Backyard Pod with Pavel and Kelly

Pavel Kolenda and Kelly Kassian from Backyard Pod join me to discuss the first year of building a startup. They share the fun in seeing the quick growth as well as some of the challenges they have had to navigate along the way.


Troy: Good afternoon, Austin. I hope everyone is enjoying their week and enjoying some sunshine and a little bit warmer weather after that cold spell. So I hope your day is going well. I am joined today by Kelly and Pavel of backyard pod. So I appreciate you guys taking the time to, to sit down and chat with me.

Pavel and Kelly: I'm happy to be here.

Troy: So, your guys' company, obviously, you know, named backyard pods. So it seemed pretty straightforward, you know, does kind of mean pods for making say backyard spaces, whether it be like maybe a backyard office or kind of a guest suite, or I'm assuming a lot of different things. And we were talking about exercise stuff right before you got here. Like, I've been a big thing with, with COVID and gym closings is when you need a place to work out and stuff. So, why don't you kind of maybe give us a little brief, quick history kind of, of the company itself.

Pavel: Certainly Kelly, mind if I like this one Awesome. so I, I personally have been involved in construction and super years just doing common innovation projects, things, things like that, essentially, anything construction-related right. However, my background was in finance and accounting and, and that was my main, main job. And I had someone approach me, in 2020 to build a small space for them to, it was actually for a significant other to be able to work from. And they showed me a picture of one of the competitors and they said, Hey, can you build something like this for me And I listened and I said, I can build something for you, but, quite honestly, it's kind of ugly. So I can build you something a little bit better looking if you don't mind. so quickly put together a design, shared it with a person.

Pavel: I said, you know, before we start building up your neighbors, make sure that you're okay with it. And then, and then we'll proceed, right that turned into two more orders. Right So, so the light bulb went off and I thought to myself, well, this could be a business, right So let's, put together a website and let's see if people would be interested. And lo and behold, they were, we got a bunch of folders very quickly, you know, and that's when everything starts getting kind of a little crazy, right. We've got to set up trying to find if we can.

Troy: That's when it gets real, you go from, I can do to where, oh, shoot. Like people are expecting us to actually deliver on shine on this website.

Pavel: Absolutely. Yeah. It it's a wild ride. I mean, this is just the only way to describe it. but we had so far away so far, not so far, I'm sure it would be the same way we had just absolutely fantastic customers or really great team that we work with. And we just couldn't ask for better people to be working together on this. so this was about a year, a little bit over a year ago. we've delivered, I think at this point 50 or 60 pods, I lost track at this point, and we have a very happy customers, you know, in the store that really wouldn't bring, keeps us with because it's a, it's a hard business to be in construction is very, very hard to be able to realize how difficult everything is early with the supply chain. Right.

Pavel: what gives us that wind in our sails is, just the, the life changing, effect that this that's pods happened, because environment and, you know, they're just literally more life changing is what comes up in our customer reviews. You know, they went from being constantly stressed out, having kids running around and dogs barking and parrots applying, you know, sort of the background and then cards jumping on the cameras and keyboards, right to a Zen space where you can lock the front door, our parts come with locks. So you can close the curtains and say, I'm just leave me alone, go back then. And you know, and it's, it really improves people's quality of life. And the mental health has been such a hot topic right now. And we are helping with that write the best prescription for your anxiety is a part, right My easiest one. but it is the best fun you can get these days. So, so here you are, Kelly joined us, a few months ago as I was director of growth, simply because the company has been just met with so much demand. Right. And, and we, you know, when Kelly and I initially met, she was just a perfect fit for the organization and she has been helping us, to think the company, the next lesson. So anything you would like to add Kelly.

Kelly: No, I think, yeah, I'll leave it at that. It's I love the origin story and how I was just blown away that it's been word of mouth and that's really been it it's one neighbor gets it, they see it. And then the two on other side are asking for it. And so that's, that's kind of in the best departments between.

Troy: Yeah, that's awesome. Having that organic growth for sure. So I know since I kind of chatted a little bit or emailed back and forth with Kelly A. Little bit, probably know maybe a little bit more of her background, but it'd be so to ask her first. So I know you're not a native Austinite kind of what's your story, as far as coming to Austin and kind of making, making that move like a lot of other transplants. Was it specifically for the role here or what, what was kind of the Genesis of that


Kelly: Yeah, so for myself, it was specifically for the rule here. So really exciting. I do, I have, some family as well in Austin. and same thing, just work opportunity, as I know, a lot of people are in the similar position, so yeah, it was I'm from Canada originally and just kind of did assume zoom call like this with, with toggle. I was just kind of blown away by the setup of the company and really excited, just kind of his vision and where he want it to go. So yeah, made the 36 hour drive and, and here we are at probably a 50 degree difference. So I'm not.

