Lockdown Stories is a series of short interviews with creative entrepreneurs and businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Since its beginnings, the main goal of Future Positive has been to share inspiring projects happening all around the world and, during these strange and difficult times for independent businesses and creators, we want to continue providing support and visibility. If you’d like to be featured in this series, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us your story.
PAKTA STUDIO — Multidisciplinary brand producing ethically hand crafted bags and backpacks and accessories for everyday use
Location: Bratislava, Slovakia
When did the lockdown start for you and how has your business been affected?
The precautions started around the 13th March, when there was the first confirmed case in Slovakia. I guess we were quite fortunate in that we were primarily an online store to begin with, so there wasn’t a great jump in terms of how we had to operate. We did close the store to the public, but as it functions as both a studio and store, we are still working here which is quite lucky for us.
Some places we source materials from had shutdown, and so we had to postpone some projects that we were working on. Honestly we’re just trying to stay positive and empathetic, and focus on surviving as a business through this, and focusing on the community.
Have you found any new ways of working or have you come up with new product ideas during this time?
When masks became a requirement by the Slovak government, we wanted to try and do our bit to help. We put together a downloadable plan for people to make their own masks. People then started asking if we could make them for them, so that’s when we started offering them on our website. We sell them at cost price, and offer a 1€ donation for each mask sold to ‘Kto pomôže Slovensku’, which is an organisation which is helping those vulnerable and distributing materials and equipment during the pandemic here in Slovakia.
With our newsletter too, we’ve also been sharing some of the activities we’ve been doing during the lockdown, in the hope to inspire people and give them something to do during these isolating times. We’ve shared regrowing vegetables from offcuts, recipes for bread and cakes, and we’ve got a few more ideas already lined up for the coming weeks.
We also offered a sale all of our magazines at 5€, just to give people something new and exciting to read during this time that isn’t necessarily on a screen. Asides from that, we have started working on some other projects but nothing set it stone right at the moment!
What are some of the positive takeaways you have experienced during this time?
There’s been a real sense of community and camaraderie during this time, which has been wonderful. People reaching out to make sure everyone is okay, neighbours helping each other, and even within the local businesses there’s been talks on how to help each other. And with the precautions not being overwhelmingly strict in Slovakia, we’re quite lucky that we are still able to go out. So whilst shops, cafes, and bars may be closed, we’ve been going on lovely walks around the city and in the parks and forests.
How do you see your business evolving over the next few months?
It’s difficult to really plan ahead at the moment, as there is need flexibility, just trying to keep up and try and offer what people need. We have a lot of projects that we have shelved away that were put aside for more prioritising work, but now that priorities have changed we will be going back to review what projects we have ongoing and which ones would be best to continue at the moment.