Hall of Fame Alumni
About Me - My Biography
Kristina started kikki.K from a tiny one bedroom apartment, more than 10 years ago.kikki.K's is now an award winning retailer offering unique gifts, gorgeous stationery and organising tools in Scandinavian designs.kikki.K love the simplicity and timelessness of Swedish design and create every-day-use stationery, home/office objects and gorgeous gifts that bring a sense of fashion and style to every-day life.
Meet Swedish born Kristina “Kikki” Karlsson: stationery addict, lover of fine wine and founder of kikki.K, an Australian household name and one of the country’s fastest growing small businesses.
After growing up in Falkenberg, Sweden, Kristina followed her heart to Australia in 1995 and has since become a permanent resident.
Since then, Kristina has turned a desire for stylish home office products into a booming design and retail business, with boutiques across Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and an online store that services the world.
Kristina started kikki.K with little business knowledge, but her drive and determination for what she felt passionate about was evident from an early age.
At the tender age of ten, little Kikki would ride her bicycle around the snow-covered streets of her neighbourhood, selling and delivering Christmas books door-to-door. As a sign of things to come, she was named best saleswoman for her region.
A love of stationery developed early. Bursting with creative energy, Kristina looked forward to the start of a new school year and the new notebooks, pencils and folders that it would bring. A true stationery lover, Kristina loved to be organised. That passion is still present today.
Kristina still gets excited by the delivery of new kikki.K products, wasting no time in ripping open boxes that arrive at the warehouse to revel in her stationery and design accomplishments.
Displaying an amazing amount of drive and enthusiasm, Kristina has followed her dream from concept to reality. If starting her own business wasn’t difficult enough, doing it in her second language with her family and friends on the other side of the world certainly added to the challenge. She has maintained her enthusiasm and boundless energy over the years, is very health-conscious, and wants everybody to be as excited about stationery as she is.
A mere six months after the first kikki.K was opened, it was named Melbourne’s Most Innovative Store, and a nationwide expansion soon followed. Kristina already has over 70 kikki.K boutiques and hopes to continue growing her brand internationally.
Her professional mantra is “don’t say no, say how?” and wants others to always think creatively. The best and simplest piece of advice Kristina offers is to never take no for an answer.
“In my experience, if I had accepted ‘no’ every time it was said to me, I would have held my business back immeasurably. There is always a way to achieve what you need in a win/win way. If you get a ‘no’ to something important, keep asking questions to discover why the person is saying ‘no’, which will often reveal a path around the ‘no’.”
kikki.K embraces the Swedish design principles of form and function and function to create seasonal collections of delicious stationery, gorgeous gifts and organization solutions that improve your everyday. kikki.K is passionate about helping you achieve the sense of wellbeing that comes from being organized in style, because by saving time and energy you’re free to reflect, create, dream then do.
Strategies for Success
- Do something you are truly passionate about: if you have a real passion for what you do in your business life, you will always inherently enjoy it. Even when the going gets tough, you’ll find so much inspiration around you to build your business.
- Have a crystal clear vision and dream big: by having a clear vision, the tough days and challenges can be reframed to seem insignificant in light of the vision you are working towards. Your vision is what will inspire others around you too.
- A business plan is essential: write a business plan that becomes your road map for achieving your vision. Putting it on paper really cements it and gives you direction. Don’t be afraid to refine it as you go.
- Build a supportive team and create a network: as much as your passion will tell you otherwise, you can’t do everything yourself, so surround yourself with wonderful people to help you on your way. Contacts are invaluable, so seek mentors too.
- Prepare yourself for making decisions: you’ll have to make a lot of decisions- welcome this as a positive. There is no such thing as a bad decision as all decisions bring new learnings.