Troy: Yeah. This time of year, you're not too upset about probably the longer, the longer day. Right Like I'm sure it may be in the middle the summer. It was a little weird having some originally from the Midwest, Michigan, Minnesota. So in the summer it's a little weird to not have it be daylight till 9 30, 10 o'clock, but in the winter, it's nice to have that extra half hour, 40 minutes a day late. I don't 100%. How about for you Pavel How, what, did you kind of get to Austin Yeah.

Pavel: so I lift, originally from Poland actually, and that's, you know, that's partially why I'm hard. This is kind of an end. This is not cotton. It's only this expense to me homes. Right. And to architecture in general. I have, I I've grown up in a different environment, right. So I think what helps them be successful is having a slightly different mindset. I think Kelly is really complimenting my thoughts in here too, being from a country too. Right. And we're all kind of, whenever we are facing an issue, we can bring different perspectives, things, you know, different design ideas, right. And different approaches to things. So, grew up, in Western Poland, right by German border in German border. And, you know, architecture is different over there and the homes are, are different. And one of the things that made me want to get into this is that, number one, architecture has not changed at all in America or the way you built structures.

Kelly: Right. For like the last hundred years. Right. So can we do something different than going into something more efficiently Right. number two, the design is also kind of traditional, right. From looking at competitors. It's all very similar. Right. So can we just have to be a little bit more modern, a little bit more unique, right. But, so all of that background being from different different country helps me with who bring this in. And I moved to Austin three years ago. and I moved, my fiancé and I met in Australia and she lived in San Diego. I've been Philadelphia. And, you know, I don't want to us wanted to move the auto of each other city. so we just traveled around and, came to Austin, fell in love and you know, it has been our dream to move here. So we sold out all of our belongings and got into our car and drove to Austin three years ago.

Kelly: So it kind of similar story as Kelly, but the difference that at the time I didn't have a job, I was just getting to Austin. Literally both of us were calling and doing a phone interview is on the way to Austin within two weeks of getting hit and getting here. We both got jobs, yeah. And the rest of the sister. And, and one of the things I guess, that I try to always bring up a somewhat relevant or important is that my background is actually in, public accounting and, I'm an accountant. And I worked in finance and consulting for a bunch of years and a CPA. And one of the things that we tried to bring to construction industry is professional services and professional experience that we offered in us consulting, right. Professionals in the past, in our environment to the construction industry, everyone, every single person I know has a horror story about working with a contractor, right.

Kelly: Not being able to phones, not responding to emails, being asking for more money, half project. Right. All of those things are so right. And we already, it's 20, 22, right. We already have way too much stress as we need another contractor that is stressing you out. In addition to that. So us as an organization, we try to make a transparent process, easy to follow process simple, and we've a great customer experience, through our client. and you know, and all that experience, all of all of that time was spent in professional services, helping us bring this here and offer that to our clients.

Troy: So you mentioned, starting the business in 2020, obviously it was already right in the middle of the pandemic, which accelerated kind of the need for having multi-use space at home or needing more space at home. Right. Because obviously everyone at that point in time was working from home and doing those kinds of things. you mentioned the first space you did was for an office space. it did, that, was that kind of, is that been what the majority of the positive done have kind of been for, or did it very quickly turn into other types of spaces Like we talked about workout spaces or guest accommodation spaces, all those kinds of things, or has it been more, still more kind of focused on office workspace.

Pavel: Yeah, so it was definitely kind of initially it was office space, primarily people working from home and now a lot of companies that, you know, we're kind of sticklers saying, no, you're going to come back are also saying minimum hybrid system. So definitely, you know, still busy with a lot of offices that being said, what people love about backyards pod especially is that they have committed to these kind of flex spaces. So like the one that we're in right now, you know, what's happening with this.

Kelly: Yeah. I can you can really tell, but there is a engine set up a space big enough that you can talk in your chair under your desk. Right. And you can very easily squeeze a works. We don't workout in whether it's in the morning or mid day. Right, so yeah.

Pavel: Lots of fun there with full, you know, whether it's a studio as well. whether that's art studio, music studio, you name it. And then even just people coming in from out of town and it isn't it and wanting somewhere to crash. So there's, there's, it's cool because, you know, we initially thought office and now it's just turned into so many other things, in addition to that.

