“Why three minutes?” I wondered out loud as Kristina Karlsson took her seat next to mine. She reached for the hourglass, flipped it over to set the sands of time in motion.
“There’s no science behind the three minutes,” says the founder of stationery and lifestyle brand kikki.K. “Our purpose is to inspire and encourage our customers to live their best life every day. Not just once a year or when
you’re on holiday — it’s about living your best life every single day.
The hourglass belongs to a new collection very aptly named “Pause”. “I think it’s so important to take pauses in life and actually realise that life is right now, it’s about being present,” the 42-year-old explains.
Karlsson was in Singapore last month to celebrate the opening of a new kikki.K store at Raffles City — the second in Singapore and one of 80 worldwide.
(Allow me to digress a little right here: Last year, I interviewed her via email about
Dressed in an understated black-on-black ensemble, accessorised with a gold necklace with the letter “K”, the Swedish boss lady spoke to me at the new store about everything and everyone who inspires her, living the best life and loving Singapore for our food and… warmth.
Without further ado, here’s Kikki herself…
THE PEOPLE WHO INSPIRE ME THE MOST — MEN AND WOMEN — ARE PEOPLE WHO HAVE LIVED THEIR LIVES BY THEIR OWN RULES, NOT ANYONE ELSE’S.
On Finding Inspiration
“It’s from anywhere and everywhere — I read a lot, so I get a lot of inspiration from reading. From my travels — I’ve just returned from a two-week holiday and now I’ve got a notebook full of ideas. And from my walks in nature.”
On The Woman Who Inspires Her The Most
“Oh, that is a very difficult question — there are so many. My friend Rebecca is one. She inspires me because she’s living her best life — she’s healthy, she’s fun, she’s travelling, she’s living an amazing life. Then there’s my mentor, Gillian Franklin. She’s really inspiring in terms of business, in what she has created and the way she runs her life with three daughters. Dr Libby Weaver is another inspiring woman. She is one of the authors of our books, and she’s all about wellness — and I’m really inspired by living a healthy life. And then you have, of course, Mother Teresa. There are so many aspects of women that are inspiring. I find that the people who inspire me the most — women and men — are people who have lived their lives by their own rules, not anyone else’s; living out what they love.”
On The Most Inspiring Place
“My home. I travel so much, but I love being home, which is Sweden now. Being home is most inspiring because I feel like that’s where I get a lot of energy. And in nature — I’m inspired on my nature walks.”
On The Most Inspiring Quote(s) Ever
“I’ve got sooo many. I’m a quote lover. The one that pops to mind is, ‘You get what you focus on, so focus on what you want.’ It’s a really simple quote, but it’s so powerful.
I also like this one (flips through her book Want To Start A Business?): ‘The time will pass anyway. You can either spend it creating the life you want or spend it living the life you don’t want. The choice is yours.’
Oh, this one is so beautiful: ‘When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive — to breath, to think, to enjoy, to love.’ Love that.
This one’s really good, too: ‘You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.’ A few years ago, I was reading a lot about habits, and I realised that habits are your life. For example, for me, if I went to bed early, then I get up early and I get space for me. And because I have space for me, I have time to exercise and then I don’t drink as much coffee because I’ve got a good night’s sleep.
On Turning Inspiration Into Action
“I think the way that I’ve done that is to have a really clear vision. For us, that vision is for kikki.K to be in every stylish life around the world. And then it’s kind of ‘I just cannot wait to get up and create stuff’. I love what I’m doing, so for me it’s a natural thing — no one has to remind me to create and take action. I think the answer is to actually do what you love, then it’s easier. My vision and purpose really drive me, and I’m a big goal-setter — I like setting goals and I look at them every day as a reminder. Writing also helps. I’m a big journal writer, so just by writing and processing everything makes me feel like things are coming into action.”
On How Singapore Inspires Her
“Oh, I love the food in Singapore (laughs). I love the warmth. I know a lot of people don’t like that part, but I love it. I come from Sweden! And, of course, the shopping — it’s always great, I love shopping.”
On Starting Her Day At 5am
“Yes, but not every day. As much as I can, I wake up at 5am. I’m addicted to my mornings — I love it because it just sets the pace.”
“I’m like everyone else, of course, but my vision (for kikki.K) has really driven me. There will be some bad days or some doubts or worrying days, but then I think, this is our vision, this is our purpose, so as long as I stick to that, I’ll be fine.”
LIFE IS RIGHT NOW.
On What She Looks For In a Team Member/Employee
“It depends on the role. But in general, I was always looking for the attitude because I think that skills can be taught, but you can’t teach someone a good attitude. I mean, if, for example, you are looking for an accountant — obviously the accountant has to have the skills, but the attitude, I think, is the most important. I look for people who actually want to be there and love what their doing.”
On Being A Good/Inspiring Boss
“(Laughs) I don’t know if I am. I don’t really see myself as a boss, I see myself as a creative director. I don’t run the business anymore, we have a CEO for that, but I think I’m a leader within the business. It’s part of being the person I am, and I always try to inspire people to live their best life — it comes back to The Purpose. I just want everyone to love what they’re doing. I also love having fun. Life is too short not to have fun and create beautiful memories.”
On Her Note-to-future-self
“I would probably just write, “Keep up what your doing”, because I absolutely love what I’m doing. And I’ll probably write down all my goals that I have for the next five years and read them out to make sure that I deliver them. There’s nothing more powerful than writing things down I think.”
On Her Five-year Goals
“Well, I have lots of them, but one I’m going to work on is to become really fit. I exercise, but I feel that I need to get to the next level — so that’s one of my goals. But I also have goals of opening kikki.K around the world and coming up with new and better products.”
On Living The Best Life
“It doesn’t happen every single day because there are always challenges. But it’s about an attitude of “bad days can also be good days” because you can’t just have good days — the good days wouldn’t be good if you didn’t have bad ones. So I think it’s a balance.
Every day I’m grateful. Every single night I think about three things I’m grateful for, and I think that kind of gives me more excitement about life. Some days will be tougher than others, but yeah, I’m definitely loving the life that I’m living.”
I LOVE WHAT I’M DOING,
SO FOR ME IT’S A NATURAL THING —
NO ONE HAS TO REMIND ME TO
CREATE AND TAKE ACTION.
kikki.K is located at Raffles City Shopping Centre (#B1-22) and Ion Orchard (#B2-53)