Moko Sörnäinen – deco & cafe review

For over 20 years Moko has brought exotic and exciting lifestyle and decoration items to us in the cold country. I grew up with it. I remember being enchanted with the beautiful smells and colours of candles, snacks and decor items from distant places. Excitement would surround me in this gateway to colours, smells, experiences and exotic lifestyle. Quite something I had never experienced. Even as a youngster, I wanted to buy at least something small to take away with me from this different world.

Moko was spreading across Finland around a decade ago. They even had a small franchise in my itsy bitsy home town. Not quite sure what happened, but coming back to Finland a couple of years back, Moko had scaled down and moved its (only) flagship store in the outskirts of the centre. I was super excited that they opened another Moko in Sörnäinen, just a few blocks from my home. So in this post, I’m sharing with you my experience visiting the Sörnäinen branch last week.

First of all, I was excited to see my favourite letterpress items from ‘Rifle Paper’ and the go-to lifestyle magazine Kinfolk appear on the Moko counters. Also, the space, an old hat factory, was superb with its vast and airy space. The cafe side had room to accommodate at least 50 people I’d say. Apparently it was the intention to make this branch more cafe and less shop, with the other one in Southwest centre the other way around. I’m not sure if this was done in order to capitalise on the surrounding lunch-hungry white collar worker masses stuffed in the blocks around the shop, or an actual move to make a culinary exploration. Tea selection was good but the salad, baguette, danish/cookie selection was disappointingly basic Finnish no-effort. Maybe I was there the wrong time. The photos from their weekend brunches look yummy. I guess, I was expecting something exotic, daring and new from Moko’s cafe side.

The Moko space looked perfect for lounging, meeting up with a creative group of friends for a brainstorming break, knitting class or some sort of potluck, book club or poetry society stroll. The space made me want to stay there for hours and soak in the creative, calm and cozy atmosphere. Which leads to my second problem with the whole thing. It closes at 5pm. That is insane! My favourite cafe, Le Pain de Quotiden, in London was open 7am-10pm. OK, that’s maybe not doable for Helsinki, but at 5pm people get off work and go get a coffee with friends. Even want to have a bite and might buy some things. This place should be open until 8pm. There should be events/get-togethers happening there. With the cultural peeps relocating to Suvilahti factory halls, this new Moko location can prove to be a hit. But it makes me wonder, why they go for outskirt central areas. Even a smaller joint in Kamppi or Kluuvi would be lovely and attract people’s attention. Perhaps they want to be less commercial or avoid competing with Indiska. At least Moko has a web store, so the rest of Finland can still buy their Moko favourites online. Another big plus for Moko branding is their presence in social media. They are pretty active in Facebook, write (somewhat occasional) blog posts and have an inspiring collection of Pinterest boards.

So my to summarise my experience at Moko and add my wish list:

I love:
+ great space
+ the new stationery from Rifle Paper
+ thanks for bringing us lifestyle, cooking and crafts books otherwise difficult to find in Finland
+ yummy foodster packages
+ exotic furniture and fabric products we have loved for over 20 years
+ great shop styling
+ bookable ‘conference hut’
+ great social media and extensive fan base

I’m not sure about:
– the quality and selection of foods in the cafe
– opening times
– overall location strategy is a mystery (while I enjoy this particular location)
– a little bit too much of pastel princess items which are not in line with Moko’s best style
– lots of people working there, I saw 6 staff members 3-5pm

> some exciting new Moko recipes for the cafe.
> extended opening hours
> would be wonderful if Moko would (co)organise artsy events in their spacious cafe.
> would be great to hear the Moko story, read about the travels behind the shop items, recipes of Moko-specialites. Who are the two sisters behind Moko and what is their vision.
> more authentic and unique Moko finds.

All in all, I DID enjoy the new Sörnäinen Moko. And lucky me, I get off at 2pm everyday, so there’s a chance I’ll be hanging out there.

Moko on ollut suosikkikauppani jo pidemmälle toista vuosikymmentä. Ihania eksoottisia, tuoksuja ja värejä täynnä olevia löytöjä voi nyt tehdä myös ihan kotikulmillani Sörnäisissä. Paikalla on myös iso kahvila, jossa voisi viettää enemmänkin aikaa. Harmi vaan, että ovet sulkeutuvat jo klo17 arkisin. Mokon vankka sisustusosaaminen on nyt saanut joukkoonsa myös paperitavaraa ja ihania kirjoja. 

