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

Wishlist:
> 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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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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Skannaus 30

deer-01

 

Made in Kallio

Continuing on the theme of creative working spaces in Helsinki, here is a short intro to Made in Kallio. It is a cafe, shop and creative workspace in the district of Kallio. Made in Kallio is a network and initiative of local artists and creative people. They co-organise events, offer studio and workshop space in addition to selling works of local designers and talents, over a cup of coffee of course.

Like Made in Kallio on Facebook.
Find out more about Made in Kallio on their website.

Kallio is a bohemian district in central Helsinki. It’s known for both its artsy people and ‘spuges’. The latter is a Helsinki slang word for drunken semi-homeless people. Expect low(er) rents, art studios, smell of pee, thai ‘massage’ shops, cute cafes and lots of people pretty much 24-7. Well, I live there. And Kallio is probably one of the most creative and bohemian districts in Helsinki. So not all bad. And you get the real city life comforts here: supermarket open 24h, late night meals, walking distance  / night bus / metro from everywhere etc.

Here is how Kallio is described by Kallioliike, an initiative to increase sense of community in Kallio:

Kallio is the throbbing urban heart of Helsinki, a romanticized old working-class district not only known for its population of students, bohemians and beer-fond denizens, but also increasingly identified as an abode of families with young children at home and of middle-class IT workers. There’s room for everyone in Kallio!

Find out more and join Kallioliike on their website.

And finally some pics from Made in Kallio, with my old Nikon D60.