Today it's my turn to play interviewer! And after all the questions, I've selected my favourite four items from their lovely online shop.
1 Please introduce yourself, who you are, where you are from, what your shop is?
I’m Cassey and I’m the Director of Mora Approved, an online shop based in the UK that sells beautiful and unique accessories, home wares and kitchenware from (currently) twelve European countries. We focus on vintage pieces as well as pieces that you would have difficulty finding unless you were in the country yourself! We also look for designers and producers who take an ethically sustainable stance in their production process.
I originally hail from Sydney, Australia. I moved to the UK one year ago after deciding a change of scenery was just what I needed after several years in advertising. People always ask me why I’ve moved from a sunny paradise to the glum shores of the UK, but what my British friends don’t realise is how lucky they are to have so many diverse and beautiful cultures right on their doorstep. I’m willing to forgo a little sun for the opportunity to soak up as much of Europe as I can! That said, I’m the first to get my kit off on the beach as soon as we get our rare three days of sun in Summer!
2 Why the name Mora Approved?
Mora Approved started in August last year when my best friend Claudia and I were struggling to find suitable home accessories to accent our Ikea-heavy apartments. Having been enthusiastic travellers, we always lamented how irritating it is that we could never bring home our lovely European finds. That’s when we came up with the idea of starting up a home wares/kitchen/accessories shop that scoured Europe for the best in design at affordable prices. We see the pieces that we stock at Mora Approved as the home wares equivalent of wearing a Chanel watch with your Topshop outfit. You may have the same Ikea couch as your next door neighbour, but at least you can accessorise it with some punchy cushions from Spain.
The name came quite easily. Claudia has a map of Europe on her wall, which has been marked with all the places in Europe she’s been to (ie. many!). One night, we looked at the map and realised that there’s a town in Spain named Mora and a locality in Sweden also named Mora. We wanted a name that somehow encompassed the breadth of European countries we wanted to cover – and naming our shop after two towns – one in Northern Europe, one in Southern Europe - seemed perfect. The ‘Approved’ part came later. We wanted to convey that our pieces were unique and of high quality, that we ‘approved’ them for sale. Because most of our products are made by hand, we check them for quality assurance – and they’re approved by us before we list them for sale.
3 What's your favourite design/style?
There’s just something about the clean yet quirky feel of Scandinavian design. I find myself drawn to pared-down spaces quite often. The problem is that I’m a hoarder, so my attempts at an über chic pared-down space are often short lived.
4 Who is your design hero/heroine?
I have so many! Can I name three? I think Myrte De Zeeuw, who creates our stunning bird cushions is very talented. I also love Sami Rinne, from Finland, who creates these animal mugs that are like usable works of art. In overall design, I think the girls from Humade (who create various kits that repair your belongings) will go very far.
5 You travel around Europe a lot, which is your favourite place to visit?
Amsterdam, The Netherlands. But I’m biased because I was based there for nine months while I got Mora Approved off the ground. It’s a phenomenal city which magically combines convenience (it takes about 25 minutes on your bike to get from one side of the city to the other), beauty (have you seen those canals?!), fun (people from all over the world come to Amsterdam to party), and the most delicious apple pie and slagroom (whipped cream) that you will probably ever eat. It’s also full of super innovative people and there’s always something magic happening around the corner.
6 And have you got a secret cafe/restaurant/shop in your favourite place? Why is it a favourite?
Oh yes. I heartily recommend Van Harte restaurant in the historic Jordaan for delicious seasonal meals. If you want to soak up the sun, then Noorderlicht café right by the NDSM Werf is a greenhouse that serves tasty meals at reasonable prices, which seems to be the general ethos in Amsterdam restaurant and cafes.
7 What do you do to chill out?
I’m an avid reader and I get tetchy if I don’t have a book I’m in the throes of reading. Lately I’m hooked on White Teeth, by Zadie Smith. I’m also all about books by comedians and Bossypants by Tina Fey is hilarious. When I’m not reading I’m running around East London taking photos and pretending to be a hipster.
8 How are you spending Christmas?
I’m going to be in Amsterdam with Claudia. We’re going to have an orphans Christmas where I’ll attempt to roast a chicken and we’ll probably get merry on gloggwine and listen to Michael Buble’s Christmas album on repeat. I can’t wait.
Thank you Cassey for taking the time to answer all my questions. And it's been great learning a little bit more about you.
And here are my favourite four from Cassey's shop:
2 Moose Design felt cross body bag
3 Reine Mere chalkboard
4 Paleolochic natural linen cushion
All photographs used with kind permission and taken from Mora Approved website.
Online shop is here.