Nice to Meet You, I'm kika

photographer

video maker

creative

knitter

Who am I?

I’m a creative photography expert, DIY enthusiast, social media geek, ex contemporary dancer and a passionate knitter. In the last 4 years I’ve grown an audience of over 300K on Instagram and YouTube where I share my signature style creative self portraits and photography tutorials.

I’ve got no formal photography training, I hadn’t been blogging for a gazillions years before I became a fulltime content creator and no, I didn’t “stumble” upon success.

I did it through small intentional steps, and I’m all about sharing those so that anyone with a creative dream can do the same 🙂 I didn’t know what a hashtag was when I started, but now I make a living as a photographer, video maker, social media biz whiz and educator.

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Get To Know | Kika


Where I’m based:
I live in Helsinki, Finland

Can’t Live Without:  My cat Luna, my boyfriend and knitting

what is kutova:   It means knitting in Finnish

Where I feel the most inspired:  Alone out in nature

Describe yourself in one Word:  Bubbly

Secret Talent:  Moonwalking 🙂

where it all started...

When I was 4 I wanted to become a princess. When I was 7 I realised this would be tricky to pursue as a career and decided I wanted to become a gardener. Then my cactus died and I needed to take a hard look at my future plans.

One of my favourite things to do was to drag my portable cd player to the living room and dance to the beats of The Supremes, so when I was 13 I decided I wanted to become a dancer. Soon I was 16 and 23, and the only thing I still wanted to do was to become a dancer.

After years of hard work and thousands of late night dance classes, recitals and performances, I finally got my MA diploma in dance in 2016.

But, I didn’t want to be a dancer anymore.

Umm… excuse me, what just happened?

Just like that the dream I had been grinding so hard to achieve in my Fame inspired leg warmers and dragging my ballet slippers to Boston, Berlin and Amsterdam to find the best teachers and schools, was Poof! suddenly just gone like that.

It was so hard to accept and realise that the goal I had worked so hard to achieve my whole life wasn’t what I wanted to pursue as a career anymore as an adult.

I felt like I was pulling the carpet from under my own moonwalk.

Which, by the way is a pretty cool move so I guess the 16 years spent dancing 8 hours a day wasn’t a complete waste after all!

the toughest decision of my life

I spent a few years feeling overwhelmingly lost and without direction. To make the situation feel even more desperate and seemingly hopeless, I moved away from all my family and friends in Helsinki to Stockholm to be with my then partner. I was living in a new place and felt like I had to start from scratch without knowing who I was.

I spent all my awake time thinking about what I should do with my life and the pressure to make a living and finally become a responsible adult was lurking behind every corner.

I wasn’t in my art school bubble anymore and suddenly the reality of life and being on your own became very real.

I had a lot of time on my hands as I refused to get a “real” job and only had part time jobs that barely paid my bills.

I think this refusal to grow up was: 1) me being stubborn but also 2) I knew that this was a moment where the decisions I made now would potentially determine my whole future.

If I’d gotten a regular 9-5 office job at this point, I might’ve gotten comfortable with that and then I would’ve missed this one opening I had to to pursue my insane and wild dreams.

I figured I had nothing to lose since I was broke and lost to begin with, so I embarked on my entrepreneurial journey without knowing where it would lead.

saved by instagram

As a passionate knitter and long time knit blogger I started to sell my knits and made a website for my new project. I changed the name of my Instagram account to @kutovakika (which means Knitting Kika in Finnish) and started to post pictures of my knits.

I quickly noticed I really enjoyed editing and posting pictures.

Then, in 2017 I discovered that people were making a living only taking photos and posting them on Instagram, and I was fascinated.

People were actually making a living sharing content inspired by their lives, some in really creative and artistic ways, and I was intrigued by the freedom and, to be honest, the seemingly glamorous lives these people called “influencers” were living.

The insanely unrealistic idea that I could ever become an Instagram influencer popped up in my head, and since I’m an overly ambitious person who thrives on challenges, I knew this was what I wanted to pursue.

setting out to build something from zero

Equipped with an iPhone 4, a lot of determination and a hunger to learn more, I closed my knit shop and focused all my efforts on trying to get featured Instagram’s page via the Weekend Hashtag Project, aka the #WHP.

Back in 2017, Instagram would announce a new photography challenge each weekend with the chance to get featured on their 200M+ page.

I had seen others grow their accounts rapidly and often over night by being featured, and being the observant little pringle I am, I figured this would be a good way to challenge my photo skills and hopefully, eventually, get noticed by the world.

I also started a blog, made a new website and poured all my time on learning about the Instagram algorithm, researching hashtags, figuring out my photography style, learning to use Photoshop and get better at editing.

After about 6 months of posting daily and spending a ridiculous amount of time making photos and obsessing over Instagram I woke up to find my photo had gotten featured.

My account grew from about 2000 followers to 6000 overnight, and a few months later I hit 10,000 followers.

That first feature was the sign I needed that I was on the right path, and even though it would take another year or so for me to get my first paid collaboration on Instagram, I was over the moon.

Since then I’ve gone through moments of feeling insane self doubt, broken down from the pressure to keep producing and sharing content all the time, struggled to believe in my work when growth stagnated and still sometimes wonder how on Earth I went from being an art major to making a career in social media marketing?

But, it’s also been the most satisfying journey I’ve ever experienced in building up something from zero with no one telling me how to do it, all fuelled by my own discoveries and curiosity.

Every message I get from people all over the world saying they got inspired by my work, or that my work sparked their curiosity to go out there with their camera or start an Instagram account or found their passion for visual storytelling makes me feel this is what I was meant to be doing.

Social media and creating content online can often get trivialised and putting flowers in your boots isn’t exactly going to save the world, but if I can make a small positive impact on someone’s life by sharing the beauty I see and get inspired by, I feel it matters.

I’m so grateful for having this creative career that allows me to freedom to work on my own terms from anywhere in the world.

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