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Vintage finds

I have recently made some amazing finds in flea markets, the streets (!) and antique stores. There is a second hand heaven in my home town Lahti, it’s called Lanttila, where you can find fabrics, tea sets, cutlery, mason jars etc with just a few euros. My new favourite for a selection of well curated vintage finds is Olohuone in Kallio. They have a cute cafe and occasionally organise creative workshops. Below some items I got for myself.

  • Lanttila flea market / second hand self service market in Lahti: website and directions.
  • Olohuone second hand & lifestyle shop and cafe in Kallio, Helsinki: website and blog.

Walking home from my design course, I ran into a pile of old furniture on the street. The construction men were bringing them out of an apartment building. So I decided to ask if I could take this cute old red chair. And there I was: carrying a chair around Kallio today. Such a shame that they were not taking the furniture to a flea market – there could have found a new home. The red chair feels like it has been mine for ever now. It just found its place with me.

The stuff on the chair: USSR rose and gold lined tea set 2,50 euros (Lanttila), wooden and steel spoons 2 euros (Lanttila)m silver(ish) candle holders 2 euros (Lanttila) and the tin box plus glass jar both from Olohuone at 14 euros. The old metal box with a cross on top are from Ankara, Turkey. The cross was a gift from the antique shop owner when I bought the old metal box. The shells are from Prince’s Island in Istanbul, Turkey.

Finds flea market finds flea market finds flea market finds

And here are some iPhone pics (sorry!) from Olohuone cafe and shop. They share my passion for jars and tin boxes. Must sign up for their creative evening workshops. The shop opened just a few months ago, and is run by two ladies: an aunt and her niece. They are from Kuopio and bring most of their second hand items from Kuopio’s best hidden gems.

Olohuone Olohuone Olohuone Olohuone

These wall baskets (?) were just begging for me to take them home from Lanttila. A few euros each, I have them hanging on my empty kitchen wall. Not sure what to put in. Maybe flowers?

wall baskets

These vintage 3D Viewer Reels were showcased in Private Case stationery shop in central Helsinki. I’d love to find some for sale and perhaps make my own 3D images. I used to love these when I was a kid.

Check out Private case shop in Pieni Roobertinkatu, Helsinki.

3D specs 3D specs

This is a red poncho I found for 5 euros in Lanttila. I think it has just the retro feeling for this winter. I wear it with jeans. The porcelain beads are vintage from Beijing.

Indian winter

Below my new favourite winter coat. It is made by a Finnish company called Master Coat that no longer exists. But they were known for their quality coats. This wool coat has such beautiful natural texture. And it only cost 15 euros in Lanttila. It’s second hand but never used.

Master coat

One halloween party many years ago

I’m excited about Halloween this year. Sadly, I’ll be working the weekend, but the holiday brings some fun memories to mind. Quite a few years back I was living in London. We had this crazy big house with front and back gardens in North London. We were five university students sharing its 6 rooms. Our landlord was an old Jewish man who went by the name Mr K. He was a darling, but not so good with the home improvement stuff. At least he paid a Polish guy to do our gardening. Or more like, mow our flowers. Anyway, I’m getting sidelined now. I meant to share with you a memory from those years: a cool Halloween party we organised with my housemates.

All photos by my amazing photographer friend Lan Xu. Concept and styling by Anni Leppanen (me).




It’s not Spring or even summer, but I felt inspired by these blossoms and the colours of the image. Pretty much following on similar colour scheme as yesterday.The original photo is actually  from an IKEA advert. I found it on Lili Halo Decoration blog. I drew a few versions with different background colours and also tuned down the clutter. I feel like diving into those pastel shades of pink and brown.

While you breathe these blossomy colours in, listen to Yann Tiersen ‘Toujours Là’.


flower_room3-01 flower_room4-01

IKEA inspiration

Decor inspiration

I was really inspired by this cosy coloured living room in Deco magazine’s Habitare edition (9/2013). The furniture are all sold by Vepsäläinen. The colour scheme really caught my eye and most of my work today used its colours. Here are my illustrated and scanned versions of the set-up, and also a deer illustration. Hope they inspire you to create a new Autumn decoration for your home. I’m definitely dreaming about powder pink, copper, greys and round clean shapes.


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