When is the last time you bought a good old fashioned compact disc? I’m betting it’s been a while. But despite our digital existences, there is a novelty to physically holding our favorite book, magazine or cd. ‘ZinePak (pronounced zeen pack) hopes to bring back this delight and inspire fans with their media packs which include exclusive merchandise from our fave entertainers and more.
We caught up with the co-founder Kim Kaupe to get the ‘ZinePak scoop.
What first drew you to entrepreneurship?
I think what drew me to entrepreneurship is what draws most people-the ability to create without limitations, bosses to tell you ‘no’ and the blind eagerness to believe that you will succeed no matter what.
Describe the moment when you realized you had to do this.
Brittany and I realized we had to quit our jobs when we did a list of pro’s and con’s and the only two things on the con list were “No corporate 401k” and “No steady income upfront.” And what do you know, we are in year two we have set up a ‘ZinePak 401k and have six people on staff. We solved the “con” list pretty quickly!
What inspired ‘ZinePak, and what makes it so killer?
The inspiration from ‘ZinePak came from my co-founder Brittany’s background and love for all things music and my background and love for all things magazines. We took these two passions and formed a configuration that combines these in a 360 degree experience for fans.
What makes ‘ZinePak different from other companies is that Brittany and I turn down projects that we ourselves wouldn’t want in our own collections. No matter the money, no matter the exposure. If we think it’s a lame project we don’t do it. Most companies will do anything for a buck but for us there is a quality test of “Do we think this is rad?” “Would we buy this?” We have no Big Agency Finance department who is expecting us to hit a certain quota every quarter which allows us the freedom to work on projects we feel are amazing.
How has work on ‘ZinePak been different than other projects you’ve worked on?
When the startup is your own there is a bond that is hard to put into words. You slave over it, you cheer for it, you cry with it, and when you put it into other people’s hands you are nervous beyond belief! The lows are very low but the highs are higher than Brittany and I could have ever dreamed.
We have an amazing team around ‘ZinePak consisting of the best lawyer, CPA, co-workers, contacts, and friends in the industry who always root for us. It’s nice to know that when we say, “It takes a village” that the village supports us through it all!
What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you in your entrepreneurial / startup life?
Funny moments seem to surround ‘ZinePak, probably due to the fact that we promote individuality and personality. Brittany and I have the best time just chatting with clients which has lead to football bets, shot-taking contests, and, my personal favorite, one client who would prank call us.
This client, who shall remain nameless, would get five free minutes out of his day and call us pretending to be a salesman or telling us that he had secured a huge deal only to burst out laughing. This was an SVP, not an assistant! We still laugh about it but deep down are proud that our clients have that much fun working with (or pranking!) us.
What’s the best startup advice you’ve ever received?
“Ask for forgiveness, not permission.” People are much more understanding of an empathetic, “My goodness I’m SO sorry I had no idea,” then they are of a “Ummm… is it ok if I do this?
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs who are just starting out? What’s your “golden rule” of entrepreneurship?
Treat your clients the way you would want to be treated. Do you want people to email you back within 24 hours? Return your calls by EOD? Then don’t avoid their calls, emails, or try to stall their questions. Better to fess up and say, “I’m working on it but I don’t have the answer yet.”
Who or what inspires you?
I find inspiration in the craziest places! Music – obviously. Friends – no brainer. Even my family during the holidays! However sometimes the best ideas come from my 9 year old cousin McKenzie. Simple questions that she asks of the world, “Why can’t my XYZ do ABC?” “Why doesn’t this function work?” are the best to work off of!
What’s the greatest / most challenging thing about being an entrepreneur?
Lack of time. Be prepared to go from being an MVP in the friendship game to just ‘ok.’ A super-amazing significant other to one that ‘tries to make it on time.’ Your business life consumes you! You are the ringleader of the circus there is a performance everyday. There is no typical “weekend” or “spring break,” so the most challenging thing is finding that balance of work and play.
