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Meet Claire Sunderland, Erika Aldeborgh and Nicole Kennedy of Pika Products

Today we’d like to introduce you to Claire Sunderland, Erika Aldeborgh and Nicole Kennedy .

Claire, Erika and Nicole, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
We (Erika and Claire) came up with the idea for Pika Products in January 2018 when we were both frustrated with packing our backpacks for weekend trips to the mountains. Erika had never used packing cubes before and Claire was frustrated with the lack of quality available on the market – especially since they needed cubes to withstand the elements of the outdoors when backpacking, camping, skiing and more. We spent the first half of 2018 coming up with ideas and prototyping our vision. In the fall of 2018 we had our prototypes and had two big tasks ahead of us: finding a manufacturer and figuring out how to pay for the cubes. After doing some research, we landed on Colorado Contract Cut & Sew to manufacture our bags (it was important to us to stay local to Colorado and ideally Denver). We recruited some friends to help with videography, photography, music and editing and spent the fall creating our Kickstarter video. In October of 2018, we approached Nicole for help with the Kickstarter budget but ended up bringing her on board as the third partner and CFO at Pika Products. We then spent a couple of months building out our Kickstarter page and putting the finishing touches on everything before launching our Kickstarter in January of 2019. We were successfully funded in February of 2019 and the truly hard and stressful part began! Over the next few months, we sent out surveys to backers requesting sizing and color details from them and ordered all of the materials needed for the bags and additional products offered on the Kickstarter. After multiple hiccups along the road, our materials all made it to the manufacturer in May and we began production in June. The road was not always easy – we’re going to be about 6-8 weeks late delivering bags to our backers and we’ve run into a lot of snags along the way – but it’s been an awesome and fun learning and experience and we can’t wait to continue to grow Pika.

Has it been a smooth road?
I don’t think anyone who has tried to start a company would say it’s been a smooth road but I will say we could’ve run into more problems than we did – although who knows what’s to come.

To start – when we came up with the idea we decided to go to Joann’s fabrics to get some materials and wound up hot gluing what would essentially become our first prototype. We brought this to a manufacturer who all but laughed us out of their office but did recommend an awesome product developer in Boulder who went on to build the remainder of our prototypes.

After deciding to do a Kickstarter to raise money – we had to figure out how to make a Kickstarter video. Everything we read online said the video was key and to probably spend roughly $5,000 on it. Hello! The point of us doing a Kickstarter was that we had NO money. Luckily we were able to recruit some friends to spend a few days filming with us and to put our video together.

Once we had everything ready for the Kickstarter – we hadn’t prepared to give Kickstarter multiple days to approve our project (this was our mistake/lesson for not doing our due diligence). Luckily this only put us off a couple of days on starting the Kickstarter and didn’t have an impact but still a lesson learned!

The biggest struggle has been ordering materials and keeping everything to the standards we want them at. We’ve had issues with different companies only taking certain methods of payment, sending us product that isn’t up to the standards we’ve hoped, sending the wrong amounts of fabric and more. It’s been stressful at times – as is expected when you’re trying to start a business and keep customers happy – but overall it’s been a very positive experience, we’ve learned a lot and we feel very fortunate to have come this far. If we weren’t running into struggles, we’d be more concerned 🙂

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Pika Products – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Pika Products is a female founded company that specializes in making outdoor specific packing cubes. Our target market is individuals who spend their time camping, backpacking, hiking, skiing or doing other outdoor adventures and need help organizing their backpacks. Our cubes are water resistant and durable, made to withstand the elements of the outdoors. The two larger sizes have a unique compression feature that enables you to roll them into a smaller sized cube to fit into different areas of your backpack. With the two larger sizes you can also attach small straps to convert them into their own smaller daypack for shorter adventures.

We are most proud of being a female founded company aiming to help more people get outdoors.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Denver is awesome – it has great people, good restaurants and so many fun things to do. But if you asked us – the best thing about Denver is that it’s in Colorado and therefore gives us so much access to mountain adventures and enables us to get out of the city every weekend to do something fun – whether that’s camping and climbing or skiing or, on those rare occasions, having the opportunity to mountain bike, climb and ski all in the same day!

What do we like least? The traffic.

Pricing:

  • Small bag – $25
  • Medium bag – $35
  • Large bag – $45

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Nomadic Gear
Rick Siegrist

Getting in touch: VoyageDenver is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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