Scary, lonely London

08 January 2015
Scary, lonely London
Ever felt lonely in this super city? Well you’re not alone. 1 in 10 people feel the same way. London CAN be daunting, it’s full of umbrella-dodging commuters, elbowing their way through the narrow streets with one goal: to make that tube, the next one won’t come for two more minutes!

As someone coming from another town, city or country, you can be easily led into believing London is unfriendly, aggressive and full of close-minded people, a city tarted up with the most amazing architecture in the world. Well you hit the nail on the head about the architecture, but the rest; you couldn’t be further from the truth. London is full of friendly people just like me and you. With London, you really need to make the most of it; there’s no end to the number of social activities out there. It’s better to share a moment and laugh with someone rather than laughing alone. For one thing, it makes you look like less of a nutter and much more approachable.

This is why we created a very simple solution to make you stand out from the crowd whilst still blending into the friendly, loving place that London is. We are saying: “Come say hi; I’m approachable; I want to make new friends; I want to meet new people; I want to feel like a local…” In a city with over 8.6 million inhabitants, how hard can it be? Before the time of apps that tell you a potential friend is 1.1km away, you actually had to say “hi!” to someone’s face and you knew pretty much straight away if you’d hit it off, now we read endless messages and waste our time on people who might not even want to meet up and refuse to send that all important second picture to show you that they are who they say they are.

Feel like a local:

I’ve written before about seeing the same people, day in, day out, at the same time, in the same place and how it made me think about how we could get people talking without freaking them out. A simple conversation every now and then or even just the once, makes you immediately feel like part of a community; a local.

I’m a sociable guy and I am lucky to have some super friends from all around the globe to hang out with. I’m a foodie and I love my wine so it would be great to go out for a bite to eat, or even better, to get invited around for food at the neighbours’ or to go to the local bar for a glass of something special. Knowing that London is made up of lots of little villages, going out in your local area and neighbouring boroughs will educate you on the community around you and could give you a few new cooking skills to try out as well as finding you some new friends.

A conversation starter:

A conversation starterHow can we all make each other feel happier and safer in this city? By having a conversation! How can we break the ice? This was a bit more difficult. We had to think what is an inoffensive, obvious, but not ‘in your face’ visual aid that’s not expensive and useful at the same time? A tote bag – everybody has one and for some reason they grab your attention. But we needed more than that, so I thought about what makes this city great… Of course, it’s made up of people from all over the globe.

We researched the twenty most commonly spoken languages in London and came up with the “London Edition” of Chatter Bags. We’ve even left a space for any languages not on the list, additions so far have included; “Aussie”, “Estonian” and even “Northern”. Next to each language is a tick-box in which you simply: tick for “I speak fluently”; dash for “I speak a little”; or leave blank for “I don’t speak… yet”.

You can’t always tell what languages someone might speak just by looking at them.

Now you can! Chatter Bags is a proven ice-breaker, so start that conversation. No excuses! :-)

Should Londoners Learn English?

06 January 2015
Should Londoners Learn English?
Today, Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said in an interview on LBC: “I think everybody in London, everybody who comes to work in our economy, should be able to speak English.”

Here’s our take…

English – second language for 1.7 million Londoners
Being able to speak the native language of the city you are living in makes for an easier working environment, it also gives you a better opportunity to get the job you came to this amazing city to do.

Having worked in the hospitality industry for over 12 years, I’ve met amazing people from all over the world looking at the bright lights of this mega-city with the hope of fulfilling their dreams, but they are often held back by their language ability. I’ve worked with some guys that were architects in their own countries and are working here as kitchen porters, scrubbing pots and floors to earn an honest wage.

For roughly 22% of London residents – or 1.7 million, English is a second language. Given the multicultural nature of our wonderful country, how would you know which languages someone speaks without talking to someone?

Boris also raises the point that, “People can be tuned into their own community and not feel the need to speak the common language of this city, of this country,” He sees this as a “wasted opportunity for these people.”

It is true that sometimes newcomers to London find it hard to make friends outside of a local community or language group, this can restrict the number and intensity of experiences available to them. However, encouraging integration and communication within and between communities helps us to educate ourselves and our children on the diversity of cultures and languages out there.

Perhaps we should encourage Londoners to learn more languages and expand their language abilities, rather than focusing our attention on English and the people for whom it is not a first language. This can be done through the fantastic medium of speech and a few well-organised meet-ups!

It is important to remember that learning another language is beneficial at any age. In fact, it has been proven to:

Make your brain bigger
Make you sharper
Make you happy
Make you concentrate better in the classroom
Make you better at maths
London’s charm comes from the variety of languages spoken here. They keep this city moving.

All we have to do is make conversation.

Mark

Christmas Post

19 December 2014
Christmas Post
Hi everyone!

It’s the last Friday before Christmas and we have had an amazing week post-launch. From taking photos in Trafalgar Square, along the Southbank and at Buckingham Palace to exclusive events in Shoreditch, we are really excited about your reactions and enthusiasm for our brand.

Wishing a huge Thank You to everyone who has come to #sayhiyourway!

Online sales will be available over Christmas with reduced postal service as per Royal Mail’s Christmas delivery. As we always say, good things come to those who wait, but you won’t be waiting too long! Please click here for postage details.

We’ll be out and about getting chatting in the New Year, stopping off at our favourite universities, language schools and the best coffee shops in Shoreditch and Camden too. 2015 will be our year for rolling out Chatter Bags in a store near you, keep a look out and say hi if you see us!

All that’s left from us is to wish you all a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!
See you in 2015 :-)

The Chatter Bags Team

Do Londoners talk to each other enough?

17 December 2014
Do Londoners talk to each other enoughLast year the Office of National Statistics found London to be the second least-friendly city in the world.

Personally, I think London is as unfriendly as you want to make it. This is a super city with super people from all over the globe, the energy here is palpable and inspiring but people just are not talking to each other enough,

This is one of the reasons we made Chatter Bags, to say: “YES, I AM APPROACHABLE” and this is my visual ice-breaker.

I want to talk to people, I want to feel like a local in this amazing city. I want to say “hi” to that person I see every day on the train, in the supermarket, in that queue for a coffee where you see some of the most bizarre hand-written names, I want someone to chuckle with me. And many of you feel the very same way.

This bag is a simple solution to an unnecessary challenge of our day to day lives and well-being.

Let’s use this social tool and get chatting!

Chatter Bags coming soon to London!

11 December 2014
Designs complete and production finally finished; we are ready to bring our bags to London. We will be popping-in at your favourite coffee shops around Shoreditch and Camden this weekend. Stay tuned for details.   The Chatter Bags Team  
made to make conversation