Also, if you haven’t talked to your mother/sibling/boyfriend/girlfriend in 3 days you have probably gone overboard.
If you could have lunch with one person, who would it be, what would you eat, and what would you talk about?
Oh this is so hard! Can I make mine a group lunch?! I have a list of people I am determined to meet. I would invite Judi Dench, Julie Andrews, Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan, Harrison Ford, and Robert Redford. We would lunch at one of Robert’s restaurants on his property in Sundance. All farm to table of course! Topics would range from life in the 50’s, what it’s like to adapt to technology, and their thoughts of where we will be in 50 years!
What websites, apps, and other tools can you not live without as an entrepreneur?
Listed in no particular order. All of them are I-would-die-without-you-stage-five-clinger.
- Constant Contact
- (Selfishly) CNN.com – If not for this site I would have no idea what’s happening outside of my startup bubble!
What is your music-streaming site of choice, and what are you currently listening to?
At this exact moment I am listening to the unbelievably-talented, and wonderful friends, St. Lucia. If you haven’t heard their tunes head over to Spotify or turn on a Victoria’s Secret commercial (they are that catching song in the background!).
Working in music we are exposed to a ton of up-and-coming bands and I think 2013 is going to be great year for new artists like Alabama Shakes and Miguel to have a voice in mainstream media.
Do you have any charitable endeavors or organizations you like?
I sit on two charity foundations that I am very passionate about. The first is The TJ Martell Foundation which has roots within the music industry. I have sat on the Annual New York Family Day Committee for two years. I also volunteer at events they do throughout the year here in the city to benefit cancer research.
The second is a large philanthropic organization called the Andrus Family Fund. The Andrus Family Fund is a subsidiary of the Surdna Foundation one of the largest family foundations in North America. Our two main areas of grant funding are Foster Care (teens aging out of the system at age 18) and Community Reconciliation.
Has being an entrepreneur affected your personal life?
Gone are the days of rolling into work hungover and hiding at the back of the meeting. Gone are the days of cutting out at 5pm to catch a flight. And WAY gone are the days of taking a personal day to catch up on your errands. Your work becomes woven in to every aspect of your life. You are texting under the table at a birthday dinner, waking up early on a Tuesday to watch a client’s performance on the Today show, and telling your mom that you only have one more email to send before Thanksgiving dinner.
I always tell people it’s easy for the entrepreneur to be an entrepreneur. It’s hard for family, friends, and significant others to become a supporting role in the three ring circus of an entrepreneur’s life.
What lessons have you learned from entrepreneurship that have enriched other aspects of your life?
Becoming an entrepreneur has helped me value the time spent with friends and family more than I ever have before. It has also helped me prioritize what’s most important to me and what really needs my attention that day, that week, that month, etc. You are forced to put your own lines in the sand between work and play since you have no boss to do it for you.
Where are you based and what’s the local startup scene like there?
We work out of a fantastic collaborative start-up space called WeWork. They nurture entrepreneurs with community activities, networking events, and providing access to hundreds of people who are all going through the same struggles as you!
We are on the top floor of their Madison Avenue space, right across from the Empire State Building, and always welcome new friends to stop by!
A lot of the entrepreneurs we talk with have dreams of traveling. Is travel something that interests you? Why do you think that travel is such a popular desire amongst entrepreneurs?
Travel aspirations are a no-brainer for entrepreneurs. Our brains are wired to explore, discover, and are in constant search of inspiration. My business partner Brittany and I both love to travel and encourage each other to do so frequently. We are lucky to be Co-Founders as it is easier to leave the helm of the ship knowing it’s in good hands. Allowing the person who is traveling to truly disconnect and experience their trip to the fullest.
This year I hope to get back to Europe and hopefully another trip to somewhere warm. If you have any suggestions of tropical must-see getaways shoot them my way!
Where can our readers reach out to you?
I’m always up for witty banter and new friends at any of the following locations…
Thanks, Kim! Love to see female entrepreneurs rocking it, and the ‘ZinePak Girls are no exception. Well done, ladies!