7 things in her bag: Kikki.K founder Kristina Karlsson

7 things in her bag: Kikki.K founder Kristina Karlsson

Even in this digital age, entrepreneur Kristina Karlsson, 40, has managed to find success with her stationery brand Kikki.K.

Fifteen years ago, the Swede started her business in Melbourne with her Australian husband, and it has grown to 70 stand-alone stores in Australia, seven in New Zealand and one here at Ion Orchard.

Beginning with storage boxes, its range of products now includes greeting cards, notebooks, writing tools, bags and homeware that are designed by Ms Karlsson.

"There is room for both paper and technology. I feel that there is something about putting pen to paper; it's a nice feeling when you know that someone has taken the time to write a card," says the award-winning entrepreneur. Among her accolades is the 2007 Victorian Young Business Woman of the Year award.

Fears of being a bored housewife led her to start the business.

"I complained a lot about not knowing what to do with my life. One day, at 3am, my husband made me write down what I wanted to achieve and running a business was one of them," says Ms Karlsson.

"To kick things off, I decided to start a home office but I couldn't find any stylish office tools. That was when I knew what business I would go into," she adds.

Growing up, she always had an appreciation for paper products.

"Going back to school after the holidays was something that I always looked forward to because I could buy new notebooks and pens. Starting a new notebook has such a positive feeling," says the mother of two.

While the brand is based in Australia, the Falkenberg native says that its aesthetic is as Swedish as it gets.

Shoppers will be hard-pressed to find anything loud, as the brand is all about a clean and simple style. This will be a plus point for Ms Karlsson, who has set her heart on entering the Swedish market. There are also plans to open stores in Hong Kong and New York City.

It comes as no surprise that the entrepreneur is very well organised.

She has a notebook for just about everything and even one just to jot down Christmas gift ideas.

Her favourite product is the 101 Dreams Journal. It comes with pointers to help guide thoughts, which she says is perfect for someone who wants to start writing a journal but does not know where to start.

"I'm a big believer that everyone can dream; it doesn't matter how much money you have or don't have."

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