In this episode of our Inside the Outdoors, I interview Julie Adams, Founder of Pakems.
Pakems are the lightweight packable shoe designed to take with you while you PLAY HARD. The perfect solution to slip on so you can sit back and RELAX HAPPY.
The journey began at the beginning of 2011, when founder and CEO, Julie Adams, left her career after 18-years as an in-house employment lawyer. After another day of rushing to pick up her son, Bodie, from daycare, Julie made up her mind that she no longer wanted him to be the last kid picked up and she wanted to be more in control of her time so she could spend more time with him.
Three months into her sabbatical, Julie went with a group of friends to Cortina, Italy, to ski the beautiful Italian Alps. Because Julie was not able to keep up with the other skiers in her group, she found herself at the rendezvous spot, at the top of a mountain, in chairs designed to soak in the sun, and having a cocktail. She was enjoying everything about this amazing experience except for her uncomfortable ski boots. To relax, she took off her ski boots and used them as a footstool.
What transpired next is truly the genesis of Pakems. When Julie’s friends arrived, she wanted to buy everyone a round of cocktails, so she had to put her ski boots back on. When she got back to her chair and took her ski boots off again, Julie said to a friend, “I wish I had some packable shoes with me so that I could put them on right now.”
With the spark ignited, when Julie returned to the states, she attempted to find packable shoes on the Internet. Much to her surprise, and delight, she couldn’t find anything that existed like what she had imagined those shoes to be. Excited and determined, Julie had found the answer to what she was going to do next for work; she was now officially a mom-prenereur.
The first order of business was to somehow come up with a shoe design. Julie had a very specific idea in her mind of what attributes she wanted in these shoes; packable, lightweight, water-resistant, warm and of course COMFORTABLE. Julie went to Portland, Oregon, and met with a couple of ex-Nike footwear designers about her new idea. After several months and countless back and forth communications, Julie had her final design and a “shoe-lution” boot was finally born… Pakems!
The goal that Bodie be picked up every day at the end of the school day has been accomplished. And Bodie has been very involved with Pakems, as a product designer (The Bodie color your own shoe), marketing guru (Bodie put together a video and stated “Pakems make your feet HAPPY”), and sales kid extraordinaire (at events he loves to tell everyone that will listen to him about Pakems).
We continue on this journey and our mission remains the same as when Julie first thought of the idea on that mountaintop in Italy – provide the world with a lightweight, packable shoe because LIFE IS AN ADVENTURE – TAKE THEM WITH YOU.