Troy: For you guys, obviously only being a year old, has it been something where it's been just a local thing Cause obviously with construction wise, it's kind of construction is generally hard to do at a large scale geographically, but I assume that the positive stuff there'd be the potential been in the size of them to ship them out other places too. Right. Like, like shipping containers have kind of been invoked thing, in a lot of different areas, although they're impossible to get now as well too. So have you guys seen traction Is it primarily, I mean, obviously it's gonna be primarily in Austin if it's quite word of mouth, but what's the scoop or is there a plan for more regional or national kind of growth as well.

Kelly: It's a great question, Troy. we, we definitely get requests and inquiries from all over United States. and even outside people reaching out from Belgium, from Bermuda, from all over the world, there's a request for pods, which is wonderful. You know, we take it as a compliment and we love it, but quality is extremely important to us. And that is something that we are focusing on. There's a few different options. We're considering growth outside of Austin. one of them is through franchise system, right Another one is about just opening another division of the company within cities. all of those things are very difficult, to accomplish with great quality, be sustaining at the same time. Right So we're very careful about that. The demand that we get in Austin is high enough that we are growing still at an incredible rate. And, for now we are focusing on setting up systems, but with a thought of us expanding to other cities, right.

Kelly: So how can we create a system that when we ready, we can pull the trigger and an older gears and older things are in place relieving can be for us to grow to the other cities. So the plan is that we were going to be expanding to all Texas cities, within the next 12 months. And then after that, we'll be hoping to expand to other states as well. we are thinking we are currently working on a product essentially that can be shipped as a flat box. So anyone anywhere in the U S can assemble it. Right But even with that still, it is the product that you love delivering to our customers is a product that is a great quality that is going to last, right. And that's to be properly installed and be there for a long time, without any issues is a challenge. And we are, we're working very hard on making sure that all the T's are crossed all the ice without it, for us to accomplish them.

Troy: And that's one of the advantages of still being small, right. Is you can still see a lot of growth here locally and then potentially in some of the systems you have to put in place to make that growth go smoothly and maintain that high level of quality. Well, I'm sure help you guys when, and if you guys expand outside of Austin to kind of have some of those systems in place to kind of keep that quality level high in other parts of the country.

Kelly: Absolutely. You're absolutely right.

Troy: What's been probably your biggest, I mean, again, in 2020, when you first started, I don't know if you had any plans or thoughts that this would be comfortable business necessarily when you first did your first one or two, but what have been kind of your biggest challenges in re in running the business And I guess on that front too, is this the first business that you've owned and run yourself.

Kelly: this is another first business. the first business thinking part was me selling candles on, you know, in front of us. There's the holidays are all saints day, right tonight when I was probably like 12 years old, said business that something can, they just like had some pocket money, right. So I've always had a bit of an entrepreneurial spirit. and you know, some of the bit, you know, there's, there's a candle business, right. And then there is, I had a web design business progress, the business, did some it and financial consulting in the meantime, but it was all side projects. Right None of it was a venture or I said, okay, well this is my financial, well, phew. My financial wellbeing in future is now invested in this. Right. So back here is, the first big venture like that part of the reason why I worked in public accounting and consulting is because I wanted to understand how a small company can go to a larger organization.

Kelly: Right. And, and I specifically pick the role for God reason. I worked for a small company first and it always kind of flagged in my mind, how is a hundred thousand people come from operate, right. How do they function Right. And I said, you know what, I'm just going to find out like what my job and I, wasn't working for a hundred thousand people company, just to see all the layers. Right. So, both killing an ally in the Kelly, worked for a small business before to, you know, leadership role. We both have unexperienced where we work, where we've seen organizations go from small to their alarms. Right. And hold the gears, hold a step that needs to be put in motion to, to accomplish that. Right. So that's what I've been trying to do on backyard pod. And there's a lot of thought and there's a lot of organizations that are out there.

Kelly: Right. there's a lot of people who have great ideas, right. And there's a lot of, a lot of companies that tries to do what we do. Right. And they have beautiful designs and they have beautiful products, right. But there's, there's this one key term that is extremely important for businesses and that's deliverability, right. The ability to actually build it, finish it and do it over and over again. Right. And that's something that is extremely important to us about your pot back home in Poland, we have a saying that I always started to bring up is that there's two types of people. There's people with a big amounts of talk and a small heads to work. And there's people with a big hand to work in a small mouth to talk. Right. And we tried to be the ones with a big hand, right. So we focused on the product and we get to work and we accomplish that. We get it done. And that's why we can continue delivering our pods over and over on the pricing. We can offering warranty being there for our customers. and by heading some of those core values. Right. Great customer experience and beautiful and functional products. That, that is what hasn't been helping us being successful here in Austin.

