The concept of professional branding was a big part of Marty Bacik’s studies in business school.
“They talked about that a lot: what to wear, how to shake people’s hands, how to look them in the eye,” the 2018 University of Pittsburgh graduate recalled. “And without going into the office, you lose that aspect.”
Since safety measures against COVID-19 started in earnest, of course, many people have shifted their work locations from office to home, with a corresponding shift in interactions from personal to virtual.
“So how people perceive you professionally has also become how you look on the webcam,” Bacik said. “And the more professional you sound, the more professional you look, the more seriously people are going to take you.”
The Upper St. Clair resident has developed a business to assist with related adjustments: boxd, which provides packages of curated home-office products for delivery.
From proper lighting to audio enhancements to ergonomically friendly items, Bacik’s goal is to help people improve their workspaces and means of communication as they adapt to carrying on their jobs.
“It’s little things that you don’t think of that often, but overall make the experience a lot better,” he said.
He is collaborating on boxd with members of his family, which includes his father, Jim, mom, Bonnie, and brother, Jake, who is following in Marty’s footsteps as a Pitt student.
“We were sitting around the table eating lunch and discussing things that we had noticed in being on Zoom and with this new era of work: people’s faces being dark, angles being weird, people walking around with their phones,” Marty recalled. “It’s almost sort of comical, in a way.”
But for folks who are used to a traditional office environment, some guidance may be helpful in navigating uncharted territory.
“People don’t necessarily know the correct setup or know the equipment that they need,” Bacik said. “That’s sort of how the whole idea was born: Can we curate a package that has everything already that people would need to present themselves better professionally?”
He enjoys the familial aspect of the endeavor.
“They’ll come up to me and will say, ‘What if the box has this, as well?’ And they’re all great ideas,” he said.
Part of his studies at Pitt, where he earned his degree in business information systems and finance, involved learning how to develop ideas into new startup ventures. He came up with an application, Ardoor, which connects prospective buyers with owners of off-market homes.
A software engineer in his regular job, Bacik always has had an entrepreneurial streak, calling himself “a very future-focused person.” And his parents have been nothing but supportive.
“When I would tell them these ideas that I had, they never shot them down,” he said. “They always just tell me, ‘Go for it.’ They never put any doubt in my mind. They always encourage me to try new things and to take on challenges. I owe a lot of credit to them.”
For more information about boxd, visit https://www.boxdoffices.com/.