Meet Michael Jankie, a parent whose prime driving force prizes people and joy over profits and whose entrepreneurial journey sprouted from his love for his children. Jankie carries the entrepreneurial bloodline, born into a family of business owners, thus pioneering was second nature to him. However, Jankie’s difference is his love for unexplored territories—not for the thrill of the unknown, but his love for fresh perspectives and opportunities it brings.
Jankie’s career took a turn quite incidentally. The root of this interesting turn of events tracked back to a peculiar source: mosquitoes disturbing the peace of innocent playtimes of his children in their Australian backyard. Venting his frustrations with his oldest friend and business partner Gary, who advised against harsh chemicals, led to a eureka moment leading to the foundation of NATPAT. The need was simple: a fun, kid-friendly solution. Thus, the union of citronella and stickers emerged, creating a shield against mosquito menace.
The creation and subsequent growth of NATPAT were certainly not a cakewalk. Jankie had his trials and tribulations. The first year was nothing short of an emotional rollercoaster. Even though their products received high praise and expected revenue, the legitimacy of their business was a constant question mark for them. It wasn’t until the famous Kim Kardashian bought and talked about their BuzzPatch publicly that the doubts started to clear about the company’s authenticity, bringing in welcome confidence.
But what drove Jankie to continue past these hard times? A deep-seated belief in their creation, solving a personal problem that resonated with many, the thrill of entrepreneurship, and the unending support and encouragement from his team were his weapons.
NATPAT has grown leaps and bounds since then, proving that grit and resilience can take you places. They have moved from questioning their legitimacy to being recognized globally and appreciated by millions. They faced setbacks, each one teaching a valuable lesson and steering the company to focus more on their mission, and every piece of customer feedback became a treasure trove.
Everyone stumbles, and Jankie is no stranger to mistakes. They underestimated their demand and were caught off guard when they started running out of stock. The lesson? Always be prepared for the best-case scenario, not just the worst.
What sets NATPAT apart? Instead of scaling up according to conventional wisdom, they chose to maintain the fun and passion in their work. Focusing on collaboration with like-minded partners who shared their values, they solidified their status in the market.
Jankie credits his support system filled with friends, colleagues, other startup founders, and even retired founders, now investors, for his success. They provided him with valuable advice, actively brainstormed ideas, and thought constructively about his business. Their constant commitment and concern have played a significant role in his journey and his company’s growth.
To Jankie, true success lies in the impact you have on your customers’ lives. Receiving customer feedback about how their products have positively impacted lives has been the most rewarding part of his journey with NATPAT. The satisfaction lies in providing a solution that genuinely improves the quality of life.
Jankie has his fair share of lessons from launching a business. The need for adaptability, maintaining nimbleness even as the business grows, recognizing how valuable customer feedback can be in innovation, understanding the nuances of physical inventory and logistics, and realizing that early success doesn’t guarantee future wins are some of the lessons he holds close.
He believes in maintaining a balance and keeping things fun, seeking support when needed, staying grounded, and recalling his humble beginnings. If Jankie could start a movement, it would be centered around reminding adults of the limitless possibilities, the drive for social justice, and the belief in making a difference that they possessed as children and teenagers. After all, there is a child in each one of us who is ready to change the world and shape the future for good.