StartUs Presents: Pikkpack

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Pikkpack: lasting footwear that fits inside an envelope. Find out how Hungarian designer Sara Gulyas creates fashion that makes users connect with it.

Describe PikkPack in 50 words or less.

PikkPack is a DIY footwear that starts out as a flat piece of premium quality leather, then the wearer can transform it into a 3D piece of clothing by assembling the shoe with a contrasting cotton lace.

Why did you decide to pursue your own dreams rather than someone else’s?

Since I was a kid I have been feeling this constant need to create something really valuable, to make an impact. If you have something in mind that you really want to achieve, why would you try to work on pursuing someone else’s dream? Actually I was a bit afraid in the beginning, I really needed the feedback and support from other people to make sure that it was worth going forward with my idea. My boyfriend had a huge role in convincing me that I had to share my design with the world and to try to set up my own business. Now it’s obvious that it was the right thing to do.

7 years from now: How did your startup change the world?

Pikkpack puts the concept of footwear in another perspective. It’s not just another nice-looking fashion product. A pair of Pikkpack is small and flat enough to fit in an envelope which itself revolutionises the logistics of storage and transportation. It improves the user-product connection and gives an alternative to decrease waste and shipping cost and to tackle throw-away fashion trends. 7 years from now, many people all around the world will wear a footwear that is uniquely theirs because they could take an important part in the manufacturing process. A footwear that also helps them participate in a conversation about waste and consumption.

In what ways do you measure your success and how do you make sure you don’t lose track?

I try to collect as much feedback as I can and to communicate with my customers. The most important thing to me is the way the wearers see the shoes and how much they love Pikkpack. The interest of the media and the opinion of my friends and family are also good indicators.

Describe your typical working day from coming to the office to leaving it.

After cycling to our gorgeous Budapest studio each morning, the Pikkpack team kicks off the day at 8.30 am with a follow-up session, where the three of us discuss the essentials and the daily To-Dos. After that we drink our morning coffee and then start the work. I work on my laptop almost all day long but try to have recharging breaks every three hours. Around noon, we usually go for lunch to our favorite restaurant on a nearby street and then we work till 6 pm.

Already pivoted? Did customers use the footwear like you imagined it in the beginning?

At this moment more than 200 people in the world have and wear Pikkpack. We have received so much good feedback from satisfied customers, so I’m quite satisfied because this is what I dreamed of when creating Pikkpack. We started with a working prototype that has changed over time, but the basics are the same. I hope we will launch many other products with similar success.

Bootstrapped or financed: What fuels your startup now and what will in the future?

We have received a funding of 20.000 USD on Kickstarter that made the whole business start. At the beginning we were looking for investors for quite a while. However we couldn’t find anybody we had the right chemistry with, so we decided to take another direction and try to grow organically. We have done everything out of our own resources, which we are really proud of. Of course, we are still open for funding and it would help a great deal, but not at any costs.

With ferocious competition and a booming trend to build new companies: How do you make sure you don’t get lost in the shuffle?

Sometimes we do but it’s not a problem. I think it’s very important to stop from time to time and think over your initial objectives. We try not to forget to constantly reflect on the competition and on the things that are happening to us. The team spirit and the shared values are also essential to keep us going strong.

What do you look for in team members?

First of all, dedication and willingness to learn. These are the things that really matter, because you can learn everything if you put the time and effort in it. We didn’t have business experience or other related skills when we started Pikkpack. We just knew what we would like to achieve and believed in the product. If we are looking for a new member, we are looking for somebody who we could also go out for a drink with. It’s a small team with only a few members so it’s very important that we are in a very good relationship and love to hang out together, not just in the office.

Why would a talent join your team?

It’s a great place to learn new things and to experiment. Basically, there are no rules set down. You can be creative and come up with new ideas all the time. You can have the possibility to discover what sorts of things you are good at, what types of tasks you enjoy because you can gain insights into different areas of the business from research to marketing. Besides, we are cool people so you can work in a motivating team!

What was your most memorable moment so far?

I remember quite a lot but perhaps when we reached our goal on Kickstarter. We had worked for that moment for about eight months and had been through many difficulties. It was amazing to feel that all of those efforts were worth it in the end.

What advice would you give fellow founders for their startup?

The most important thing is that hard work will eventually pay off. If you put a great amount of time and effort in something, sooner or later you will see the results. Besides knowing this, try not to lose focus, and stick to your company’s initial mission. I don’t mean that you cannot change directions or adapt to the market, because reactivity is one of the most important advantages. I’m just saying that it’s crucial to review again and again the company’s objectives and go back to the starting points, to remind yourself and to rethink why you started the whole thing.


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