Kiki is the founder of heiter magazine, as well as a writer, stylist and consultant for fashion & lifestyle brands.

We’ve admired Kiki’s style, effortlessly enthusiastic and positive presence and amazing business skills for as long as we’ve been running NUDITEA.

Having collaborated on a couple of Q&A lives with Kiki in the past, we were so excited to reverse the tables and chat to Kiki about life, business and the pursuit of heiter-ness.

Hi Kiki. Tell us a bit more about yourself…

Hello, thanks for having me! Kiki is short for Katharina. I am in my mid-thirties and live in the Austrian countryside with my husband Ben, our two kids Julius (2) and Clara (2 weeks old) and Rock, the border collie. I run a mindful lifestyle & fashion publication called heiter and do some additional work as an online presence & marketing consultant for independent brands.

How did you start your creative journey? What do you enjoy most about the work that you do?

I’ve always been creative. As a kid and young teen I spent hours drawing, writing, designing clothes and styling myself, my siblings and friends. That was definitely the reason I felt so drawn to the fashion industry: I spent most of my adult life working in luxury fashion and had various roles in copy writing, fashion styling, marketing, people management and more.

Studying Fashion Media & Communication at London College of Fashion fuelled my passion for magazine publishing. I first started the digital version of heiter as a creative project and side-hustle when I graduated in 2016 and decided a bit more than a year ago to go full-time with it. The first heiter print publication launched last week, which is a big dream come true!

What I love most about my work is the curating aspect but also that I get to style, write and take photos. I really enjoy collaborating with other creatives, researching mindful (fashion) brands and small businesses that I can feature in my content. There is also the community work that is linked to the heiter brand: over the years I’ve been lucky to meet wonderful like-minded people.

I regularly chat and engage with them, and quite a few of them are also part of The Heiter Society, a community membership that I launched to strengthen the feeling of connection and Heiterkeit (which is the German word for cheerfulness/joy) earlier this year.

We love your style! Joan Didion once wrote a list of everything that she packs for a trip. What would be on yours?

Thank you for saying that :). Joan Didion was an inspiring woman: what an honour to use her packing list as example! Here is mine:

  • 2 pairs of mum jeans (one lighter and one darker pair)
  • 1 daytime dress (which is very likely to be a vintage one)
  • 1 oversized (vintage) blazer in a neutral colour
  • 1 jumper or cardigan
  • 2-3 t-shirts (usually also vintage, I tend to pack more because life with little kids means having to be prepared for all sorts of scenarios/happenings)
  • 1 “fancy” top to dress up my jeans if necessary e.g. for a dinner out
  • 1 pair of flats or sandals (depending on the time of the year)
  • 1 pair of sneakers
  • Jewellery: these days I tend to wear 2 crystal necklaces my husband gave me, 1 pair of golden hoops, 1 ear cuff, my engagement + wedding rings, a ring my grandmother passed on the me years ago (she sadly passed away in February and I haven’t taken the ring off since)
  • Underwear, socks and at least 1 pair of black sheer stockings
  • An oversized t-shirt to sleep in slippers
  • Woollen socks for chilly nights
  • A journal + pen
  • A good book (and/or magazine)

Do you have a morning ritual? How does this shape your day?

On a working day my morning starts just before 6am and there are a few bits to it that have become a bit of a ritual for me. One is having coffee and a little chat with my husband before our kids wake up. Then, once the boys have left for work and daycare (and if the baby is still asleep), I take my time to have breakfast and a cup of herbal tea without any distractions. I then move on to listening to a podcast or audio book whilst getting ready. I always make sure that I listen to something that makes me feel good, and that is not business related so that I don’t risk getting stressed early in the day. At the moment my “feel good” audiobook is Pride & Prejudice. Before I sit down at my desk, I listen to a motivational mediation. That really swings me into a heiter mood and sets me up for my day.

What’s your favourite tea?

My favourite has always been peppermint. I also adore Gingerbread Chai and After Eight (Thirty) from your selection.

What keeps you grounded? How do you practice self-care?

I think having kids can be quite a grounding experience :). Jokes aside, I try to regularly check in with myself and make sure that certain bits in my life still feel right and sit with my values – that is something I particularly pay attention to when it comes to running my business. It’s important to me to be authentic and if something feels too pressured/not in line with what I want to communicate anymore, I make changes. To me self-care also means looking after my skin (which I do daily, in the morning and evening), regularly spending time outside and movement that I enjoy e.g. dancing, yoga, walking, rollerskating.

Where do you feel the most at peace?

First up is my happy place London. I lived there for a few years and still feel like I can be myself there, without being judged. Plus I love that the city offers endless opportunities and I get to do many of the things I enjoy. Then I would say pretty much every place by the sea: the waves and smell of salty water instantly calm me down. Last not least, at home with my little family.

Do you have any words of wisdom for other creatives or people who admire what you do?

Be kind, courageous, authentic and most importantly, yourself. Never take others for granted. Also, you and your journey are unique: nobody can walk this road the way you do.

And finally, who or what inspires you?

Iris Apfel because she still proves that fashion is fun and that there are in fact no rules when getting dressed. Then also Java Bere and Hannah Bullivant. We moved house a few weeks ago and are still in the process of making our new place feel like home. I love Java and Hannah’s homes for inspiration. I know she’s a source of inspiration for many in the creative/small business community and therefore, mentioned a lot but I look up to Sara Tasker too. It’s just incredible how she built her brand. I love that she’s given so many other creatives hope by setting an example and showing everyone that one can make a living with their creativity. Other than that, I find nature, people watching (e.g. from a cafe window) and travelling in places like laid-back California inspirational.

Please share any small makers or businesses that you love:

Singer Rebecca Promitzer for always believing in me and being one of the first people to teach me that I can follow my heart. Jo at Firain for writing my favourite email newsletter. Fabeltisch, a small ceramics business from my hometown Graz: I love their range. French jewellery brand tête d’orange: I used to work with the founder and admire her journey. Also, her upcycled jewellery is really cool and I can’t wait to own one of the pieces myself. Then Caroline Rowland from 91 magazine and Annika Bielig Bussman from Soulbase Magazine for their (professional and emotional) support when bringing the heiter print publication to life. Last but not least, Barbara’s, a small bric a brac in Berkshire: we used to live on the other side of the road and I loved going round there to find little gems for our flat and chat to all the lovely people who work there.

Please share any products, books, or other tools that you use a lot and love:

Two books that come straight to my mind are The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and Untamed by Glennon Doyle. A meditation app I use a lot is Insight Timer. When it comes to work I couldn’t live without Canva anymore and since I am a massive skincare fan I’d like to mention the Nurture face oil from Phoenix and Providence which is amazing!