Get to know "Földlakó"!
As I was browsing on the internet I found this word: "Földlakó", in translation menas: "Someone who is living on Earth". In Hungarian is such a cute and simple word that I fall in love with it and I started to look around the website and I knew back than I once wnat to tell the magic I saw there. Read the story of Juli - who is the founder of the webshop.
Please, tell us about yourself a bit!
I am Juli, before my son was born I was a network coordinator at one the biggest wine brand in Hungary. My responsibility was keeping the partnership and ordering different kind of wines. I loved this type of work and responsibility – also the online work and especially when I had the chance to work and meet vendors offline. On the other hand I feel as an entrepreneur I can truly be myself and of course this way of working is more family friendly, this is the best opportunity for me, for us. I do not have to explain and introduce how difficult is to get back to the job market as a Mom. Being an entrepreneur is another road – maybe the best I could take, for sure it started at the right time.
I have to share, that I love the name of your webshop/brand. I guess this was the first thing has cought my attention. How did you come up with this name?
I do not have one answer for this, I do not really remember. Before I knew what type of business I want to make I had this name in my mind. Originally I planned for something different and at the end it became a toy store. I will not share my original idea yet – as maybe one day I will do that one as well. I love the name as it represents all what I stand for.
Nowadays many shop are present in Hungary who sell similar toys as your shop (nature inspired, wooden, etc.) When you are selecting your products what are the criteria what you follow? Why did you open a webshop?
I choose products what I am in love with. I guess this is the main guide for me. Mostly these toys are made from natural materials but I am not excluding any toys just because it is made from plastic. I believe that plastic can be in many cases an added value after all to a toy (like in the case of Bauspiel toys – where the little windows are made from plastic from all type of see-through colors). My personal favorite ones are the open-ended toys. I find importan tat the planning phase that we have toys in the webshop what you can find only at our store. There many ideas and toys out in the world and I want to bring this diversity to Hungary. Among my long-term plans there is a shop as well (in the physical space), where will be products as well what are close tom e and my way of thinking – like washable diapers, useful gadgets for Mums and Babes. I cannot name any shop like this in the center of Budapest. I choose to open a webshop because we started the business in the year of the pandemic and it seemed easier to start online with less risk. Already the webshop itself was a huge investment.
This shop would be truly magical to have. As I hear you, I guess you always have a new idea, don't you? What does inspire you in the everyday life? Where do you recharge?
I love the creativity of the kids, their imagination, and I love to see in the same time how parents „learn” to play as well. These toys are not made only for the kids – but for the whole family – as the biggest joy is to create together, to be together, I love to see ont he photos the moments of joy when common creations were born by our toys. It feels magical that I could contribute to these moments.
Last year (2020) and also it seems this year of 2021 will be similar for a while - we spend a huge amount of time at home, together. How does sustainability appear at your home?
It started already few years ago but it got stronger (the feeling of I have to change) when my son Emil was born. Our aim is to reduce our ecological footprint – also his – especially this depends only on us. Like we use washable diapers, and also with cloth we buy from local brands. The aim is to have less but with good quality what we can later on use also for a sibling or if not, just sell it with small pay gap. The same with the diapers – used cloth diaper market is living its’ best. It is already a huge thing that I use it with one kid – if I do not use anymore I can still sell for almost the same price. I find important to keep the objects/products in the cycle as long as possible. I choose my son’s toys that I am ready to spend more on it, that after I can sell it for almost the same price. Afterall we buy also many things secondhand as well. My favorites are: Recycled fashion Store, Hagor. Last year I was at a color stylist (Mengyán Eszter), she helped a lot finding my colors and made my selection process easier. My make up products are from KAP – which is a little Hungarian brand – I choose them as they also have as a mission to reduce waste. From many products they sell from refillable ones. Also we are lucky that we have close to our place a local market at every Saturday. It was a pleasure to see that vendors were changing the plastic bags to paper ones or simply they didn’t bring at all as they knew we bring our own bags. In general I always keep an open mind about conscious living in every single decision what I make. I am looking for the alternative solutions as well. That’s why I am happy we have found the compostable courier bag (Thanks to Flockman). Also I reuse all packaging what arrives to our household.
It is a pleasure to read how many things you have been already doing with your family. I say the same - what is investment from our side to it, (hoepfully) our kids will do it with no effort at all - out of routine. The other important question is when you stay home and you are together: is HOW you spend this time. When we are at home and play together how we do it? The toys you sell in your webshop are all open-ended games. What does it mean for you, as a parent?
I think the most important for kids is to play. They learn through playing, they get to know the world through playing, they learn about themselves (physically and mentally) through playing. We only need to let them open and support this with toys – to see all their skills uncovered. It is truly beautiful to observe what they can imagine and play. I love to stop by the room of my son and just see as he is playing – he doesn’t let me in – I just hear from outside as he is packing – and as soon as he is ready he invites us to see his creation. I see him pride and I am also proud of him. If I look at it as adult it is only an abstract creation but he can tell me exactly what he meant. I will not claim that we only have natural, wooden toys at home. We need to find the golden mean. Blocks and rainbows are for example are perfect garage for the Matchbox cars.
How nice is to read about your plans and ideas with "Földlakó". What you wish to reach with it?
I wish to present brand new brands and products here in Hungary. There many great ones what are not ’similar’ products but innovative ideas. My aim is that ’Földlakó’ become a place (even in the online space) where is relaxing to just step in, look around, people are curious what is new. I would love to start a blog next to it, to share tips how to play together. I have many ideas to realize but I think this is the main point of running a business - so slowly but steady all ideas can turn into reality. I am amazed by other bigger toy shops and their community around it (like Babipurra and its’ facebook group). Huge groups, online communities where you can find only support and positive online connections. In Hungary in every online group / community – after a while – people start to nag each other over nothing – even in groups where the goal is common and values (in theory) shared. I would love to have once a supportive online community around Földlakó.
As I see, you have many plans to realize - the question is always the time. I am curious about - how satisfied are you in general and are you satisfied with your business at the moment?
I am satisfied, even – more satisfied I thought before. Both with my business and myself and my family. Földlakó had a great kick off and I have already many heartwarming message and feedback from customers. I am proud at myself and it gives so much strength that I was able to create this. It was a great experience to learn how and what is a website, how is it built up – to see how is the coding – even if I saw it superficially. It feels amazing that I managed to do all by myself and that the result is great and it works more importantly. Of course I see where it can be better, and I have things ahead to do better – but these are plans/challenges what bring me forward.