Sitting down and interviewing Nina Nguyen – CEO and founder of Pakko, I was in awe of her passion and love for boxes of all shapes and sizes. Whenever I asked her a question about starting the company or about how she got into the industry, I could see a sparkle in her eyes and it is a for sure thing that she loves everything about the industry.
Before we get into the interview with Nguyen, let’s find out a little more about her and about the company she founded and is the CEO of – Pakko. As the company website describes it, Pakko is:
Made in Australia by Australians, using locally sourced materials. All to ensure that ‘Aussie‘ quality. Having helped hundreds of Australian businesses custom design their packaging boxes, we can tailor your cardboard packaging needs to fit any size and business requirements you have.
Its mission is to empower brands to create emotional connections through custom packaging.
As for Nguyen, she actually grew up in South Western Sydney and comes from a Vietnamese cultural background. In 2008 her parents made a lifestyle change and moved to Queensland to pursue a life of farming with a focus on Asian vegetables. Not long after, Nguyen followed and moved over to Queensland and ended up studying rural studies to gain an understanding into the industry.
Her love for packaging came from a collaboration with her parents in transporting the Asian vegetables all across the country in boxes and working out how to maintain the resistance and freshness of the vegetables being transported and that is where she founded The Box Company in 2011 and later on used those experiences and started Pakko. As to more about who Nguyen is, here it is from the woman herself:
Well, I like to call myself a very creative and visual person, and this is something I constantly aspire to keep learning. I am a very curious person and have always wanted to understand more about things in general which sparks interest in me, and over the past few years that has been about boxes, which has become my hobby and passion, Nguyen expresses.
When I go out shopping or visiting manufacturing warehouses, I am always looking at the box and packaging and inspecting its quality and how I can be more innovative and improve on it. That is the real me.
And how about getting into business? One of the most difficult things to do is to start from square one and become a business owner. Despite all these obstacles this is the vocation that Nguyen pursued as soon as she finished high school.
Well, I started my first business when I was 18. I was quite young and tried this knowing that my parents worked hard my entire life as refugees to Australia. They gave me an opportunity to go through the Australian education system and that has allowed me to gain all this knowledge. I didn’t just want to start a business, but I wanted to build a legacy, so the first business I worked on was in the fashion industry. I later moved to beauty, marketing and body tattoo industries and learned lessons from all of them.
I ended up selling these businesses in order for me to be able to start The Box Company and now with Pakko. I really went through a journey to get to this point.
Being in the box and packaging industry, a curious question came up about what sets Pakko apart from its competitors and from countries where importing boxes and packaging may be cheaper etc.
I guess what sets us apart is our custom print and no minimum order of quantities. We cater to all companies and needs – big and small orders. So if you are a start-up and order a custom brand print and logo and only need 50 boxes, that is not a problem. Most other packaging and box companies require quite a large quantity for them to fulfill the order.
We also have a very quick turn around with fulfilling orders with custom print orders taking around only 10 – 12 working days and that gives us a competitive edge as for the majority of our competitors it can take weeks.
Finally, we touched on the topic of advice. Being a woman of Asian background in an industry which is dominated by men and in particular middle aged white men, what advice does Nguyen have for up and coming Asian/Asian Australians who are interested in starting their own businesses?
I would just say GO FOR IT! Don’t just sit there and wish for it to happen, but just do it without over thinking too much, because when you do sometimes things just don’t happen. Of course there are considerations, but I would always encourage anyone to give it a go. For me, I have always had the mindset that if I want to do something, I would just do it regardless. At the worst I will just fail and can move on with something else if that happens.
You know, many people who start a business don’t succeed in their first attempt. One idea doesn’t mean its the only business idea you will have because things will change with your journey and experiences and that may change your business ideas in due course. My best advice is to find something you are passionate about and just do it because it is only this way where you will feel a sense of accomplishment and succeed.
An inspirational woman for sure for. Great words and advice from a true businesswoman. Want to know more about Nina Nguyen and Pakko? Well, click here to check out their website.
Header image via Pakko website