My little chat with the PK team…
1) Tell us a bit about your business and when you started it
PaperKrane is all about bringing fun and fashion to the functional footwear market. It started a few years back, in 2012, on one lone sewing machine and has grown from there.
2) Tell us a bit about yourself and your family
TeamPK is now two Melbourne based mums, Kate (mum of 1 – Wren) and Zara (mum of 3 – Lyla, Levi, and Mila). We consider our kids to all be a large part of the PaperKrane family, they inspire and motivate us daily, and with their help we are growing our brand along with their growing feet!
3) What was the main reason why you started your business?
The business was initially started because (Kate loves shoes 😂) there was a real lack of shoes that actually stayed on babies feet, and looked cool at the same time. The aim to keep creating foot development friendly shoes grew further when Zara and Kate teamed up in 2016 to take the shoes to the next level – by adding rubber sole options and a larger size range. We will always aim to make shoes that are easy to get on, that stay on, that won’t restrict the way children want to play, or affect their foot development.
4) Any major obstacles you had to overcome to get your business up and going?
I guess our biggest obstacles have come with outsourcing the production of the shoes. The footwear industry in Australia pretty much up and died in the mid 90’s, so we tried very hard to find ways to keep production here, but there really was nowhere we could go to get what we needed done. Through some of the contacts we made during that time, we were able to connect with some very talented people in Vietnam. And that’s where the shoes are now made. Of course that brings a whole new set of hurdles with it. We always want to stay very hands on with the design and production of our shoes, which is hard when you live so far away from your factory… so we have now been over there 9-10 times during the past 2.5 years!
5) What’s been your biggest business (or personal) achievement so far?
For me (Kate) I think the biggest biz achievement has been seeing that first lot of ‘new’ shoes arrive with our unique flexi soles on them, and the response we’ve had to them. (Also I’ve loved being able to see some of my own drawings and designs on the shoes, too. That’s a pretty awesome feeling!)
For me (Zara) it came when I realised that I’m doing exactly what I’ve always dreamt of! Back in the day, I was working full time as a lawyer at a large global law firm, pregnant with my first child and studying fashion part time on Saturdays as I always dreamt of being in the fashion industry. On the side I was making baby quilts and clothes and dreaming of one day combining my legal and entrepreneurial skills with my creativity. And here we are! We get to design shoes whilst still running a business – one of the most scary, daunting and exciting things you can do!
6) Why do you like having your own business?
In the beginning, this business was started before I even had a child. So I knew I wanted to create a job doing something I love, that I could do from home when I did have kids.
It’s definitely given me more freedom to be home with Wren, and also gives me a sense of pride and self worth to see where we are now, and that Zara and I are somehow able to run this between school drops offs and play dates, and the rest!
Running your own business allows you to inject your own self into your work, more than anything else can. We literally offer ourselves up on a plate to our customers as every little decision, sleepless night, shed tear, laugh and creative thought that has passed between us is what’s led to the PKs that they’ve put on their precious little one’s feet.
And the thrill we get from seeing the photos of kids in our shoes, gives us an overwhelming sense of pride and achievement. This business is like our 5th child, and this complete sense of ‘ours all the way’ is the best part of running our own business.
7) What would we find you doing on the weekends?
Kate – You can find me probably editing photos for the website and social media, at sports on Saturday mornings, and grocery shopping on Sundays. I’m super boring. Lol
Zara – My weekends are filled to the brim with my kids, shuttling from soccer and footy matches, dance classes, youth group and multiple playdates and sleepovers – it doesn’t stop! I’m lucky in that so many of my good friends are parents of my kids’ friends, so in and amongst all the chaos, I get to spend lots of time with people I love!
8) Do you ever manage to get any ‘me’ time – if so, what do you get up to?
Kate – Kind of, and not really! Although now Wren is at school I have started to book appointments I need to go to during the day, and every now and then my husband and I will catch an early movie and then do school pick up (Don’t tell Wren!)
Zara – My me time is going for runs and catching up with friends, and you’ll rarely see me just stop and chill (I don’t know how to)! But I wouldn’t have it any other way!
9) Tell me one random fact about yourself?
Kate – I’m a left-handed Kiwi… ok that was technically two.
Zara – I desperately wanted to be a mum from the time I was about 2 years old!
10) Top 2 films you’re happy to watch again and again
Kate – That’s a hard one – Bridesmaids, and The Sound of Music. (And a tonne more! Thanks Netflix!)
Zara – Hmmmmm! Ummmm, Sex and the City movie and Beaches (hard to choose 2)
Exclusive offer – $20 off when you spend $100
50+ Exclusive Offers
Access 50+ Exclusive Offers (aka discount codes) to use at various stores around Australia and New Zealand.