[caption id="attachment_1700" align="aligncenter" width="472"] Lotta on her farm in Gotland, Sweden[/caption]
I was born in Sweden in a suburb called Farsta, just outside Stockholm. I lived with my parents and two brothers in a house built by my dad. Weekends were dedicated to sporting activities and I was always playing football and basketball. Dad was an ice hockey coach and, although girls didn't get involved in the game in those days, I used to hang out at the ice rink and my first serious boyfriend was a professional ice hockey player.
I was given my first pair of clogs when I was five years old. In the 1960s and 70s, everyone in Sweden wore clogs all the time, even to school. When we were older, we would wear out the soles of our clogs by scraping them along the ground as we rode around on the back of our boyfriends' motorbikes.
It was when I was working in publicity and promotions at Warner Music Group that I first met my husband and business partner, Jonny. He was based at the office in London and came to Stockholm for a meeting. For three years we had a long distance love affair.
I moved to London when I became pregnant with our eldest daughter, Emma, now 19. I found it tough living in another country at first but, as soon as my baby was born, I was so happy. We now have two more children - Anna (16) and Joey (11) and have been living in Twickenham for the last sixteen years.
Five years ago I noticed that clogs were starting to make a comeback in Sweden and I bought myself a couple of pairs. All my friends in London loved them and, every time I went home, they would ask me to bring them back a pair. In the end, I found a family business where they had been making traditional clogs by hand since the 1800s and placed a small order. This was the beginning of Lotta from Stockholm.
When we started to get really busy, Jonny put his music consultancy on the back burner and joined the business full time. www.lottafromstockholm.co.uk was launched and, as demand for our clogs exploded, we called on family, friends and neighbours to come and help us pack the clogs into boxes. For a long time our kitchen was completely overrun with clogs but now we have a warehouse and showroom nearby and we now have three full-time employees.
Today we export clogs to more than seventy different countries. We even send clogs back to Sweden. We used to have a stall every Friday at Portobello Market which was so much fun but now we are just too busy. As well as a wide variety of clogs, we also sell a range of gorgeous Scandinavian rugs, clothing and accessories, all hand-picked by me.
[caption id="attachment_1710" align="aligncenter" width="490"] Lotta with Kent, the owner of the clog factory in Sweden and his father, the previous owner.[/caption]
We couldn't be without our bloggers. They are like a special sect of clog people. They adore their clogs so much, they are always taking photos and sending them to us. Some of our bloggers have as many as ten pairs. We love hearing from them.
We are a very sporty family. I go running three times a week and Jonny goes surfing in Cornwall, whenever he gets a chance to escape the office. All our children have inherited our passion for sport and, when we're not working, we spend a lot of time driving them to rugby, swimming, running, football and golf, often at the crack of dawn. Emma is now a serious rugby player.
Even our dog is from Sweden. Pompe is our beloved Hungarian sheep dog. He used to belong to my dad and came to live with us three years ago. He really badly behaved at first but now he's an absolute dream and we couldn't be without him.
[caption id="attachment_1695" align="aligncenter" width="328"] Lotta's eldest daughter, Emma with Pompe whom is a Pumi breed[/caption]
I make sure I take my children back to the family farmhouse on Gotland island for six weeks every Summer. A three-hour ferry ride from the mainland, this Swedish island is where I spent all my holidays as a child, riding our Icelandic horses, swimming in the sea, taking care of the sheep and helping with the hay. It's like my oasis now and I savour the precious moments I have there with my mum, brothers, friends and all their families. We have our own beach and there is a pretty fishing village with a little harbour. My old horse is too old to ride now so I've just bought a new one called Frakkur. Three evenings a week, people come from all around to play a game of football on our land. It was a tradition started many years ago by my dad and it still carries on. It's wonderful to see all the different generations playing together. Although I love living in England, Sweden will always be my home.
[caption id="attachment_1699" align="aligncenter" width="518"] Lotta riding her horse, Frakkur on the island of Gotland where she stays every Summer with her family[/caption]
Interview by Miranda Jessop