By HAZEL REID
Kristina Karlsson’s journey of founding kikki.K begun after a 3:00 am brainstorm of what was important to her and now the brand has stores all over the world. She took some time out of her book tour to chat to me about all things kikki.K.
How kikki.K was born?
The idea of kikki.K was born shortly after I moved to Australia. I was struggling to find the right career path and was restless, not knowing what I wanted to do in my life. One night at around 3 am after tossing and turning, not being able to sleep, my partner Paul encouraged me to grab a pen and paper and make a list of what was important to me to help guide my thinking. What ended up on paper that night was what I now call my 3 am list and was the beginning of my journey to starting kikki.K.
What was the experience like developing the company/brand from there?
From there it was doing anything and everything possible to get the business off the ground. With the help of Paul, I was able to fund my first collection of product, which I sold to friends, friends of friends and out of the back of my car to anyone who would glance my way. As demand for kikki.K grew, I convinced Paul to sell his house so we could open our first boutique in Melbourne Central in 2001. Over the following five years we expanded to Sydney and Brisbane, then overseas to New Zealand and now we’re in 250 locations across the globe. The experience has been truly crazy, but so so rewarding!
What was it like creating your own book – putting all of your experiences into one thing?
Surprisingly very therapeutic! When you’re so passionate about something, it really helps the process of putting pen to paper, or fingertips to keyboard. I’ve spent years collecting inspiration and tips from others and trying things out for myself. That’s why I want to share these lessons with even more people.
Something magical happens when you dream, and something even more powerful happens when you write your dreams down and start chasing them. It’s a life-changing practice. It’s something anyone can do anytime, anywhere. It’s free and the process can be learnt and it really is a process, or a practice. The more you do it, the better you become. I just wanted to share this with the world!
What does an average day look like for you?
Truly, no one day is the same – which is the wonderful thing about my job! I try my best to wake up at 5 am each morning before the rest of the family wakes to give myself time to think, read, write, be inspired and exercise. Then I like to break up my day into blocks, that way I can ensure I have time away from emails for my most important projects and creative ideas. My day can then include anything from meetings with my talented design and product team to developing new collections and attending seminars or meeting with other inspiring people. With my two little ones in school, it’s also so important for me to have dedicated family time and find the right balance between work and family life.
What are the best perks of your job?
The travel! Being able to visit all of our beautiful kikki.K stores in all my favourite cities and countries around the world is something I am so grateful for. I have to pinch myself every day!
Where there are perks, there are also challenges – are there any from your experience that you can share?
There have been so many challenges to deal with and so many new experiences from my kikki.K journey. The very beginning was tough – everything was a challenge! With English as a second language, almost no money and business experience, not to mention having no idea how to go about manufacturing – it was difficult but also so rewarding!
You’re regularly travelling to visit the kikki.K stores across the world – what’s your favourite part?
I just love meeting all my fellow stationery and kikki.K lovers! Although I’d have to say my absolute favourite part has been hearing all the incredible dreams my book, Your Dream Life Starts Here, has inspired. It has been the most rewarding experience and I only hope I can keep inspiring people around the world to dream without constraint and most importantly, go chase them!
If you had to pick right now – what’s your favourite item or range at kikki.K?
I love everything white, simple and stylish! So our latest collection, Everyday Essentials is about to hit the shelves and is one of my favourites. As the name suggests, it’s very classic, effortless but also stylish with a black, white and mint colour palette. All beautiful essentials to decorate the office!
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
The best advice I have ever been given is to find something you’re really passionate about and make it your career. If you want to start a business of your own, you’re going to need to invest considerable energy and time into it, so to make it something you really enjoy.
What’s next on the agenda?
Beyond inspiring people across the world to dream, I’d say more beautiful kikki.K stationery boutiques around the world. I would love to one-day open boutiques in New York, Copenhagen, Paris and Tokyo!
Kristina Karlsson’s Your Dream Life Starts Here is available in kikki.K stores now – I’m currently reading it alongside the Dream Life Journal (review coming soon) and if you’re into podcasts, you need to check out Kristina’s fortnightly release Dream Life.