Co-founder of creative studio Pure Stuff Sara Simackova has +10 years in the advertising, design & marketing industry. From ethical brands to welding workers, Sara Simackova and Pepa Dvoracek are making waves at Pure stuff studio, a creative studio building brands people want. Clients include Volkswagen, Nextbike, Liberation or Amnesty International. In spare time Sara is mentoring women in business and leadership and helping startups to build their brands.
Where did the idea for Pure Stuff come from?
With my business partner Pepa Dvoracek we wanted to do creative stuff that will resonate with people. After years both working in the advertising market we have seen agencies doing service-focus work. Agencies we work for were saying yes in favour of clients all the time just to please them and get more clients. No one asks why to work for the client in the first place. I always want to be in a business of radical creativity and make a difference for myself, clients and their customers, that is why we felt that there is still a space to start a new creative studio Pure stuff.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
We met in our studio with my team in the centre of Prague and either we had a photoshoot or meeting talking about ongoing projects. If it is a photoshoot day I need to organise it to know that everyone knows exactly what to do during shooting and make sure that we are on time, because time is the key in production. Mostly we will go from one location to another and it will take us the whole day. If it is office day we have a couple of meetings mostly to talk about new campaigns and then I am trying to have at least 2 hours per day to focus on work. To stay focused it is helping me to have a to do list, my phone switched off and just focusing on work that needs to be done based on our planning.
How do you bring ideas to life?
First it is important to ask: why am I doing it, what is the purpose? Then after research we develop a communication strategy and based on it we create a creative concept. Creativity is not something you can do all the time, so sometimes it takes time to find an idea that is really worth producing.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Being more authentic, honest and talking about hard topics through not only in advertising but also in everyday life. Hope that this trend will stay.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Knowing where I am going. Create long term and short term goals for me and my business, then every day you know why you are waking up, why you are working.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t be scared to say no, when it does not feel right.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Want to win a client every time. That is the problem in the industry. Even me there was a time when I just wanted to win a pitch, but I didn’t ask why to work for this client. Is it the best for me? People just want to grow because everyone is doing so but there is nothing better than customers that believe in you and a reliable team that you can look up to in hard times.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
When new clients come in, we always ask why you are here. In Pure stuff we do not win a client. You can spend 6 months working for a client you don’t like and then it’s not going anywhere. It is better to choose clients you can have long term relationships with and create something together that is exciting for both sides.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Doing things that real people wish for in real life. Create brands that talk with customers and it is more a conversation of needs rather than selling something. Also we want to disrupt people with our visuals, make them feel something, think about our campaigns, that is important for us as well.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Bringing on board a client that wanted to work on the biggest campaign we ever have so far but it doesn’t fit on what we do. As an entrepreneur logically you want to see your company succeed. In the end it cost us lots of pain, work and stress and after months of going nowhere we quit. It was a lesson learned that not everything on the market is for us and it will never be, which is good in the end.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Think about how to change a world for better aligned with at least one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals such as for example decent work and economic growth, good health and well-being, quality education, climate action or gender equality.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Books. It doesn’t matter so much if it is fiction, poetry, psychological or business books. It always teaches me something new and lets me see things from different perspectives. Also it is a way to have moments just for me and my thoughts.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I like to have everything working well together, so I am not losing time about retyping manually data multiple times. That is why I like to use the cloud software to be able to connect, also MacOS is making everything easier to sync with all my devices.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I could recommend lots of good business books that teach me a lot on the way but the most important for human beings is, in my opinion, a book called Emotional Intelligence by Brandon Goleman that shows the ability to perceive, control, and evaluate emotions.
What is your favorite quote?
“Think about the world. War, violence, natural disasters, man-made disasters, corruption. Things are bad, and it feels like they are getting worse, right? The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer; and the number of poor just keeps increasing; and we will soon run out of resources unless we do something drastic. At least that’s the picture that most Westerners see in the media and carry around in their heads. I call it the overdramatic worldview. It’s stressful and misleading. In fact, the vast majority of the world’s population lives somewhere in the middle of the income scale. Perhaps they are not what we think of as middle class, but they are not living in extreme poverty. Their girls go to school, their children get vaccinated, they live in two-child families, and they want to go abroad on holiday, not as refugees. Step-by-step, year-by-year, the world is improving. Not on every single measure every single year, but as a rule. Though the world faces huge challenges, we have made tremendous progress. This is the fact-based worldview,” said Hans Rosling in a book Factfulness.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.