We chat to the founder of kikki.K, Kristina Karlsson, about her latest book and current goal to “inspire and empower 101 million people around the world”.
kikki.K is known in Hong Kong for good reason. Founded by Swedish born Kristina Karlsson in 2001, the brand has quickly earned a reputation for its classic yet contemporary Scandinavian designed stationery, homeware and gifts. With everything from warm bedroom slippers, plush eye masks, statement scented candles, sleek porcelain bowls, playful teapots, handy notebooks and inspirational journals – there’s something to spruce up every corner of your home. We’ve been fans of this brand since it arrived in our city, so we we were thrilled to chat to kikki.K’s founder and creative director, Kristina to hear about her story, inspirations, and tips on being a successful entrepreneur. Her latest book, Your Dream Life Starts Here, is built to encourage all readers to “write down 3 dreams, and go chase them” – a movement we can definitely get behind!
Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from and what do you do?
I’m Kristina Karlsson and I grew up on a small farm in Sweden but I currently live in Australia with my partner, Paul, and our two children, Axel and Tiffany. I am the Founder and Creative Director of kikki.K. I’m also a dreamer, passionate learner and an international speaker…
We’re huge fans of kikki.K, can you tell us a little more about the company?
kikki.K is a global Swedish design and stationery business with 102 stores, stocked in another 250, and sold online to stationery and design lovers in over 147 countries worldwide. Through kikki.K and our gorgeous products, we touch around 20 million people a year world-wide by spreading positive, inspiring and uplifting messages.
Can you tell us a little about the story behind the brand? What encouraged you to start kikki.K?
I love beautiful things, I love Swedish design and I want to share my passion with everyone around the globe! I started kikki.K about 15 years ago with a list of dreams on my 3am List: A career I’ll love driving to work for every Monday morning; something that will keep me in touch with my family and friends in Sweden; something that can be a business of my own; something that will earn me US$500 (approx HK$3,800a week). After searching for a while I hit this idea whilst I was setting-up my own home office and couldn’t find products that reflected my taste and lifestyle. I knew I’d found ‘my thing’ and decided I would design, manufacture and sell gorgeous stationery. The plan was always to open stores all over the world in my favourite cities, and that’s exactly what I did. It still ticks all the things on my list of dreams and I am still LOVING every second of it!
What was the motivation behind write your first book, Your Dream Life Starts Here. What inspired you and what keeps your momentum going?
From travelling the world giving speeches and listening to people’s stories, I realised that most adults lost their natural child-like ability to dream without limitation, instead progressing through life with aspirations or wishes, limited by false personal beliefs of what is possible for ‘someone like me’. I got a strong sense that many people feel helpless or lost in the face of it all, it suddenly struck me that I could help with that. That’s when I decided to write Your Dream Life Starts Here, which is a go-to guide to help inspire and empower millions of people to dream and make their dreams happen. It’s full of powerful ideas, inspiring real-life stories and simple tools to help you harness the power of dreaming and to transform your life. 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. In my book, you can lean into and learn from the stories and wisdom of some amazing people who have dared to dream big – after starting from very humble backgrounds – who have showed their support to our dreaming movement by generously allowing me to share their incredible stories with you.
We also launched an inspiring podcast series, Your Dream Life, hosted by myself and featuring high profile guest dreamers; a Dream Life Masterclass event series with Dr. Tererai Trent and other guest speakers, and in-store Dreaming Workshops. An e-Learning platform for kikki.K is due to launch in early 2019, which will build on the concepts in the book and make engaging Dream Life learning more accessible globally.
There’s so much that comes with starting a new company and project, can you share your most meaningful milestone?
Oh, I have so many memories and meaningful milestones… I’d say my absolute favourite is hearing from fans about how our products and kikki.K Dream Life movement inspire them to live their best lives. I’m so lucky to be in the unique position to help, guide and impact millions of people across the world – in both big and small ways – through kikki.K and my podcast series. I’m so excited about this movement, which is strongly tied to the betterment of others. This is a big part of my purpose in life, and it’s always been what I imagine my children and my grandchildren will be most proud of.
What are three things you do to maintain work-life balance in your day-to-day?
1. Put pen to paper by journaling – I start planning my day when I wake up early in the morning at 5am and write down things that I’m grateful for before I go to bed.
2. Talk to my lovely family – they keep me motivated and make sure I love life every day!
3. Fika – I love enjoying quiet moments with a cup of coffee/tea.
How do you want to see kikki.K grow? What impact do you hope the Dream Life movement will make?
I have this big crazy dream: I’m going to inspire and empower 101 million people around the world to write down 3 dreams, and go chase them… and I believe that it’s completely possible to make that happen.
Every human achievement begins as someone’s dream, and from deep personal experience, I know that taking the time to imagine and to dream about how I’ve wanted my future to be, has been the essential first step to making it happen. I want people around the world to recapture that child-like ability to dream without limitations. I want to shed light on the simple process and practice of dreaming, which I know has the power to help so many people live the life they’re searching for. It’s so exciting, because I KNOW that inspiring the world to dream will make the world a better place, for you, for us, for our children and grandchildren and for all future generations. Writing Your Dream Life Starts Here has been my first big step in making my big crazy dream of inspiring the world to dream, a dream come true.
What advice would you give to brands (and people!) looking to make meaningful impact in the world?
Just start doing it and believe in yourself and your brand for having the power to make an impact – everyone can when you put your mind to it!
Check out Kristina’s book and other kikki.K products at the Hong Kong Locations:
kikki.K Cityplaza, Shop 203, Level 2, Cityplaza, 18 Taikoo Shing Road, Taikoo Shing, Hong Kong
kikki.K Prince’s Building, Shop 220, 2/F, Prince’s Building, 10 Charter Road, Central
kikki.K Harbour City, Shop 411, Level 4, Ocean Centre, Harbour City, Kowloon