m terrible at name dropping. For fun’s sake I’d love to do a kid’s fashion line with Kim and Kanye. It would be ridiculous, fun and the perfect combination of stylish hip hop and extravagant elegance. As long as I only work with them once I should be fine.
9. WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE SOMEONE HAS GIVEN YOU?
I think it’s to believe in myself which I really needed to hear at the time, and to trust my instinct. In dire situations I often turn to people not for advice but to make decisions for me. Which they obviously can’t, and that’s when I need to believe in myself and do what I think is right.
10. WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU GIVE TO US?
Start small. With everything. It’s something that I’ve been very careful with and it’s the best advice I can give. Just because you want everything doesn’t mean you have to be ready to lose everything. That everything can be reached even if you start by sacrificing a little. If you want to take over the world, start by taking over a village.
11. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE PLACE IN LONDON?
I’m a sucker for Southbank in the evening. It’s my go to place when I need inspiration and to realize how far I’ve gotten in life. Nothing makes it quite as clear as feeling like you’re in the heart of London.
12.WHAT IS ON YOUR CHRISTMAS LIST THIS YEAR?
This Christmas I’m hoping someone will buy me a nice, round and oversized cup for all my excessive green tea consumption. It’d save me putting on the kettle so many times in one hour, I normally drink 11 cups a day when I’m working but if I could half that I’d be one lucky girl.
Here are some of my favourite outfits from LatteMama!
Girls: Mini Rodini Biker Jacket, Mini Rodini Heart Jumper, Indikidual Poppy Denim Dress, Mina Wobbler Boots
Boys: Mini Rodini Panda Parka, Modeerska Huset Baltie Sweater, Indikidual The Dude Trousers, Mina Bassy Boots
Baby Boy: Indikidual Boris Hat, Indikidual Shemster Hoodie, Mini Rodini Ski Tee, Modeerska Huset Leggings
Baby Girl: Mini Rodini Banana Jacket, Modeerska Huset Tee, Mini Rodini Leopard Trousers, Mina Ballerinas