Troy: Yeah. No, someone who gets to network a lot, I'll talk to different. either people that are, you know, have their own business or maybe thinking about it. And that's always one of the things that kind of surprises me is everyone's going to have someone that's, you know, has an idea, but then they don't want to really share. Right. Because they think the idea is what's going to make or break stuff. And in reality, ideas are a dime, a dozen, right Like, you know, Facebook, wasn't the first social media social network, Uber wasn't the first rideshare company. Like it's really the execution. That's going to make the business successful on a small or large scale. but it's, it's always interesting how a lot of people think that the idea, or, you know, again, a beautifully designed product is just going to automatically sell it out. When in reality, you can't execute on again, all those orders that started to come in. Once, once people heard about you guys, that would have been the end of that because you couldn't actually deliver next.

Kelly: Yeah. That is a very good observation. Absolutely. and you did ask also about challenges and, you know, there's, there's new challenges every day. Right now, the biggest challenge we're facing is the materials, right every single time we placed an order, there is probably 15 to 20% of things we're ordering that are out of stock and we have to source a different supplier and the different supplier may be in a different city and it's going to be more expensive. And it is, you know, I don't want to say it's nightmare, because we knew it with a smile on our faces and we were pride and pleasure, but it's difficult. It's challenging. another thing is, working with, or, or sourcing a, labor force. Right. And, you know, we're very lucky to have an extremely good team. we love, we love our team and we're really happy to have them.

Kelly: but for growth purposes is difficult, right. Sourcing talent and finding them retaining, right. It's, it's not easy. but we've been very lucky and we pay a lot of attention to it. We put a lot of time and effort into it and, and so far so good. so, you know, it's, it's, it's not an easy business. I always say to our customers, they always try to, on our initial kickoff projects, I'm bring it up and say, and, and maybe Kelly's, Kelly's nervously laughing I'm right here. So I don't know if I should say it, but I use a dental comparison saying like, you know, we make it sound like it's very easy, right We're going to make it very easy for you, but it's going to be kind of like getting a root canal, right. It's complex. There's going to be digging.

Kelly: Doesn't need to be padding and nailing and all of that. But guess what, we are here with the laughing gas, and we're getting through, we're going to provide you, we'll hold your hand. We're going to make it extremely nice and pleasurable for you and you won't feel anything. And at the end, you're going to be very hard to have the results there with us. If anything goes wrong. And this construction industry, statistically speaking, something will go wrong, right. Just call us and we'll make it right for you. So all the pigs and you have great project managers in place, you have all layers that you can reach out to, to have escalation does call us. And we always, always make it right for our customers. so, you know, it's, there's things coming up every day, but we work hard and making sure that in the end, everything is done the right way and everyone's happy.


Troy: Yeah. Very nice. Yeah. So again, as a real estate agent, I'm dealing with some clients who, who might be doing remodel stuff, or if they're trying to purchase new construction stuff, right. Like say I run into a lot of the same, same issues, maybe not on a daily basis, but you know, new construction projects that get delayed by weeks or months to get the home or the challenges of getting a home remodeled, right Like there's on the remodel side of things. Contractors are so busy that if you want a really small job done, most of them don't have the time it's not financially successful and stuff for them. So that's one of the things that I in similar kind of concept talk with my clients. Like the process is going to be more stressful than you think. Like, it just seems like, oh, I'm going to get a house built, or I'm going to get this done.

Troy: The process I guarantee you will be more stressful than you think, but I'm going to be here to help walk you through it, to be, you know, be a sounding board to help, you know, when things look like they're not going to get fixed, how to make sure they do get fixed and those kinds of things. And it's about trying to set that expectation that it's not going to be all just sunshine and sugar plums. And that it's, there's gonna be some hard work involved, but it's, but it's worth it. That's the best, the key component. It's still worth it because at the end you're going to have something that's going to be more valuable and more important to you than the stress that was required along the way. Yeah.

Kelly: Yeah. You really hit it right on the head, try and say this, having, having the right expectations, having the right approach. Right. And then being there, because to your point, I'm sure you get the same thing. A lot of your customers have never went through this process before. Right. And you know, a lot of times you, you see the people's highlight reel, right. And we're just like, well, here's my brand new home that I just built for myself. And I go this customized and I go this customized or this customized, do you know how much time went to in making sure this customization is on Right. You have no idea. Right. But all you see is, is beautifully nice as a child. Right. So it's important. I'm sure your, your clients love when you get that for them dry, because, you know, I can, I can express now help setting the right expectation having 40 minutes.


