Each month, we like to spotlight our merchants who have founded businesses they love. This month, we’re highlighting one of our own. Volusioneer Malik Fair had an idea to create a diaper bag for dads. Dubbed Papa Paks, Malik created a patent for his product and embarked on his ecommerce journey. Read on to learn more!
Malik Fair is sitting at his desk in the Volusion corporate office in Austin, finishing up a phone call with a customer when I sit down to chat with him. He has a smile on his face while doing what he loves: interacting with Volusion merchants. When he finishes his call, we start to talk about his new business endeavor. His beaming passion for small business immediately starts to shine through.
Who they are + what they sell
In his own words, Papa Paks is “a brand and a bag company that is designed for the millennial or everyday papas out there. There’s nothing else in the industry out there specifically for us. The baby industry is pretty focused on the mother — understandably, because they do so much — but us dads want to be just as involved.”
I wanted something different.
So how did he get his inspiration for his business? “My son sparked it. Specifically, the baby shower kicked it off. My girl got useful gifts, my son got useful gifts — and I just got gift cards,” he laughs. “It made me think, wow, there’s just not much for dads. Then, once my son was born, at first I was using her diaper bag, which was yellow print. I wanted something different. I tried to use my Nike gym bag but quickly realized a regular gym bag doesn’t have the compartments needed. Wipe slots, diaper slots, bottle warmer or cooler, key rings. Things you don’t realize until you have a kid and have to take them out into public.”
A lightbulb went off
Malik realized there’s a huge need for stylish, functional diaper bags for dads. And he could be the one to make it happen.
So Malik got to work. He partnered with his brother, an international business relations professional, and began designing on a prototype. Once they got that designed and produced, he began to set up his Volusion store and work out other business details.
Malik brings a unique perspective to becoming an ecommerce business founder. He’s been working with Volusion merchants for years, which has helped him in his own entrepreneurial undertaking. “The cool thing about my role at Volusion,” he says, “is that I hear about our customers’ successes, as well as their pain points, so I’m able to learn from that.”
Malik’s business is almost ready to launch. So how does he plan to get the word out about Papa Paks? “Social media is the big one,” he says. “There are so many self-serve social media marketing platforms, like Facebook and Instagram. You can reach millions of people that way.” He adds, “We’ll also be doing some grassroots marketing. Austin is a very cultural city, so I plan to partner with boutique shops here. We also hope to partner with corporate companies to offer Papa Paks gear in paternity leave packages. That way companies can provide new fathers with something unique and useful as they enter fatherhood.”
Stick with your gut. Don’t be impatient. Don’t be afraid to fail — because you’re going to.
I ask him about his business process, and he offers some sage advice for new business owners. “Stick with your gut. Don’t be impatient. Don’t be afraid to fail — because you’re going to. But then you’re going to learn from that mistake and better yourself. There will be bumps.” He tells me an example of a “bump” in his business experience. “I didn’t realize we had to have FDA approval on our bag,” he smiles and shakes his head, thinking back on the realization. “Any product that claims to have a ‘cooler’ or ‘heater’ function has to have FDA approval. So that set us back a few weeks. But it was a valuable lesson learned. And we got the FDA approval, which just makes the product more marketable.”
We’re excited to see one of our own Volusioneers launch a business. You can continue to follow Malik’s journey and even get one of your own Papa Paks for a papa in your life by checking out https://www.papapaks.com/.