It was late one night 10 years ago that a sleepless Kristina Karlsson got out of bed and took her partner’s suggestion to grab a pen and paper and make a list of what was important to her, to help her decide what do with her new life in Melbourne.
Originally from Sweden, Karlsson is something of a Jill of all trades. She’s held down jobs as a nanny in Beverly Hills, a tour bus guide in Europe and a winery host in Germany. All it took was the simple gesture of writing a list for Karlsson to conjure the inspiration for where to channel her energy next.
“I realised then that I could combine my passion for Swedish design and my love of stationery to create a business,” she recalls.
The single idea soon snowballed into the fashion stationery label kikki.k, which is celebrating its 10th birthday this year. Having honed an eye for design from an early age, Karlsson started designing her stationery when she found it hard to stock her home office with stylish but practical products she had no trouble finding in her native Scandinavia. She admits that the Swedish design aesthetic is something that heavily influences her creative direction of kikki.k.
“Scandinavian and Swedish design is based on the principle of form and function, meaning design must not only be aesthetically pleasing, but also practical and useful,” she says.
Talking about her very first design project – a simple white storage box – Kristina mentions how the box in a way embodies the label and her aesthetic, representing the stylishly utilitarian nature of Swedish design, as well as Kristina’s affinity for all things tidy and organised. “You could even say it all started with a box.”
Yet for someone so meticulous (her work desk must-have is her daily to-do list), Kristina’s ideas come from a wide range of places. Going back to Sweden at least once a year for one of her “design inspiration trips”, the self-proclaimed “cookbook junkie” also scours books, magazines and blogs from around the world for fresh design inspirations.
“Like any creative, I never switch off and am nearly always open to be inspired. Anything from design, food, colours, furniture, fashion, places to visit, nature. You can find inspiration anywhere!”
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, kikki.k is looking back on its history with a limited edition Retrospective Wrapping Paper Book, featuring some of the label’s most popular designs.