Troy: No, I know it's one of those that I really want to need to try to get, I'm going to have to, you'd have to get a client to agree to it, but almost have a more behind the scenes stuff, almost like HGTV wise or something like that to really kind of help other people understand, you know, that yeah. Like again at the, at the end and almost every case it's, it's well worth it, but there are days where you are stressed out and you have, you know, they're having to work, but they're, you know, they're suddenly thinking that their, their contract is going to fall through or whatever it is. And so like, understanding that that's part of the process, that's frustrated me as stressful as that might be. So, Kelly, what for you, what, what did you see in backyard pod that made you say, Hey, you know what, I need to leave Canada and come all the way down to Austin and worked for this company other than the warmer weather.

Kelly: Polish jokes. But no, honestly just seeing the way the world was going.

Pavel: And, you know, same as, as pebble, I have what to, you know, university business degree and kind of got to work in a, in a growing company. And so just, I actually was just on LinkedIn and saw some of the posts and I fell in love with the design as well. that was kind of being a side passion of mine as so, and then really was reading, it was meeting pothole and just kind of, we were both aligned in where this business could go. So yeah. And just having that drive and the vision for it, but then also putting, putting in the work and the practicality of it all. So yeah, it was, it's kind of a, it's a crazy story, how it all works out so well, but it was just the really kind of where this company could go. And so, and where we have been going, the trajectory of it has been really excited and, and we have fun. We have a great team, everyone, everyone loves working together. Everyone has the same vision. So that's kind of the most important part of that. Sure. You know, it's going well, the pods are beautiful, the clients are awesome, but we also have fun as a team together.

Troy: You have a background working in smaller businesses are doing kind of entrepreneurship kind of stuff as well.

Pavel: Yeah, it was a bit of both. I mean, we're going back to selling sandals. I was selling lemonade and then it was kind of starting out lemonade. And then all of a sudden I'm stealing my sisters, borrowing all of them, selling them off and I'm charging a premium and say anyways, so same, same thing kind of in the spirit, learned a lot. also just kind of put my parents in the entrepreneurial space and definitely driven in that sense. And then lucky enough to have really some stuff diverse experience, whether it was kind of a larger company and also a smaller one that grew up in Canada. So, yeah, I definitely get excited when, you know, it's smart business opportunity, great people that work there and like-minded individuals that want and are willing to put in the work to take it somewhere. So it all, it all aligned really well.

Kelly: I can see if I can add a little bit to kill this background. I think the reason why she was such a great fit is because her expertise was not only, she was applying for us hospitalization, right. That's, that's essentially the next step that we needed. but what really has gotten me excited about Kelly joining the organization was her also marketing and social media skills rich. Now through us, we are majority of our business because I didn't referrals or social media. Right. Which five years ago, that was not the case. Right. It was the search engine optimization and, newspapers right then. And, keywords in Google, right. Things like this. But now Instagram is Instagram. Facebook are just extremely powerful, places for advertising and for gaining your customers. Right. So Kelly's shown Kelly had a ton of experience with that, had success with previous companies and it was just a perfect fit, right. Not only be able to lead the sales, but also, meaning all the marketing as well.

Troy: You guys, obviously both haven't been in Austin too, terribly long, obviously Kelly, a little bit last time. How has there been, was there anything surprising or, that you had to adjust to in either of you or both of you in moving to Austin or like what's kind of been, yeah

Pavel: I know personally. Oh my gosh. I didn't realize how many, sometimes it feels like I'm speaking a different language, but that's just Canadian versus American. I love, I love the little pocket Austin is, everyone is so friendly. It's been such an easy transition. and, and it's very exciting cause it feels like, you know, myself just moving here, looking to meet new people, a lot of people are kind of in the same boat. So it's been very easy meeting other people, which has been awesome. Like it's been very easy to kind of get involved in other things in the communities. And it is a little bit like keep Austin weird is a hundred percent of things like getting to meet a lot of these clients and seeing their homes, different perspectives. I love it. I love how colorful it is.

Kelly: absolutely love Austin. fantastic city, lower power doors here. It is. Right. food is fantastic. I've been, I've been still practicing my Southern accent. You know, I'm still getting used to that. I love it. And when I'm not, I'm going to spare you that. But when I try my Southern accent, I can, I can literally see the physical pain I'm causing to other people. So I'm using it as a portrait device for now in the future to improve it to a point where I can just fit in, you know, fit in. And now I was going to give you this, you know, Polish weirdo, there'd be say like, oh, he's one of us. Right. but, but that aside great culture for a city, as Kelly mentioned, it's, it's its own form of a melting pot, right There's a lot of this melting pot, the cities in their own different.

