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.
I’m here to create, inspire and be inspired.
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.
+ 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.
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!
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.
At the beach. The perks of living in Bondi!
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.
Snacks, preferably sugary in nature.
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.
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.
'Sara, your sister is not your personal assistant’….or is she?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
+ WEBSITE: www.zakkia.com.au