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In this month’s YKRA Faces, we had the pleasure of talking with Évi and Zoli, the founders of Pauza, a select store in downtown Budapest. If you’re looking for a great selection of useful objects for your home based on traditional values, Pauza is the place to visit. With items sourced from small, sustainable businesses focusing on both beauty and functionality, the store is a treasure chest for mindful consumers. The couple gives us a peek inside their YKRA gear, as well as their weekdays. Read on for more!

Tell us about yourselves, how did you two meet?

Évi: Our story is an interesting one: Zoli and I have known each other since our teenage years. We’re both from Cegléd and used to hang out in the same friend group. It was just simple stuff, like going to the city center together and teenager shenanigans to kill time. That was our starting point, then we then lost touch — but life pulled us back together again eight years ago. Zoli had finished a seven-year stint in Ireland and I had just quit my job as a manager at a multinational company after a managerial burnout. So we met at a time of new beginnings for the both of us.

How and when was Pauza founded? 

Zoli: We’re not only business partners with Évi, but we’re also a couple in our private life. After reconnecting and six months of dating, we decided to go on a backpacking trip around the world — we started West, headed East, and visited ten countries in one year. It was on this trip that we truly got to know each other, and where the idea behind Pauza was born. Once we came back home, we co-founded the company and started a new life together in 2018. To this day the two of us run the business by ourselves, so we’re practically together 24/7.

How would you describe Pauza?

Évi: Pauza is a select store in downtown Budapest. The term “select store” is a Japanese term that refers to a boutique-like store, where you can find a wide selection of brands and products  from other small businesses, chosen by the store owners. 

In short, our concept at Pauza is that we sell everyday objects. In our selection you can find household items, home furnishings and lifestyle products as well — we call it a store for the modern home and life based on traditional values, focusing on both form and function. We’re also big about voluntary simplicity, which shapes our concept as well. We don't stock any electrical or technical products. Another curatorial influence is the the concept of mingei (民芸), a “folk art” trend originating from the mid-1920s in Japan; it's about finding beauty in folk crafts and the everyday objects we use at home, taking into consideration traditional methods and design, simplicity, and functionality.

These concepts shape our store from time to time. When we opened our doors five years ago, we had a lot fewer products than we do now, but we’re conscious of moving forward in small steps.

What are your roles in running Pauza? 

Évi: We complement each other very well, so thankfully our roles have worked out nicely, and we’re able to divide our tasks easily. 

Zoli is in charge of finance, logistics, and is the all-around problem solver of our team. He prefers working behind the scenes.

My role is handling Pauza’s marketing tasks, social media pages, as well as focusing on product development, product testing and brainstorming. 

It's part of our concept to give our faces and names to the brand, obviously within certain limits and boundaries, so I try to get Zoli in front of the camera whenever I can — he can’t stay behind the lens forever! Another important aspect is that when a customer enters Pauza, they’ll meet us. We greet our guests from behind the counter, and apart from preparing packages, we help them choose between products, give advice and provide support when needed.

What does your average day look like at the store?

Évi: We’re usually together all the time, but there are a few hours in the mornings when we go our separate ways. I usually get up earlier and head to our favorite local coffee shop where I’ll get going with my tasks next to a cup of coffee, and Zoli arrives a bit later.

Zoli: I process orders, send out invoices and do general business admin tasks in my own little office at home. Afterwards, I’ll go meet Évi at the coffee shop for a meeting at 9 o'clock. In our morning meetings we’ll plan out the day, our tasks, and schedule events for the week. As we live within walking distance of the store, we open Pauza together at 11am.

Évi: I’d also mention our end of the week ritual. The store closes at 4pm on Saturdays and after we walk across Erzsébet Bridge to go for a swim and a steam bath at Rudas Thermal Bath — we love the traditional Turkish vibes. Once we’re done with swimming, we’ll head to Kao Niaw Ping Kai, a small, authentic Thai-Laotian restaurant for a hot soup.

How do the two of you spend your time outside of work?

Besides Budapest and Cegléd, there’s a picturesque village by the Danube Bend called Zebegény, which we have close ties to. It’s where the other half of our family lives. Zebegény is a beautiful place, with lots of nice hiking spots, so when we’re not visiting my mom or grandma we’ll be out in nature hiking or cycling. We’re currently in the middle of completing the National Blue Trail, but we’re taking it relatively slow — as long as we manage to collect a few stamps each year we’re good.

Let's see what's inside Évi's FANNYPACK?

Évi: I use this fannypack all the time. It complements my backpack and I usually wear the two together. With the fanny pack, I have my purse, phone and keys close-at-hand. I also use it for when we go on hikes, Zoli takes his MATRA MINI, I take this bag, and with the two together everything fits.

Le Petit Nicolas Book - I studied French in high school alongside English, and I continued my language studies at university, but then I managed to forget everything after graduating. A year ago, I decided to start taking French classes again — I'm trying to get back to my previous level and I’ve been rereading this book recently. France is on my list of top countries in Europe.

Kyoto Map - Asia is another favorite destination of mine, and we’re planning our next trip to Japan. We also love good coffee and Japan has so many great coffee shops to discover.

Bicycle - As we live in the city center, we either walk or cycle to get around.

Notes - I’m the kind of person who likes to write to-do lists by hand, it’s so satisfying to tick things off my list.

Cream, labels, scarf - I’m in charge of our product development, and a part of this is testing different items before I order them to be a part of our range. I’m checking out these items currently, partly for myself and partly for our customers.

Slide Film - We bought these slide films for our goddaughter, she’s five and for Christmas, we gifted her our old slide projector.

Sweets - I don't have a sweet tooth, but these specific sweets are great for sore throats in winter.

Mobile - My mobile is a work tool for me. I run Pauza’s social media pages so I spend a lot of time on my phone, as well as using it for emails and taking photos.

Opera Season Ticket - We’re always discovering new cultural events in the city — it’s part of why we love living in Budapest — and this Spring we decided to discover the world of opera. 

Now it's your turn, Zoli!

Zoli: I’ve been using this backpack daily for the past two years. I use it for work, going to the gym, as well as for hiking. The design suits my style and its color is right up my alley. 

Stanley Flask - We take hot tea with us whenever we go hiking and this stainless steel Stanley flask is of solid quality.

Climbing Shoes - Climbing is a relatively new hobby of mine, I only started two months ago but I’ve been enjoying it. I decided I need to upgrade to my own climbing shoes. They’re brand new. 

Goggles & towel - Swimming is a joint hobby of ours with Évi, we started swimming around two years ago. On Saturdays, after work, Rudas is the place we relax.

Wallet  - I keep my cards and paper cash in this pencil case, and although it’s not intended to be used as a wallet, its size is ideal for banknotes. 

Dossier - I keep all of Pauza’s bills, documents, basically our back office in it. I take these papers with me from A to B, as I work from the store and at home.

Keys - I'm always on the go between our store and the warehouse so my keys are always close. 

If you are visiting Budapest, don't miss the opportunity to visit Évi and Zoli:

1052 Budapest, Vitkovics Mihály u. 7,

photos by Botond Wertán

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