Kelly: And also this has its own nature is an extremely exciting city. I just love how there's so many things coming here. And so many things happening in Austin. So many things you can do. And you know, it's a very helpful city to, everyone takes care of themselves exercises, right. It's I just, I just love being in this environment. Right. And that's why puzzles hasn't been agreed to venture because it was a big commitment, right. Starting a business, signing a lease in our warehouse. Right. Okay. Well, we're staying here, roll up. Otherwise we'll have, you know, some debt collectors chasing us around the United States. So it was a big commitment, but we made it move a confidence with a bunch of confidence. we absolutely loved it. So coming from Philadelphia and Poland before doc, right. A winter wedding, which right now is beautifully sunny and it's January.

Kelly: Right. It's unheard of for me. And I sent pictures to my family back in Poland, they're shoveling snow. And Kelly's doing the same thing in Canada. Like how was your trip to the store this morning on your skis well like I'm walking around in my shorts and t-shirt, I'm here in Austin. That is just absolutely fantastic. And I also have the second book, Kelly set up people being absolutely wonderful. And then you see the first person who was our customers, you know, my fiance always last, I come home and I said, Hey, you just met this new client. I think I'm going to be like, you know, it's just like you say that every single time, like every single day we come home and you're like this one, we're also, you know, so it is really, it's, it's exciting. It's exciting place to be the same place to have a business. And you know, and we're excited for the future. We're working hard on fuck your pod and make sure that there is future, because it is exciting.

Kelly: Right. It's unheard of for me. And I sent pictures to my family back in Poland, they're shoveling snow. And Kelly's doing the same thing in Canada. Like how was your trip to the store this morning on your skis well like I'm walking around in my shorts and t-shirt, I'm here in Austin. That is just absolutely fantastic. And I also have the second book, Kelly set up people being absolutely wonderful. And then you see the first person who was our customers, you know, my fiance always last, I come home and I said, Hey, you just met this new client. I think I'm going to be like, you know, it's just like you say that every single time, like every single day we come home and you're like this one, we're also, you know, so it is really, it's, it's exciting. It's exciting place to be the same place to have a business. And you know, and we're excited for the future. We're working hard on fuck your pod and make sure that there is future, because it is exciting.

Troy: Yeah. That's definitely one of the things with Austin and I'm sure there are like, say other cities like a two, but because there's been so much growth in Austin and so many people relocating, there's a such a large pot of people who either, you know, again in the last year who just moved or even if you did it, you know, four or five years ago, you still kind of remember that experience of moving. And so you're ha you're still building out your network if people were in, you know, if you're in the Northeast or in California, where a lot of people have lived for, you know, 20, 30 years or two or three generations, like you kind of already have your social network at that point in time. And so it's not as welcoming where I think, I think that's one of the reasons that Austin is, has that kind of welcoming, it's easy to get integrated feel. And just the fact that people were willing to and wanted to relocate to Austin has it's the people of that mindset that enjoy change, enjoy, enjoy challenges and new things. And so meeting new people and networking with new people is kind of just, I think, a little bit in their DNA more so there'd be some people to.

Kelly: That kind of thing. Absolutely so with pods.

Troy: How varied or standardized are your guys' products Like, I mean, again, Riley, you can't, I don't know. I shouldn't say take can't. I don't know. you're not going to, you can't build a 3000 square foot pod as a, as a single family home, but like what kind of options and stuff do people have either size-wise or for again, the purpose, you know, if it's trying to use it for office versus a guest suite type of thing.


Pavel: Yeah, definitely. So we, you know, pods initially blowing up with office spaces need, you know, we've got it down to the assessment, so we do have three different sizes with that. and so we come in, you know, within 30 days you have a fully operating poverty to go. And like we said, you know, office space, studio, gym, you name it, people crashing. Now we've had a lot of inquiries lately in kind of your mother in law pause. so now that's including a backroom and potentially an extra room. so we've made them a little bit, a little bit Digger. So that's kind of an option, same exact build-outs. But again, this is all just been from needs and what our clients are getting, you know, people say, well, what if I want a little bit more space because this person's day I come to Babel and he's like, sure, okay, let's figure it out.

Kelly: If I have to spend one more night in my moderate law, I am going to, I don't know what will happen right on it.

