After arriving back to the UK from Morocco I made a big decision. It was not something I had taken lightly, and was something I had been giving thought to whilst being away.
Before this decision was made, I started what was to become the start of a new journey with 3 to be new friends. Their names are Sandra, Oli and Caroline. I began working at a new shop in Putney called BlaBar. An extremely exciting time for Sandra and Oli as this store is their first one. They had been making online sales with products being shipped over from Scandinavia for some time and the time had come to take the plunge and go even bigger with the store. An what an epic decision that was.
This shop is everything Nordic. Sandra, originally from Sweden and Oli, born and bred local to South West are both super talented and creative individuals. Sandra, with a flare for product and design, with a background of marketing and sales. Her partner, Oli, an incredible art designer have managed to collaborate magnificently with the making of BlaBar. Blabar, (pronounced Blaw-bair) is everything Scandinavian. A little tiny piece of Sweden in the heart of Putney. The idea is a well known concept in Sweden. A showcase of all products through the store for sale, everything from umbrellas to furniture to beauty products all perfectly arranged throughout the store. With a keen eye for everything Scandinavian, Sandra brings in the products and works with small designers in that part of the world. Blabar gives these designers a chance to showcase their work in London as the majority of the products showcased in the store are unique to Scandinavia. Oli is the one who has designed the whole shop. He is constantly changing things around to keep a fresh and new feel inside the store. Blabar is then also a cafe. Serving delicious coffee, typical Swedish treats and delicious healthy lunches, it is the most idyllic setting to sit down, relax and chill. The space they have created is truly beautiful. Caroline is the store manager, a friend of Sandra and Oli. Also originally from Sweden, She brings the Bar to the Bla. I can honestly say that working with Caroline, Sandra and Oli has been so much fun. I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to meet them and work along side them.
Sandra and Oli have made this space into a little community hub. As well as being a cafe and store, we have also used this space for creative events. With the help from Marja- who rocks at everything event management wise, various creative events have been organised in the store. Sandra has collaborated with a local woman named Stella who is an amazing chef. Stella has use the space to hold various dinner parties which has been a great success. Sandra, Caroline and Marja have organised Midsummer party events based on a ticket purchase, also – a huge success. We have also had music nights in the store with local artists setting up and playing small intimate gigs. Elina, who has also been part of the team since the start is a super talented singer/songwriter. She has also been a huge part of getting the music events up and running. We use to have this the first Wednesday of every month. Tickets sold out super quick. It was great, we all enjoyed being able to provide something like this in Putney, hopefully something to continue with further down the line.
Blabar has become well known for its cinnamon buns and delicious coffee. It’s built up quite a reputation. The coffee is roasted by Johan and Nystrom, organic and fair trade. A Swedish roasters. You CANNOT go into the store without ordering a bun and coffee…it would be almost criminal. Blabar goes out it’s way to ensure that everything is as ethically produced as possible. Organic and fair trade as possible, with a big conscious factor for the environment and the rest of the world.
Over the year, there have been team members that I have seen come and go. One of these players is a guy called Vincenzo. Originally from Canada, Vince is a top chef and specializes in vegan food. He use to come into the store on a nearly every day basis at one point. He had recently moved to Putney and use to come in with little tasters of delicious sweet and savory treats he had made. He came in and constantly was asking for Sandra, knowing that he saw an opportunity to collaborate with Blabar. After much persistence, it finally payed off. Vince started being our in house chef, bringing his creativity to the kitchen and came up with a new menu with a Scandi twist. It was a huge hit. He just goes to show that persistence pays off, if you want something badly- you GO FOR IT. Vince has since moved with his partner and opened up his own cafe outside of London- which I am still yet to visit.. I can’t wait.
It is inevitable, since the fact that I have been with these guys since the start, I will always be a little bit biased towards the fact that Blabar has got to be the best shop in Putney. After just over a year with the team, I think I will always consider myself to be a blueberry (Blabar- is blueberry in Swedish. If you are a newbie to something, this is what you are considered as, hence the name Blabar). It has been so much fun, there was never a day that I dreaded going into work. Which is a blessing. On top of that, I have also made some awesome friends, fellow berries. I have had such a blast working with the team and I’m sure despite the fact that some of us have since moved on, we will still get together and continue the blueberry legacy !
Blabar is constantly evolving and growing. If you ever find yourself in London, make sure to get over to South West London and find this hidden little gem. You will not regret it. I can promise that you will be greeted with nothing but BIG Smiles and love. Sandra and Caroline will go of of their way to make you feel comfortable and will ALWAYS go that extra 100 miles to make sure that your needs are met.