YKRA TEAM: JUCI BALOGH & BALÁZS LAKATOS
To celebrate our birthday and 10 years of adventures, we’re bringing in the whole team. For our latest round of YKRA FACES, you’ll get to meet us all. First up, join us behind the scenes with YKRA’s founders, Balázs and Juci!
As the founder of YKRA, how would you introduce yourself? Do you have a specific role or favorite task within the brand?
If we want to put a title to it, then I’m the product designer, and sales manager at YKRA, but as one of the founders, you can always find me doing very random things. I often say that I've had to do all of the jobs at the company at one time or another, which is quite exciting and lets me have a very clear understanding of how we operate.
My passion is product design and creative directing, managing the brand identity, and I overlook the brand communication too. I also love going outdoors on our photoshoots, to help with location scouting or just to drive the crew to wherever we are going to.What does a typical day of yours look like?
I start my day with an espresso and a trip to the kindergarten before arriving at our office, at around 9:30. We work until 3 pm with the team and usually eat lunch together, in a super friendly familial vibe. After work, it's back to the kindergarten, before heading out into nature or the Buda castle district to walk with my son, Áron. We have dinner at 7:30, then read bedtime stories before going to sleep. On the weekends we like to go sailing to Lake Balaton. It's something I’ve been doing since I was a child and I really enjoy it. Flowing with the wind while the sun is going down behind the mountains on the northern side of the lake is where I am at home, and feel most at peace.Your backpack is a classic, is there a story behind it?
I have a tricolor MATRA MINI LSB. When we started to source our leather from Italy, I had to test it for durability, and I’ve been using it for the past two years on a daily basis. It's my daily carry, and it gets thrown around a lot. It's actually been hand washed for our care video, but I am not the type who really cares for it to be clean, I appreciate the worn, authentic look.What’s in your backpack?
Notebook - For jotting down important stuff and quick drawings of product ideas, this is where most first come to life.
Laptop - I’ve been using the same old Macbook air since 2013, and it's still going strong. I believe in buying quality products and using them as long as possible. My new LAPTOP CASE is the perfect accessory for it. I’ve been waiting to finish this product for a long time and I love it. This might be my new favorite YKRA product!
Pencil case - I’ve been using this same old pencil case that I made myself from some fabric leftover from the first pattern that Levi Csordás designed for us about 7-8 years ago.
Minolta Camera - Love this little old analogue camera. I use it less and less, but I plan to get back into analogue photography, it's something I really enjoy.
Klean Kanteen water bottle - This is my son's water bottle and I carry it around for him on a daily basis.
BOO Studio beanie - My Team Zissou hat with my bird pin. Made from merino wool and keeps me warm!
Monocle - I like to stay up to date with what's happening in the world. We have an international presence and it's important to be one step ahead of the game.
Komono shades - The Beaumont, a nice classic sunglass I bought from the Zun Store here in Budapest. I like it cause it's laid back and cool.
Swiss Army pocketknife - A family heirloom, my pocket knife is always nearby for solving any boy scout issues that I might come across.
Mini Wallet - I use this on a daily basis. When I designed it I was inspired by the old school dog collar chains we used to chain our wallets to our pants back in the ’90s.
As YKRA’s co-founder, what’s your role at the brand?
In the past 10 years, I’ve done almost every kind of task in the company you could imagine. But for a while now, I've been in charge of YKRA Kids.
How does your day look like, and what are you up to outside of work?
I usually get up early or my son wakes me up (earlier than I would like), and we try to get to the kindergarten on time—with varying degrees of success. I usually work in the office until the afternoon, but in the year and a half behind us, I’ve mostly been working from home. It’s been a positive experience in many aspects, but it also has its downsides. Our team is close-knit and has missed working together, so we’ve been looking forward to getting back in the office, and working as a team again.
After work, together with Balázs we go and collect our son from the kindergarten followed by a bike ride or a walk, sometimes meeting up with friends, or if the weather’s bad, we go to the library. I also like spending time alone (and it’s something I need) so when I can, I try to spend a little bit of time by myself—that’s my time for yoga, reading, or just to calm down and recharge.
From spring to autumn we commute between Budapest and Lake Balaton, and we try to spend time outside as much as we can in the colder months too, so we like to get out of town almost every weekend.
What’s in your bag?
I’m the type of person who carries way more stuff than what actually fits, and it’s the same situation with my side pouch. It holds a surprising amount of stuff! I always have a lot of small bits and pieces on me: my wallet, phone, keys, tissues, hand sanitizer, lip balm, earphones, USB converter, etc.
Snacks: The first question my son asks after I collect him from kindergarten is what I’ve brought with me to eat, so I always have some snacks on me.
Matchbox, crayon, pencil: You can always find yourself in a hard situation with a threenager :D So it’s useful if you have something with you that can solve it anywhere you are!
Pen & notebook: There are so many online apps, but still, to keep track of my to-do list, I feel the need to write things down by hand.
Ebook Reader: It fits perfectly in the side pouch! In general, I prefer to read paper books, but the thing is, ebooks come in super handy when I want to have more than one book on me to read.
Photos by Botond Wertán