Pavel: 100%. So that's kind of where this is coming from. So we do have flexibility and kind of, you know, we come out and meet and we build, onsite. So we have the variability there, the two other exciting products that we have one beam, our Spacepods, if you think of kind of like an apple looking product, that's kinda what it looks like. Like it just being all clear. we painted space, it kind of looks like you could take this thing to the moon, but it's very portable. So people love it because it's a two day installation. Like it comes refitted with office space. So that is a little bit more specific for office use where our pods are a little bit more of a flex room. so it's a little bit smaller than most affordable product. And then what's very exciting.

Pavel: and we've had so many opportunities with our giga pods. So that is now your luxury, tiny home space. and that's coming with your full appliances as well, which I know a lot of people love that about it, because it's really, you know, you're not having to worry about anything. and that's, that'll come loft. our two bedroom also has, you know, at one and a half bath and it's double sink and it really, you know, is thought, thought out and for the consumer in mind. And not only that, it looks really nice. I know pebble, I love when he says, he's like, well, why don't these tiny homes have to be ugly Like what's, so that's kind of where this came from. so you know, a lot of people interested in living in it or also just renting it out. So that's been kind of the fun that we've had with those three kind of main different streets of products. And we have some flexibility kind of in our,.

Troy: Yeah, no, the, the living space kind of side of things is, I mean, all three of them have a lot of value, right Like over the holidays had family in town and like it's, while it's fun to have them around, like if nowadays, because people you can work remotely can stay longer. It's kind of like, eh, I don't know if I need your own, but like, if you have your own space, if you can have that little bit more of a break, then it's obviously a lot more enjoyable for everyone in those regards, Oregon. Right Like there's, I can't, I want to say like the commercial for BRBO that talks about how, you know, you're, this is your exercise room slash office slash library, study area and stuff. So like, to be able to kind of take some of, you know, take one function for a room like that and put it somewhere else is just hugely beneficial for the mental sanity of a lot of people.

Pavel: There's so many studies on that choice too, of just having, you know, separate areas for different things. So it's like, okay, this is where I'm going to sleep. This is where I'm going to be. This is going to wear a bit of workout where a lot of our clients, you know, especially growing families now, all of a sudden a, you know, the one person is trying to be quiet on the phone to not wake the baby. He they're both working from home. The one person is trying to work in their bed and then try to go to bed later, you know, or there's a laptop staring at them from the room. So just that alone with the pause, it's kind of why we've been so busy that.

Troy: What are some of the goals for 2022 So we're in the second, second week of the, of the year you guys have probably seen, right. We talked a little bit about some of the potential growth to expand and stop. Maybe that's already in the first half of 22, 20, 20, 22, goals, or maybe as longer term, like what's kind of on the horizon over the next 12 months.
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Kelly: Certainly. No, that's, that's the exciting part, right It's the future that planning. so realistically in 2022, optimization of our operation is massive, right. But that's the boring roles, right Let's start with the boring, the exciting ones is that we're looking at developing a, Gigapod community, outside of Austin, right So we're looking for an a right property right now and the right person to partner up on this effort with, there's, there's two different options as we will offer. There's going to be pods that can buy from us. And we were looking at a property where we can sell a part of land, right. And someone's living in Austin. How great would it be to be able to get away, right. And then go for a weekend trip and stay in Wimberley area or Fredericksburg area, right. for dripping Springs, right.

Kelly: For a night or two and decompress and, you know, go hiking or, you know, have a bonfire at night, all the school things, rest of the time, Airbnb, right. There is a deficiency of Airbnb out there. So, so we were really offering a tremendous opportunity for our customers who would like to purchase, I can get pod because you can make really good money through Airbnb by purchasing one of the parts from us. And then we also have a getaway spot for yourself to, or if you have your family coming over. Right. And it's your mother-in-law that loves to point out all the wrong things with you. Right. You can say like, Hey, I got this great spot for you to stay with. It's only 45 minute drive. She can't, she's not going to keep me breathing down your neck too much. Right. So it is all in all.

Kelly: It would be a great opportunity for us to offer that we are currently working with a few different labs that we're hoping to build our first gigabyte park. Right. We're looking at bringing up a few different product options as well. All of it being in a similar note as we do right now, which is tenderized. Right. But affordable, with the cookie installation. Right. So that is a really key component there. So we're very careful with picking the right product, but when we pick it, it's going to be the right one. Right. and you know, and, and just general growth, meaning the demand shortening our installation timeframe. If you call us today, Hey, I need a part, you can say, you can start it a week and a half from now if you're ready. Right. So, because we do forget when I said that we have customers calling and saying, I will be divorced if I don't have my path in the next two weeks. That is a term that happened on multiple occasions. Right. Both ways, both ways it's husbands or wives calling. Right. So it is, it is really, we're doing w sometimes it feels like we're doing like a capitalist therapy, not a, not a construction company, but, you know.

