You know how in grade school homeroom class, there’s always that one day where you end up doing those cheesy #re- altalk exercises that force you to answer questions like “What do you see yourself doing 10 years from now?”
No one ever wants to think that far ahead. So the answers are usually somewhere between vague and super idealistic, like how you want three kids or none, or how you want to be successful and married by 26.
At first it’s pretty crushing to discover that these projections don’t come true right away (hello, quarter-life crisis). But that shouldn’t stop you from discovering and working towards your dream career.
Kristina Karlsson, founder of lifestyle brand kikki.K (aka the Australian lifestyle stationery brand), knows this too well. She opened up her first stationery store in her late 20s after going through a period of self-doubt and confusion, and it’s now grown into a highly successful business with boutiques around the world.
Now she pays it forward by creating products that inspire people to live their best lives. “Our purpose at kikki.K is to inspire and empower people to live their best life. We do all the products around dreaming, making sure you think about your dream life,” says Kristina.
A few weeks ago, we got to chat with her before her National Book Store launch event. We talked about her stationery obsession and her journey to becoming the girlboss that she is today.
YOUNG STAR: Hi, Kristina! Were you the type to collect stationery as a kid?
KRISTINA KARLSSON: Yeah, I loved it. One of my favorite things was to go back to school where it’s like fresh notebooks, and you sharpen pencils and (you have) a new pencil case. That was my favorite time — to actually get organized for school. I always collected those little notebooks and pencils, I had a little eraser collection when I was a child.
When you started kikki.K, you were in a rut, or that so-called quarter-life cri- sis. Do you have any advice for people who are in the same position?
I would encourage people to take some time out for a few hours, ideally with a notebook (but phones are okay if you have to) and to start dreaming. If you could dream up your perfect life, how you would want it? What would you do? And I would ask myself three questions: 1) If I could not fail, what would I do? 2) If I had all the money in the world, what would I do? 3) If I had all the knowledge and the time and the resources, what would I do? That often gets you to another stage. Because often, when you have that quarter-life crisis, you’re not really sure where you’re heading, and asking those questions can help get you out of that, to the dreaming stage.
Your philosophy is to get people to share things happening in your life. That’s interesting, especially since people don’t usually connect that kind of philosophy to stationery, or a stationery brand.
There’s a lot of research that says you remember more things first by writing it down. You have a goal — we always do New Year’s resolutions, but a lot of people forget about them within the first seven days — but if you write them down and set goals with a timeline and making sure you do all the small actions within that goal, you’re more likely to achieve them. I think paper and that inspirational side of your life goes hand in hand in many ways.
What have you learned over the years as a girlboss? And do you have any tips that you can share?
Number one, be passionate about what you do. If you’re choosing to be your own boss, do what you love. Be passionate be- cause life is more fun if you’re doing what you love. It’s also much easier to start a business if you love it because there are so many tough times that if you love it, you can get through.
Number two, have a clear vision. For me that was to open in my favorite cities around the world and to inspire people to live their best lives around the world.
Number three, don’t say no, say how. There is always a way if you want to do what you have to do. Sometimes you have to turn that no around to make it happen.
kikki.K products are available in select National Book Store and Noteworthy branches nationwide.