Until recently, we didn’t know where the Pakt One project would take us. Like so many things in our short history, our decisions were inspired and influenced by this awesome community of fans, friends, and supporters.
Just over a year ago I reached out to The Minimalists to see if they might be interested in collaborating to relaunch a bag I had designed and they had carried in their documentary. At the time, I was working on a new venture called SeaHive to fight the problem of plastic waste in our oceans through design and I was reluctant to detour from that. I had no idea where the call would lead us, but felt compelled to at least explore the idea of a relaunch since so many people had asked both myself and The Minimalists about the bag. What a crazy ride we’ve had since then!
Obviously, we decided to go ahead with the relaunch and began work on designing the updated Getaway bag. The new company would be called “Pakt” and the updated bag, the “One”. All of us involved with the project agreed that we would start with crowdfunding and see how it went. If it were successful–and more importantly, if we enjoyed it–we would decide how to proceed from there.
As the founder of Pakt, a lot of the decision on whether to produce the bag and then go back to other projects, or continue building on the momentum, lay with me. We launched on November 7th, 2017 and within a few hours we had a success on our hands; one box checked and some relief. In mid-December a few of us made a short notice trip to Vietnam to work with our manufacturing partner. At that time, I was very torn about whether to continue Pakt One sales beyond crowdfunding or just produce the bags we had sold and then return my full attention to SeaHive. Then, something unexpected happened that changed my, and the team’s, perspective.
From Vietnam, we sent a newsletter with a few survey questions which encouraged you to ask us questions with the simple goal of better understanding your opinion of Pakt. We received many more responses than expected and they were more sincere, in depth, and thoughtful than we ever imagined. We were completely blown away. Here’s a small sampling of the hundreds of responses:
“What is next for the team once the campaign closes? Are any members branching off to pursue others projects based on this work?”
“Has working with The Minimalists in any way changed your approach to making products in general?”
“Do you plan to expand the range of products in the future after the success of the Pakt One? What other types of products might be in the pipeline?”
“Does the perceived success of the relaunch inspire the team as a whole to want to make more meaningful creations?”
“Would/will you continue creating things with good quality and every-day-solving goals now when you are halfway through your first bag?”
“What is the most amazing thing that's happened since the Indiegogo went live?”
“I'm interested to know when the Pakt Two will come out! Thanks for everything you all are doing, I'm so proud of this movement!”
The way I see it, creating one successful product is much easier than creating a unique brand that resonates with your community. Your responses made it clear to me that we have the hard-to-come-by seedling of something with the potential to be much bigger than the One and bigger than us– an organization positioned to challenge the status quo around how business is done, how products are produced, and how the world thinks about consumption. THAT is exciting to me, and it’s an opportunity that should not be passed up.
Less than 48 hours after sending the survey, I discussed the new perspective with Sara, who has been a big part of making all this possible. I told her that if we were going to make the huge, time consuming, and potentially risky step of growing Pakt, I would need her help doing so. Her response: “We’d be crazy not to. Let’s do it!” and right there in Vietnam, over lunch and a beer, the decision was made.
So, why did it take 3 months to make this announcement? Going from a single project to a business is no small undertaking. There was a lot of planning to do, all while tending to our top priority of ensuring production of the Pakt One runs smoothly for on-time delivery.
Here are a few of the things we have settled on:
- The Pakt One will be available for sale after the crowdfunding campaign ends here on paktbags.com
- We do not plan to offer our products through other retailers at this time. There are several reasons but the main one is that connecting directly with our customers in a meaningful way is one our favorite parts of this journey, and we don’t believe it’s possible to do so with a middle man between us.
- Pakt will work to create additional unique and refined, responsibly-sourced travel accessories.
- We made new friends and had a lot of fun with the project. We don’t know who will be involved in future projects but no matter what, the ethos and style of all our partners including The Minimalists, Matt D’Avella and Sprout Studios, are now baked into our company’s DNA and will always influence who we are and what we do.
- We are growing our team to add the necessary bandwidth to tackle the upcoming projects the right way.
- In line with our beliefs on “intentional consumption”, we will expand our product line with “intentional production”. We would rather have a small line of great products where each product clearly adds value to people's lives rather than grow the line simply because “That’s what companies do.” or “That’s what retailers expect.”
- We’re planning on adding another bag and accessories that have been requested soon, but it looks like our next project is going to be for all the coffee-loving travelers out there. Stay tuned for more on that soon!
Your response to that survey was the tipping point that made me realize that we should continue Pakt beyond the crowdfunding campaign. It also changed my view of doing so from lukewarm to full blown excitement. I’ll admit though, there was also a tinge of “Holy shit, are we really doing this!?”
Indeed, we are.
Thank you all for being awesome and joining this fun ride!
Designer of the original Getaway Bag and Founder of Pakt