EIA 021 Tech My Clothes Away
Barbara Yu Larsson is the founder and CEO of PAKT, which is a Hong Kong-based startup which offers a creative tech solution to the acute space issue that plague all city dwellers globally. Prior to launching her business, Barbara had careers in investment banking and executive search in New York, London and Hong Kong. She has lived all over the world and in her own words has “a wanderlust”. She is multi-lingual and has an extensive and diverse global network.
Barbara discusses how her change from the corporate world into the world of tech was unexpected but developed out of her own need and thinking of a solution to the problem of what do you do with the clothes that you don’t need now but you will need when the season changes and limited space. The idea extends into wardrobe makeover, vintage clothing care, sustainability, the use of organic clothing care products and clothes sharing with your best friends.
Growing a tech company that provides a much needed service that catches the eye of established players that see the benefits of creating strategic partnerships is something that was not originally planned for but came out of focus groups. This led to partnerships with “Quintessentially Lifestyle” a famous worldwide an award-winning luxury lifestyle management & concierge service company and using a range of products supplied by “Mrs. White’s”.
Barbara’s adaptability sees her develop skills as a councillor and coach during the financial crises to help men and women in their prime overcome the disaster. She is then able to use these skills to build PAKT.
How it is possible to create a tech startup with no tech skills of your own apart from being numerate and wanting to… and to communicate successfully your vision to the other three core members of the team who are themselves engineers with varied interests.
As your startup develops the benefits of having outside opinions in the form of WHub and Karen Farzam (interview here) give you advice that enables you to raise the level of your pitches to a conversation where you know every detail of your business.
Family support to is important when the decision is made to build a startup and if you can get your children involved to suggest name that is short, relevant and reflects trust; and also provides a great source of interns that are a vital part of many successful startups.
In just over a year the company has grown from an idea to four core members plus six in the office and two more about the join.
While Barbara does not believe she is successful she is following the path of “If there is a will there’s a way and being flexible, willing to pivot and that the original idea can change based on the customers feedback” is a vital part for the success of a startup.