My London: Product developer Carolinè Wolthers Odqvist

Dec 21, 2020 by

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Name: Carolinè Wolthers Odqvist
Work: Product developer at
Living: Upper Clapton
Time in London: 7 years in February
Instagram: @carolineodqvist 


Who is Carolinè?
I’m a half Swede/ half Dane from Borås. I studied Textile product development at the Swedish school of textiles, and I work as a Product Developer at

I’m into sustainable fashion, and I’m a part of the East London group of Nuw (@wearenuw), a female-led start-up app for swapping and sharing clothes.


Where in London do you live?
I live in Upper Clapton with my boyfriend.

We moved into our new flat this summer (we were desperate for a balcony after the first lockdown). The best part is that we have a view over Millfields park and we’re right by the canal and Walthamstow marshes. I have definitely stepped up my lunch walks since spring. I love being so close to nature and still having Chatsworth road right around the corner with pubs and cafés. And I love the cute little boats in the canal – and the cows!


Morning lockdown walk by Walthamstow marches


How did your time in London start?
I first moved to London with a friend after high school in 2009. We did the whole minimum wage-retail life, shared a double bed, and ate sad pasta carbonara 6 days a week.

After 6 months we decided we needed a break (and education) so we moved back to Sweden.

In 2014 I lived in Copenhagen and did an (unpaid) internship at a Fashion brand. I didn’t know what to do when it ended, so I spontaneously decided to move to London to hang out with my sister who lived here at the time. She has since then moved back to Sweden (traitor), but I stayed this time.


What do you do for a living?
I’m a product developer at a gift retailer called My team and I come up with product ideas for quirky gifts and food, develop the concepts, liaise with suppliers, and basically make sure that it gets made. It’s a fun and creative job (even though there are a lot of spreadsheets too).

We have problems like “Oh no, the supplier has run out of glitter”! My boyfriend says it sounds like I work at the Willy Wonka factory, haha!




Where do you wish to be in 10 years?
I want to live in London, Malmö or Copenhagen. I would love to live a year somewhere like Tokyo or Edinburgh. And my boyfriend and I dream of having a vacation house in Turkey.

Maybe we’ll have a kid, own a flat or a house even though we’re miles away from that right now (shout out to London rents!).

In terms of work, I’d love to work more with sustainability. Or with snacks and food development. My dream job is working as a crisp buyer. UK crisp brands urgently need help. Sorry, but there is a special place in hell for whoever came up with prawn cocktail crisps. 


What is the hardest part about starting a life in England?
I think accepting that London isn’t Sweden. There are a lot of basic things that are better in Sweden, e.g. houses having double glazed windows. I think trying not to compare the two is hard but necessary. Sweden is like your organised mum, and London is like your messy and slightly crazy aunt. So when you’re going to bed in January wearing everything you own or have to take a shower at your friends’ because the boiler broke, you have to remember why you moved here. London is fun and adventurous, and it makes you feel like you can do anything.

– Not to say I don’t struggle with this myself. My co-workers are so sick of me always saying “In Sweden…” and then tell them about something that I think works better in Sweden… so maybe this is more advice for myself 🙂


Me at Firebox HQ. Photo: Firebox


3 best tips for newly moved in:
1. Don’t be scared to reach out to people to hang out. Ask co-workers for a beer or a social distant walk at the moment. People are very flaky and will cancel, I struggled so much with the flakiness for years, but don’t give up. There is always someone who’s up for a pint.

2.Find a local group/activity to join. This will help you feel like a part of a community and is a great way to meet new friends. It can be a local sports club like netball or football, volunteering in a charity shop, or, like me, being a part of the Nuw East London group. Find something you’re interested in.

3. Walk, bike, or take the bus instead of the tube to get to know the city. It’s easier when you learn how it’s connected, and you find new cute areas. When one of my friends moved to London after high school, he spent all of his savings, like £8000, on trying out a new pub every day for a month. By himself. Not saying it’s the perfect example, but he sure knew the best pubs.


A bonus tip: If you miss Sweden too much, you can always visit Fabrique Bakery for a typical Swedish Fika… 


What is always in your fridge:
At the moment it’s the food box Gousto. When the pandemic started, we were so lazy and had no imagination for food. So we signed up for food boxes, which were a lifesaver! They send you the recipes and exactly the amount of food needed, so there’s no great food waste. I’m also a terrible chef, so this is the first time I’m properly cooking.


Describe the perfect day out in the city:
I can’t wait for a day out in the city after the pandemic!

A perfect day would be having brunch on Chatsworth road, going to a photo exhibition at the Barbican, and popping into the conservatory. We’d have dinner at Uchi or My neighbours the dumplings in Clapton. After the food coma, we would go to the Arcola Theatre in Dalston to see a play or stand up comedy at the Bill Murray in Angel. Distance or time isn’t an issue in this perfect scenario so we would end the evening with a beer at Dalston Curve Garden.


Me at Dalston curve garden


Best memory in London:
In the Summer of 2015, my sister, our two best friends, and I took over a super cheap house from some friends who moved back to Sweden. All of a sudden we had this big house with a garden in Stoke Newington all to ourselves. We had dinner outside almost every evening and just drank wine on the terrace for most of the summer.

In September, the owners sold the house, and we were homeless for 3 weeks, but that’s another story.


Which one is London’s best restaurant and what would you order:
I love Uchi in Upper Clapton. It’s authentic Japanese, and the interior is lovely. It’s a bit pricey but perfect for special occasions. I’d order the salmon sashimi and deep-fried lotus root. …And my boyfriend would over-order as usual, and we would eat about 10 more dishes and hate ourselves.


Bild från Uchi


Where is the best shopping in London:
I try not to buy anything new, and I tend to shop vintage and second hand mostly. I used to work in Beyond retro, and I especially love the Dalston shop. The flea market in Princess may road is great, and you can find some great bargains in Triad in Dalston. And Nuw, of course – an app to swap and borrow clothes.


What would you tell your 18-year-old self:
Try not to put too much pressure on myself. You don’t have to be the best, the funniest, the prettiest, and the most hard-working at everything. I don’t mean to not make an effort in life, but you don’t have to perform 100% all the time at everything. Especially in a city like London, it’s exhausting. So accept that you are fine at maybe just 80% some days and try to find a balance.

My New Year’s resolution this year was to be slightly more boring – which I nailed with a lot of help from this pandemic. A much more achievable goal it turned out than my friend whose failed resolution was to party more…