Rainbow Chasers :: Sara Lundgren of Zakkia

Of the many strange and wonderful connections, creative projects and opportunities that social media has lassoed from afar and circled into my orbit, connecting with Sara Lundgren - creative director and founder of Scandinavian inspired homewares label Zakkia is forever going to be a standout and distinct favourite. Zakkia reached out to me about a possible collaboration mid last year, and we set a time to meet in Sydney. As soon as I connected with Sara, and her right-hand lady Emma, I knew this connection was going to be something incredibly special, and enduring. 

There’s just something about Zakkia. The homewares are fresh, exquisite and something of a dream, where Scandinavian simplicity meets the Bondi Coast. I stepped into the Zakkia studio space for the first time, and immediately felt like I belonged. Collaboration wise, there’s a sweet serendipity about joining forces with creatives who are so aligned by ambition, vision and process  - there's flow - and it all just works. Personally, it has been utterly inspiring to meet a brand a few years on from where I am right now (in the very early days) and just imagine the “what if" - to jump forwards and think about the adventures to come. And at our last meeting, we toyed with the idea of coffee before opting to just go for champagne instead, so naturally, the team behind this label are all girls after my heart (!)

Together we very recently pre-launched two special candles, with more to collaborative goodness come. But as is the way with the best brands, there's also a beautiful story to be told, behind the tangible products.

Today I am excited to introduce you to Sara, a lady in demand (most recently, casually featured on The Design Files!)  - I have not a doubt in my mind you’ll adore her and Zakkia as much as I do.

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+ Let's jump right in. In one sentence, what is your raison d'etre? (your purpose, or reason to be)?

I’m here to create, inspire and be inspired.

+ How did you come to be where you are right now?

I have always been excited by design and entrepreneurship and I was fortunate growing up with a design loving family in Sweden, which I think is a pretty creative country as a whole. I loved to build and create as a child and used to set up little businesses on our street with my friends. I came to Australia to study and instantly felt inspired by the beauty of the natural environment, so I decided to stay and work with a small digital agency. My time working on e-commerce strategies for online retailers prompted me to revisit my childhood passions and set something up to combine my love of design and business.

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+ Can you paint for me your big, beautiful vision? What are you creating in this lifetime?

My vision is to share simple design for people to create warmth, expression and atmosphere in their home.

+ What big decisions along the way have brought you to the here and now? The ones where courage conquered fear.

One of the scariest things so far was the decision to grow the team. Things at Zakkia move fast and change frequently and I was worried about finding people who were up for that. We are now a small but mighty team of three and looking for more creative and motivated people over the next month. Looking back I really had nothing to worry about!

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+ Talk us through what typical day in your world might look like.

I don’t even know what typical means anymore, in a good way! Most of the time our days are full of surprises from our stockists, our studio producers and stylists. My favourite days are when new samples arrive and we give the TNT guy a heart attack with our excitement then spend the rest of the afternoon staring at the beautiful reality of the latest design sample.

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+ And when you’re not doing any of the above, where can we find you?

At the beach. The perks of living in Bondi!

+ Down time, and the work vs. life balance deal. How does this vibe with you? How do you make it all work?

In the beginning there were a lot late nights, weekends, ups and downs. But even running on little sleep and toying with the idea of taking up coffee, I was always determined this was the right path. The balance feels natural to me because I’m doing something I love.

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+ When you are creating, what is non-negotiable?

Snacks, preferably sugary in nature.

+ Highlights and radical moments :: what has been your most rewarding project/range/creation to date, and why?

I feel like we have a new moment to trump all others at least once a week! But if I had to pick I think our very first Life Instyle trade show was a huge moment. My boyfriend and I strapped our samples up in the car and drove down to Melbourne, and despite the research and preparation it still felt like a big gamble. Thankfully the design community is such a supportive one and everyone warmly welcomed Zakkia.

+ What three key lessons have you learnt in your entrepreneurial path, which continue to carry you forward?

Follow your instincts, it’s okay not to have all the answers, if it’s something you’re passionate about then it’s worth doing.

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+ What would you tell your five year-ago self?

'Sara, your sister is not your personal assistant’….or is she?

+Who do you look to for inspiration? Who madly lights you up + makes you want to chase down your big dreams?

Australia has a lot of inspiring female entrepreneurs I admire, Lisa Messenger for one. I’m also very inspired by the incredibly skilled artisans we work with in Vietnam for the production of our collections. When I started Zakkia, I made a conscious decision to only work with small, family owned producers for our products, and to have them handmade. One of our ceramics partners is a family owned studio, which are now 9th generation ceramics masters and visiting them always leaves me feeling motivated.

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+ Self-doubt, resistance, creative dry spells. How do you handle these?

To be designing for my own business I’ve had to develop pretty strong self-belief, but in the moments that fails my family, team and the community around Zakkia quickly pull me back into inspired/motivated mode.

+ If you were to hop on a plane tomorrow, where would you go? And why?

I was on one the other day and it was to New York! But while I’m here in the concrete jungle dreaming, and if jetlag was a myth then tomorrow I’d probably hop on a plane home to Sweden for a visit.

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+ What can we expect from you next? What dreams are in the pipeline?

2016 is a big one for Zakkia! We spent last year hatching plans for expansions overseas, and while there is still a lot left to do we are inching closer each day. Apart from that we want to keep creating a wider range of designs and to collaborate with inspiring people along the way. 

I N   A   N U T S H E L L:

Right now I feel… excited!
I believe in… authenticity.
Secretly, I wish… I could magic a chai latte out of my fingertip.
You might not know this, but  … I used to be a cheerleading coach in Sweden.
I couldn't live without...blueberries.
The best advice I’ve been given is... Take a conscious moment to appreciate everything around you.

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Last but not least, where can we find you, online?

+ WEBSITE: www.zakkia.com.au

+ INSTAGRAM: @zakkiahomewares

+ FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/ZakkiaShop

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photography by Sam McAdam-Cooper // styling by Corina Koch.

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EKCo. x

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