With his background in books and obsession with board games, and with her academic background giving awareness of the importance of diversity in literature, Rabble seemed perfect: a books and games shop that specifically catered to minorities as well as the mainstream.
“A lot of publishing is very cis-white-male and that’s a lot of the stuff that gets a lot of publicity,” Ms Latter said.
“But there are so many amazing stories that are told by people about their own lives, cultures and experiences.”
The icing on the cake would be the baby’s room out the back.
But things took longer than anticipated. They had to get financing and then the right location. Maylands seemed perfect, an emerging strip in a diverse neighbourhood, close to public transport, but where rents were still reasonable.
But the hilly suburb had mostly split-level shops, so it was also tough to find a wheelchair-accessible locale – a non-negotiable for a business devoted to inclusivity.
When Rabble finally found a suitable location and opened its doors about 18 months ago it was much later than the couple had planned.
In fact, by the time they got the keys and started the fit-out, they had a two-month-old underfoot.
They ended up with a giant team of friends helping assemble the fit-out while the baby was juggled from hand to hand.
“We would come and then have to leave because of having the small child, and our friends would stay there putting things together late into the night,” Ms Latter said.
“We had a community before we even opened the doors.”
The game selection reflects Mr Baker’s passion for the subject, with big box games such as Settlers of Catan through to Dungeons and Dragons, Lord of the Rings card games, party games such as Codenames, big box games such as Gloomhaven, and plenty for toddlers.
Pippin has her own room out the back, with her bed and toys, so the parents can swap back and forth between Pippin duty and bookshop duty. She is getting enthusiastic about pressing the buttons on the keyboard, so the couple are looking forward to having a source of cheap labour in the not-too-distant future.
“It’s been a remarkable privilege for both of us to be able to raise her together,” Ms Latter said.
The store’s events calendar is a central part of doing business, with regular author events and a regular drag queen story hour.
“It’s probably the most important part of this particular business, creating and building a community. It’s part of what people want from a store; they don’t want a transaction, they want an experience and to be a part of something,” Ms Latter said.
“People can buy everything online if they want to, but when they sit down at their computer they don’t necessarily know what they want.
“We have curated a collection of interesting books.
“They can ask for help to choose the perfect present for someone or for themselves based on what they have loved previously.
“There is something wonderful about having that interaction with actual humans.”
Ms Latter said Rabble employed local people who spent their wages in the area too. It provided a point of connection, a community hub and a safe space for people who might not always have one at school or home.
“We provide an opportunity for conversation for people who might stop by, helping them feel less isolated. We support local charities and community groups and we are constantly thinking of ways that we can give back to Maylands and the people who support us,” she said.
“Small businesses like ours are such interconnected and vital parts of local communities, spending money at little shops like ours is a way of contributing to an inclusive and connected society that we all value.”
Sam and Nat’s top books for Christmas
Customer Service Wolf, Anne Barnetson
“I am super excited about this book – a comic book that perfectly captures the customer service experience. It’s just been published, and it’s by one of our staff members!”
“It’s the most glorious book. Who would have imagined that a ruckman could write a picture book? But he is multitalented, and it’s about how all of our differences are wonderful.”
“Holden is an amazing local guy, and this young adult novel is about teenagers who have to navigate growing up gay in the country. It’s being nominated for a lot of awards and it’s probably going to be our biggest book of this part of the year.”
“Bluey is about a girl dog and her family, and these two children’s books and one activity book are the the first merchandise around this ABC TV show. It’s going absolutely gangbusters.”
Sam and Nat’s top games for Christmas
“Word games are what I’m always excited to recommend, because they are great conversation starters, they get you talking around the table, and this is a new one with a great looking box.”
Throw Throw Burrito
“It’s a card game that comes with these two burritos with faces and you are hurling burritos at each other while trying to win at cards.”
“This is so popular the factories have to keep making more. It’s a big-box board game designed and produced by an all-woman team, where you create lovely landscapes and win by attracting the loveliest and biggest birds.”
Emma Young covers breaking news with a focus on science and environment, health and social justice for WAtoday.