What is it about the Swedes? They seem to have been scattered with just a bit more style dust than the rest of us. That’s what I was thinking when I met up with Kristina Karlsson, founder of kiki.K, the stationery brand quietly sweeping the world. Her brand of beautiful notebooks and journals, cards and pencils is proving a giant hit with Millennials due to empowering messages of ‘living your best life’ (Kristina’s life mantra) scattered throughout the the product.
Kristina’s a fellow stationery freak (obvs) so I knew I was going to get along with her, but there’s something just a bit special about how she approaches life and I came away from our meeting hugely inspired about more than just her paper quality.
At 57, I’m now aware of my mortality. If I live until I’m 80, I’ve got another 23 summers, if I’m very lucky. It’s around now that we start to apply some perspective to later life and what it’s going to look like. I haven’t got a clear plan. Yes, it involves all the usual stuff about keeping close to my family, taking time to smell the roses, doing work I love and all of that, but what else? What haven’t I done? What do I want work to look like as I get closer to retirement age? Do I even want to retire? (no, actually).
All of this whirls around my foggy brain, usually at around 2.00am as I lie wake (again) wondering.
Kristina knows what to do. She is definitely someone who doesn’t faff about blithering and actually gets on and does stuff. And in a fun way too. She conducts dreaming workshops, because some of us world-weary, cynical, brow-beaten women have forgotten how to let ourselves dream, we’re so bogged down in the everyday and keeping all those balls in the air. The workshops helps people formulate their thoughts and help people list, enjoy and then share the experience. From the workshops to the action plans artfully set out in her note books, she makes you think you can achieve.
If all this sounds a bit too self-helpy, then I’m explaining it wrong. For example, the notebooks Dream, Do, Enjoy and Share are not just beautifully made, they are like friendly nudges towards where you want to go. There’s even a 3.00am Journal for those weird, menopausal thoughts.
If you’re struggling with the concept, just ask a Millennial, they get the power of a well crafted phrase (they read them all day long on Instagram) but there’s a lot we can learn from this too. Later life, or even tomorrow, needs planning, sometimes we get stuck in a rut. And we no longer have to write job lists on a scrappy Post-It note, we deserve a lovely book, with gilded edges and soothing colours to help us on our way.
it’s not hard to understand why stationery is having a ‘moment’, the touchy-feeliness of a beautiful notebook in this digital age has real physical appeal. Kristina thinks so too, her lovely shops are popping up all over the globe and are a treat to shop in. I asked her what it is about stationery we all get so excited about. ” I think” she said, “it’s linked to when we were young and started school, the excitement and promise of that fresh clean notebook. I don’t think that feeling ever leaves us.”
She’s been ‘journaling’ (writing in a note book daily to you and me, but journaling sounds so much more exciting) all her life and claims it’s kept kept her sane throughout her career. She actually keeps two journals, one for pages of unconscious writing (inspired by Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way) which she does first thing in the morning as a way to work through daily issues. And then a life journal where she keep quotes, ideas and information she wants to hold onto. Any excuse for more notebooks is fine with me.
As I was looking through the selection of cards and diaries before I met Kristina, I wondered if we needed a different type of language for us grown up women. “I’ve never really thought about if it’s a different conversation for older women”, she replied. “I’m 44, and for me it’s an attitude. We only have one life, live it so we don’t regret anything at the end. I’m not sure there’s much difference in the message. You just need to keep on learning and developing healthy habits. it’s not like you get to 60 and think you’re done.”
Let’s hope not. Kristina sad she’s be up for having a specialist workshop for TWR in the new year if there was enough interest, so if you fancy a dreaming and doing brainstorming session (with lovely stationery) to sort out the rest of your life, leave us a comment below.
Meanwhile do check out the gorgeous selection of goods on the kiki.K website, or pop into one of the ever increasing number of stores opening up. They are a real treat.