Troy: Sometimes you find out more information than you were thinking, and you're hoping to find that.

Pavel: I will say to try and other exciting thing that we are planning on for this year is, just helping out with the initiative of pots for the homeless. So that's something that's kind of near and dear to us. So we, you know, that's, that's kind of in the, in, in the queue, not to say too much more about it, but it's, it's something that we're passionate about. And we're kind of looking at a couple of different avenues to, to see how we can help with that.

Kelly: Yeah. Homeless. Yeah. Homelessness is definitely a, one of the biggest, you know, issues, hearing. All right. And, and, and we all see it. We all feel bad about it. I mean, tell me, tell me a person who doesn't feel sorry for, you know, for, for the people. Right. And it is just such an awful, awful thing that happens to our neighbors. Right. And was before our neighbors. So, both Kelly and I are very new to the city, but we considered it home and we wants to do what we can to make it a better place. Right. And helping with the homelessness in Austin is one of those things that we would like to do. So we are in discussions with few different organizations where we can sign actually AIA Noma that we call, which is essentially a product that is a little bit more industrial finishes.

Kelly: Right. but it provides a, essentially a little living space or for people that couldn't utilize for, for individuals that are facing homelessness. So extremely excited about that. It's, you know, it is a, it's a cyber vendor mentor for us and what is just as important as anything else for us. So we're working hard and finding something that is going to work out. And, and hopefully in the next 12 months, we'll be able to have at least few places, right. Even if we get one or two or three or 1,000 people, a place to stay, it's going to be huge.

Troy: It's like I say, it's obviously probably one of the bigger issues facing Austin in general. And again, there's just been an, unfortunately there's been such a polarizing divide about the way it's been handled, which I don't necessarily agree with how it has handled, but I think almost everyone agrees that there should be stuff done about it. It's just about, what's a smart, smart, and efficient way to do it that way. And like I say, it's one of those where it, because it's such a big issue, it can seem daunting to try to solve. And again, like a lot of things in life, you probably solving it's probably possible. but putting a attention to it, making it better, making it, you know, for at least even a small percentage of people is life-changing for those people. So it's a worthwhile exercise for sure. probably I know, I know you guys said you could be here all day because it has been a lot of fun. I mean, he's your boss. And so he said, you guys could get stuck here all day with us, but, no. So I've been, ask people on the podcast kind of, if they have either a favorite or kind of a hidden gem restaurant that they've been enjoying lately that a little bit interesting or really around kind of plug because restaurants as well can use a lot of our health too.

Kelly: Well, I we're favored a hundred percent. Is this taco truck just outside of our office.

Pavel: Yeah, probably just by sheer volume of how many times we've eaten there. Yeah. I would say it's actually really good tacos and it's out by the warehouse, but I'm saying hello.

Kelly: My favorite restaurant probably is our docs. I know I'm going to be normal by saying that, but I just love their menu. There's something interesting there, but I do enjoy.

Pavel: I would say almost, I'm just thinking almost less. yeah, I'm just thinking less restaurants. I love codependent, but that's kind of your coffee slash restaurant.

Troy: Codependent. I was just there. I was just there yesterday. Actually.

Pavel: I am there. Yeah. I love just like, if I'm, you know, quickly popping in between meetings or something and I just love yeah. windows, you can see the greenery and how reminds me of the ways, one of the pods that we built, windows ingredients behind it. So anyways, yeah, I would say again, that's not really a hidden gem, but you know what we're doing here.

Troy: It's a place that you enjoy. So that's the, maybe that's one of the next things for the positive and turn the food truck into a pod. So he's got a more permanent than you in that way. He can't leave you guys. He has to stay there.

Pavel: Yeah, exactly. It was coffee shop, taco truck. Yeah. I like this.

Troy: Well, I really appreciate you guys taking the time to chat. It's been really a whole lot of fun, for people that are wanting to find out more about them, like say you can find them on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, at backyard underscore pod and see a lot of cool, cool social media stuff that I'm sure Kelly has been spearheading and didn't contact if you need more information.

Kelly: Yeah. Awesome. Troy has been an absolute treat being here. Thank you so much for considering us. it's an honor. I've had a lovely time chatting with you. Thank you so much.

Troy: Appreciate it. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​


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