Two Friends

along for the ride

The guys behind the wheels

We are Adrian and Michael, two good friends from different backgrounds with one shared vision: We are passionate about the idea of creating alternative uses for things that otherwise would end up in the trash. Our passion stems from two motives. First, we are convinced that sustainable actions such as upcycling/recycling are essential for our life on this planet. Second, we are fascinated by the charm and the singularity that products of upcycled nature exhibit. Our goal for Airpaq is to combine these motives by creating products that convince our customers both ecologically and aesthetically.

But let's go back to the beginning. It was September 2015 when we first met and moved into the same apartment to start our Strategic Entrepreneurship Master program in Rotterdam. We immedialtely got on really well, so we decided to team up for the upcoming group assignments. Lucky for us, because parts of this team turned out to be what we now call Airpaq. For one particular assignment of the first course we visited a scrapyard because we wanted to create something from waste. We experienced the scrapyard as a very inspiring place and still do when we visit them today. While wandering through the vast maze of stacked cars, we envisioned old truck tires as comfortable seats, cylinders as candlesticks and finally stumbled across an exploded airbag and a couple of seat belts. The durability, the feeling and the shape of this material elicited in us the image of a bag or backpack. The events took their course and the base of our idea was created.

"Our goal for Airpaq is to [...] create products that convince our customers both ecologically and esthetically."

An old manual Singer sewing machine with an airbag. The machine looks very old and used

We took an airbag home, and despite having never sewn a single stitch in our entire life, we started sewing the first prototype that very same day. We presented it the next day in class, proud of our achievement and excited by the positive feedback we received. Then came our first investment: A 100-year-old Singer sewing machine for 10 Euros. For the rest of the studies we spent hours sewing on our "Good Ol' Singer" and were able to combine the practical part of our young venture with the theoretical part of our master program. In fact, we worked on Airpaq in 6 out of 8 total courses, received helpful feedback and input from our fellow students, professors and mentors and made use of the university’s extensive network to talk to already successful entrepreneurs. Finally, we finished our year in Rotterdam with not only a degree but also a great foundation for our own business.

"Besides the personal joy we reap from our venture we do really hope that we can contribute to a change towards a more sustainable fashion industry."

A blue and a black Airpaq standing on a blue container. In the background are stacked scrapped cars and other items you would find on scrapyards

We did not want to lose any time and continued to work on our backpacks right after graduation. There was still much to do in order to actually hit the market with Airpaq. We still had to legally open our company, build up a reliable and functional supply chain in terms of procurement, find a professional and experienced production partner that would meet all our standards, finalize the prototype, build a website, take pictures, shoot videos and much much more. The most important thing to us is that we really love what we do and that it has been great fun ever since we started. Besides the personal joy we reap from our venture we do really hope that we can contribute to a change towards a more sustainable fashion industry. Sharing our story and the values of Airpaq with the world is something that we have worked on for so much time. We hope that we have created something that people will appreciate, because for us it is much more than just a backpack.