Long before Marie Kondo entered our modern subconscious, there was another woman whose minimalistic Scandinavian design and organisational props prompted us all to find joy in the everyday...
Ask any Australian where to find these joy-filled items, and the answer will undoubtedly be, “kikki.K.” As the founder of this iconic stationery, gifts and homewares label, Kristina Karlsson is responsible for the organisation and beauty that has infiltrated many of our homes.
Her story is one that has inspired a generation of entrepreneurs. At the age of 22, she found herself in Australia (having grown up in Sweden), with little money and no idea of what to do with her life. Rather than diving into the nearest bar job, she began imagining her dream life and then went about making it happen.
The result? kikki.K. Now with 102 stores (and stocked in an additional 250) as well as a global online presence, Kristina’s products are now sold in over 147 countries worldwide. While building her impressive empire, she has also positioned herself as a highly sought-after international speaker while raising two children – Axel and Tiffany.
Today, Kristina’s dream is still dreaming and achieving. Her current mission is to inspire and empower over 101 million people to write their dreams on paper and to make them happen. With Kristina’s history and undeniable tenacity, we think she might just get there.
Photography by Natalie Jeffcott
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family...
I was born and grew up in Falkenberg, Sweden and am one of four children. While working in Austria I met my partner Paul. I soon followed him to Australia and once here, I knew I couldn’t leave. I travel home to Sweden regularly, but I love my life in Australia. Now I’ve been here for almost 23 years, have two wonderful children, Axel and Tiffany, and have grown kikki.K into an international brand I am very proud of.
What was your childhood like?
I loved my childhood and life in Sweden! Growing up my nickname was Kikki, hence the name, kikki.K. I always worked a lot during my school years. When I was ten I used to ride my bike around the snow-covered streets in my neighbourhood selling Christmas books door-to-door and I guess that was the first indication I had of my entrepreneurial instinct. My parents were also farmers and their strong work ethic no doubt rubbed off on me.