Stockholm, Sweden

Annica Eklund

How to turn dreams into reality

Annica Eklund, Creative Director of Bolon, talks, walks, lives, and dreams as if the horizon is right in front of her. As if it was something that can be pursued and reached, not 10 years from now, not 5 years from now, but tomorrow. Needless to say, she is not easily intimidated.

At the age of 45, she decided to switch careers and pursue her dream of becoming a photographer, and today she has established herself with clients within fashion, interior design, and the art world. 

A quote you included in one of your exhibitions a few years back said ”A dream is worth nothing if you leave it on the pillow”, tell me about it. 

Annica:

Ambitions and dreams go well together, and I always strive to make them come true - even though some dreams are more difficult than others to achieve. I dream, but I would not say that I am a dreamer, I rather spend time on making them a reality. I came up with this quote while I was walking the streets of London a few years back. I saw some street graffiti that said something about dreams and then it just came to me. I was about to curate my first big art exhibition and immediately felt that this meant so much to me.

Do you dream big? Have you always? 

Annica:

Mostly I dream about new design collaborations, unique pieces, or new destinations to go to. It helps me stay creative and elevate my work. Why not dare to dream big, you only have one life, right? 

Tell me about Bolon...

Annica:

Bolon is a design company that designs and produces highly durable and sustainable flooring. Bolon was founded back in 1949 by my father's father, which makes my sister and I the third generation in this company. Back then, he made rag rugs, and when my father took over he developed the business into caravan rugs. Today, we make floors for bigger spaces, like stores, airports, and even hospitals. Our export is huge, but everything, from the threads to the actual floors, is produced in our hometown Ulricehamn in Sweden.

How have you made an impact on Bolon?

Annica:

When Marie, my sister, and I took over the company in 2003, our biggest dream was to collaborate with brands and designers that we loved and looked up to, to anchor the company even further in the world of design. Since then, that is one of many dreams that has become reality because we dared to dream it because we were confident enough to ask. Today we are working with some of the most inspiring brands worldwide within design, architecture, and fashion. 

What's next for Bolon? 

Annica:

We are looking into a completely new business area right now. So, in the future, hopefully, one may be able to dress the whole room with Bolon, but that is all I can say for now. But it’s very exciting. 

I just had to follow my passion and give it a go.

Six years ago, you decided to pursue your dream to become a photographer on the side of working full-time, how has that journey been? 

Annica:

As someone with a creative mind and head, you always seek to challenge what makes your head spin, so I just felt like I had to follow my passion and give it a go. Of course, it has been and still is, hard work, and I really challenge myself all the time. Photographic composition is about so much more than just a good photo. One has to think about the images, what they are saying, and how they make people feel. I am so glad I dared to jump on an entirely new career path as an adult. It has been so important to me both as a person and as a businesswoman. 

So on a personal level, what's next for you? 

Annica:

I want to continue dreaming big. For myself, with Bolon and everything in-between. I don’t want to get too comfortable and stay in the same place for too long. I need life to keep moving and give myself new influences. That's how I stay creative, and that’s how I make dreams turn into reality.

And we have to ask, how do you prefer to sleep when you are coming up with new dreams? 

Annica:

In crispy, soft, cool sheets in harmonized colors. And to me, the temperature is almost as important as the sheets. I need it to be a bit below average.