Kristina Karlsson on life, business and style.
1. Congratulations on the rapid growth of kikki.K. What inspired you to create the stylish and much loved stationery store?
Thank you very much! We have come a long way in 12 or so years, but it feels like we’re just getting started and there are so many exciting times ahead! As for what inspired me, there’s a bit of a story to it actually…
There came a time when I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to do with my life. I had just moved from Sweden and I soon became quite restless. I lay awake in bed one night, and my partner Paul, prompted me to get out a pen and notepad and write down a list of what was important to me. This list, which I now call my ‘3am List’ included things like; I want to drive to work on a Monday morning feeling happy, I want to do something that connects me to Sweden and design, and I want to make $500 a week. This list really helped guide my thinking, but it wasn’t until I went to set up my home office that an idea really sparked! I couldn’t find the beautiful stationery and workspace essentials I had grown used to in Sweden. Nothing I found suited my design taste, and the market was very price-driven. As for my love of stationery…well that’s been around ever since I can remember! I always looked forward to the start of a new school year surrounded by new notebooks, pencils and folders and the promise of organisation and joy they bring every day – and I still get just as excited today when a new delivery of kikki.K products arrives at the office!
2. We love seeing people’s offices. Especially productive and stylish ones. What does yours look like? (Could you send us a photo)?
I like to think of my workspace as an extension of my personality and my ideas on design. Being an inspiring place to sit and work is just as important to me as being an organised space. First of all, I like to have a clear, empty desk when I work – free of files that can take my attention off the task that I’m doing. I’m always finding inspiring quotes, designs and photos, so an inspiration board with all these things is a big part of my workspace. I also love the simplicity of white (it gives that wonderful sense of being organised, calm and in control) so I love using White kikki.K Storage Boxes and Magazine Holders to store everything from documents to magazines and stationery. Of course, I’m always burning a beautiful kikki.K candle and surrounding myself with all our gorgeous products to keep me productive and happy!
3. What inspires you on a daily basis and how do you come up with fresh creative ideas for your stationery lines? / What or who inspires you?
Everything! I never switch off and am nearly always open to be inspired. Travelling back to Sweden is something particularly inspiring for me. Just spending time with family and friends, going to cafes, restaurants, forests, lakes, beaches, galleries – it all has me bubbling with ideas! I’m also constantly reading magazines from around the world, blogs and beautiful books. Inspiration is all around us.
4. We’d love to know what do you keep in your handbag?
I’m always carrying around one of our Stockholm Collection Bags because there’s really a place for everything, and it carries my laptop safely too. Generally I carry:
- MacBook – You just never know when you’ll have time to hop on to do some work!
- iPhone with earphones – I always listen to an interesting podcast or book when I have a spare minute waiting for a meeting or sitting on the plane
- kikki.K Notebook – Who knows when a great idea might come to mind?
- kikki.K Pencil Case filled with pens – I’m a complete stationery freak and can’t resist fresh pens!
- A ‘reading folder’ where I keep things to read when I have a spare minute on the run. It can be a printed article, blog post or an industry magazine, a page out of a newspaper or magazine. It’s important reading but not urgent, so can be done in between meetings or when I’m waiting for the next plane to catch.
- A book – At the moment I’m reading ‘Positivity’ by Barbara L. Fredrickson
- A bottle of water – Water is like coffee for me, I drink lots of water!
- Coin purse & Wallet – I always refill my coin purse for parking or small purchases on the run.
5. What are your top organising tips for entrepreneurs?
As an entrepreneur, you’ll find yourself anywhere from your own workspace, to on the road, in internal and external meetings or even travelling internationally.
For that reason, my number one tip is to ensure you have suitable working systems in place. Systemising learnings and ways of working means doing it the next time around will be so much more efficient and enjoyable. Once you’re in a perfect rhythm, you’ll be amazed with the things you can achieve!
It’s also important to ensure your workspace has a place for everything, and everything in its place. Paperflow can throw your workspace (and soon your mind!) into chaos. Pick suitable storage solutions like labelled kikki.K storage boxes, file documents intelligently and keep regularly-used items within arms’ reach.
Last but not least, make sure your organised workspace can just as easily become an organised workspace on the move. Have a great workbag that you can easily pack down your laptop, stationery, documents and anything else you need to work remotely.
6. If you had 24 hours left on this earth, what would you do?
I would spend the day with my beautiful family, eat amazing food and drink the best wine I can afford. I would also write a lovely letter to each of my children that they can keep when I’m gone.
7. You travel a lot with your job which sounds exciting. How do you keep fit, sane and organised when you’re on the road?
I always take my runners and get up early in the morning when travelling and go walking to explore the city. It’s a great way to combine my passions for travelling, exercising and having some ‘time for me’ before a hectic day. If I don’t have a late night I try to get up at 5am for my ‘wholly hour’. This is where I write in my journal, read or listen to something inspiring and go through my goals and plans. Then I exercise, and when I return I feel ready to take on a big day, whatever that may be!