Mihae Mukaida from RockPaperRobot

STORY BY Candy Washington

Published: August 29, 2013

The coolest chick in design

I had the pleasure of interviewing Mihae Mukaida, a Parsons grad with a background in design, documentary film, and advertising, and co-founder of RockPaperRobot, an engineering boutique specializing in the innovation and fabrication of high-end kinetic furniture and lighting, and got the insider’s scoop on how to successfully launch your own start-up.

Tip #1: It’s all about balance

One of Mihae’s favorite quotes is from Abe Lincoln, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Make sure to take the time to enjoy life and step away from the computer and shop while building your business. It’s in those moments of “sharpening your axe” that true inspiration hits.

Tip #2: Be resourceful

Don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed, sometimes it’s right next door. Mihae and Jessica Banks, the other co-founder of RPR, often turn to other entrepreneurs, techies, and designers that co-habit New Lab, the open space facility in Brooklyn Navy Yard that fosters innovation in design, prototyping, and new manufacturing, for ideas and collaborations on designs. They are also a part of the Plum Alley community, a destination site where women entrepreneurs and innovators are able to support each other through crowd-funding, commerce, and receive expert guidance.

Tech tip: Check out McMaster-Carr, an ultimate delivery service for tools, products, and supplies to create your next masterpiece.

RPR Float Table from RockPaperRobot on Vimeo.

Tip #3: “You can make more money, but you can’t make more time.”

Even though you might be struggling to get your business off the ground sometimes it’s better to suck it up and spend the dough upfront then waste precious time going the do-it-yourself route. Remember, time is money – in the long run, saving time and making the most of it will allow you to have a bigger return for your buck down the road.

Tip #4: Keep pushing your end game

Next up for Mihae and Jessica is to commercialize their products and add versatility to their kinetic furniture pieces for mass consumption. Decide to take your career in your own hands, exert your creative freedom, ask for help and be resourceful, and then share your products with the world.

Don’t forget, in the game of Rock – Paper – Robot, Robot always wins.

For more information: http://rockpaperrobot.com/

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