A couple of nights ago, guest editor Taryn Kutches did us all a favor and shared her 10 must haves for pumping while on the go. We hope it streamlined some planning for those of you in the beautiful trenches of nursing. Tonight, I wanted to share her story with you. I’ve featured a few female entrepreneurs who left a career to pursue another, but this one is still doing both and raising a daughter.
Taryn is from Norton Shores, MI, a small beach town on the west side of the state, where she lives with her husband Pete, a four-legged son Tahoe, and their daughter Parker. During the week she does the 40 hour grind as a sales engineer in the automotive industry. When she’s not at her day job, she’s sleeping, keeping up with her daughter and working hard on her passion project: Parker Design, of which she is co-founder of.
What is Parker Design? A fashion brand hoping to re-think women’s fashion and positively changing the world at the same time. They’re beginning with the woman’s most important accessory: Her bag. A backpack named the “Rosa Pak” to be exact.
Entrepreneurship Tip: If you thought you had to know exactly what you wanted to create from the get-go, or that you had to like your co-founder, you might be in for a surprise. Here’s what I learned from a brief interview I did over email with Taryn:
Nicole: Parker Design has such an interesting story. How exactly did you go from automotive sales engineer to designer of Parker Design Co?
Taryn: I’ve always known I wanted to pursue my passion, but the problem was, I wasn’t ever totally sure what that was. I didn’t have an obvious passion like cooking, or painting to pursue so like most, I went to college and got a job. Over the years I have come up with ideas like opening a coffee shop, or an event planning business, but the thoughts of these never seemed to give me anymore satisfaction than I currently had. I started noticing at my 8:00-5:00 that the things that really got me going were things like office culture, and team building. I then realized that maybe my passion was entrepreneurship and having the ability to form a workplace that I can be proud of and a place where people are proud to work at. Once I knew I wanted to start something of my own, I had to figure out what that was going to be. I started looking for gaps or improvements in activities or products we use every day, and I noticed that majority of men in the automotive industry carried backpacks to and from work, but not many women did. I started casually asking some women why they didn’t carry a backpack and nine times of out ten, their answer was because they couldn’t find one they liked. I knew I would want a product like the Rosa Pak, and so did many other women, so I saw a need for something in the market, and went for it!
Nicole: What is special about the Rosa Pak? When I first saw it, I thought it might help women store/carry their breast pump. Is that what you had in mind or is it much more?
Taryn: The Rosa Pak has the three things that I couldn’t find in a backpack on the market today: Fashion, Function, and Affordability. I spent hours looking for something that had all three of these features, but could only find backpacks that had one or two of these qualities. As a full time working mom who just finished a one year long breastfeeding journey, I definitely made sure to design the Rosa Pak so that it was capable of carrying a breast pump, but the Rosa Pak is intended to be a backpack you can use every day to and from work. It is stylish enough that it won’t totally ruin a good look, but functional enough so it won’t kill your shoulder all day long. I love that you can dress it up, or keep it casual. It is great for women who carry laptops whether their commute is a 30 minute subway ride, or a quick walk down the block to the local coffee shop.
Nicole: The “PAK” philosophy seems to be an important part of your company. Can you explain how it works and how you decide on what to do with the PAK?
Taryn: PAK’s (Parker Acts of Kindness) is the foundation of who we are. I mentioned earlier that I wanted to create something that I could be proud of, and I knew in order to do that, I needed to find a way to improve the lives of other individuals. My co-founder and I started talking about how we could give back with revenue from selling products, and we talked about companies like Toms and Warby Parker. We love their business models, but we wanted to do something revolutionary and different. We were discussing this, and I threw out the idea of random acts of kindness and we moved passed the idea at first, but we kept coming back to it and eventually fell in the love with the idea.
Five dollars for every product sold will go in to a PAK fund. At the end of each month we will conduct a PAK in value of what is in the fund at that given time. For example, if 100 products are sold in a month, we would have $500 to conduct a PAK. A PAK could be something like, purchasing a gift certificate at a local coffee shop and asking the attendant to use it on all future orders until the card is depleted, or purchasing toys or books for a children’s hospital. The beauty of the PAK’s is that they are designed to be truly random. They are about positively impacting the lives of complete strangers. We not only want to create a sustainable company, but we want to create a community that is committed to kindness. Can you image what the world would be like if everyone was just a little bit kinder?
We hope our brand and The Rosa Pak will inspire people to be kind to one another so they can help us fulfill our mission to positively impact the world.
Nicole: Looking forward to seeing the price point and final design of the back pack! Is there anything you’d like people to know when it launches?
Taryn: I always love seeing behind the scene pictures, and hearing how companies got started. We are documenting our journey on instagram @parkerdesignco and on facebook @parkerdesign. I think it’s important to be transparent about the good the bad and the ugly of starting a company and developing a product.
Nicole: I imagine it’s not as easy as it sounds to start a new venture and I hope you have a good support system behind you! Thank you Taryn for sharing your entrepreneurship journey with us. I look forward to seeing the Rosa Pak launch and the subsequent ripples from the PAK! It really brings new meaning to a ‘little kindness goes a long way’.
A few fun facts about Parker Design
- The idea for our company name, Parker Design, was inspired by my daughter, Parker. She is the one who really pushed me to make all of this a reality.
- My co-founder is actually a dude, and we couldn’t stand each other when we first met. His name is Brian and we work together at our 8:00-5:00. When we first started working together we constantly argued and never seemed to be on the same page. We knew we had to fix that, so we sat down and hashed it out. To our surprise, we actually had a lot more in common than we both thought and we realized our differences complimented each other. The rest you can say is history!
- The Rosa Pak is named after Rosa Parks. We wanted to make sure the name of the Rosa Pak and all future products for Parker Design had a meaning. We decided we would name all of our products after influential people in history.
If you’re looking for a mom friendly, practical yet stylish work backpack visit: www.parkerdesignco.com
Let me know what you think about this month’s featured woman story! What kind of story would you be interested in hearing next?