What is the biggest influence on your craft?
I’m most influenced by the clients that I work for. Since we work with one-person businesses up to CEOs of pretty big companies, I’m constantly exposed to different ways of thinking. Seeing how they navigate through their industries is an education. It’s helped me to become a business person—which I’m not formally trained to be. I have a masters degree in fine art. I’ve never taken a communications art class and I’ve learned a bunch on the job over the years.
I’ve compiled everything I’ve learned, it’s all been on the job.
What’s the weirdest task you’ve done with Raison?
We did this video for Canopy where we tried to find stock video of a proboscis monkey that we could lip sync to an existing script. So I had to look through all available stock footage of a proboscis monkey to find excerpts that would somewhat sync up with the script. I spent several hours watching monkey videos. Very fun.
Raison d’etre is some fancy French-ness. What’s your favorite fancy and French thing?
My favorite French thing is French pop music. My favorite artist is Holden, lovely stuff.
Favorite fancy thing? Really good sushi.
What’s your favorite playlist for the office?
For the office, playing 1960’s-era reggae makes me happy. It has the classic mellow-out effect that reggae is known for.
Explain your dream client using only 3 words.
Honest, nice, smart.
What one thing about work keeps you up at night?
If a client is unhappy or frustrated about anything, it will eat away at me if I can’t achieve a good resolution.
What do your friends and family know you for?
Outside of work, people think that I’m very quiet and reserved. I’m naturally an introvert so I have to push myself to do what I do. I’ve had to adjust my personality to put on the clothes of someone who can authoritatively advise clients on what to do from a marketing perspective—that takes some guts.
Everyone at Raison wears lots of hats. And not the beret type. What’s your favorite literal hat?
My literal favorite hat is an olive-colored fedora that I have. Figuratively, my favorite hat is job-provider.
I’m proud that because I’m good at my job, I have a lot of work coming through the door that I need help with. That means employing others and helping them support themselves and their families. I can do fun stuff all day long, but at the end of the day, my employees have jobs, cars, houses, and groceries because I managed to get a business going. That feels good.
Why did you decide on pink as a brand color?
Pink is a differentiator. If I put a pink Raison business card on a board in a restaurant, it’s like dropping a bomb. It completely calls your eye. Also, our pink is 100% magenta, so it’s very easy to work with on printing jobs.
What’s your favorite thing about working here?
Because we work with such a wide variety of clients that have unique marketing needs, it’s always interesting and challenging. We learn new things all the time, by necessity.
What was your favorite thing about your most recent vacation?
The woods in the Poconos have a lot of hemlock trees and it makes for a very different feeling. Hemlocks don’t really exist in Virginia. It felt unique. And I found out that you can eat the tips of hemlocks, so I collected a bunch and I’m in the process of making hemlock simple syrup for sodas and vodka. Hemlocks also grow the reishi mushroom—one of the most important medicinal mushrooms—and I’m going to make a tincture out of it. I’m getting into herbal things and mushroom hunting.
What overused industry buzzword do you hate the most? Why?
“Solutions.” About the time I started Raison, that became a huge thing for businesses with products and services, they’d say they sold “solutions” because they were saying they sold you expertise as well. And then it got overused. An appliances store near my house changed their name to Appliance Solutions. I don’t need a solution, I need a washer and dryer. It’s a solution within itself, just like any good product or service.