POSTED BY: ERIKA
Happy Wednesday everyone!
It’s that time again…my time to share someone who Keeley and I have had the opportunity to meet throughout our Wild adventure over the past year and a half!
This special someone has been a huge part of our company’s growth and development. Since the first day we met her, she has been instrumental in taking our vision for Wild Squirrel and bringing it to life through our logo. Before working with her, I never realized the amount of time and energy required to perfect and professionalize a company’s image. Now, however, I am very aware of the importance of this, and we are so lucky to have met this weeks Wild Wednesday. She helped us become “store ready” last fall and has continued to do so ever since!
Say hello to Rebecca!
I know I say this often, but I so enjoyed getting to know more about Rebecca, and I am happy to share her with all of you this week! Hope you enjoy :-)
1) Explain what it is you do and how you got to where you are today with Reinke Creative.
I’m currently an Art Director & Graphic Designer specializing in the food and beverage industry. My strengths are branding, package design, brochure design, art direction of photography, as well as ad campaign development on national and regional levels.
I started with a BFA in Graphic Design from Oregon State. I studied design in Holland on a summer program, started a screenprint design business in college to make extra money, and upon graduating moved to Portland to find a job.
I freelanced for three months with Adidas and various clients, before landing my first salary job as the Graphic Coordinator at Yoshida’s Fine Foods. Being the only designer on staff, and in charge of graphic design for all of Mr. Yoshida’s 14 companies at the time, I became well-diversed in the art of multi-tasking, and designing for many different styles and categories. You can say I cut my teeth in the graphic field very quickly! This is where I gained most of my printing knowledge, and how to design for all different substrates (label, poly bag, foil, carton pack, Tetrapak).
I also gained extensive knowledge from my printers on how to adjust the right colors on press, different print processes, and how to set up your print files to be ready for pre-press. None of which was taught in school at the time and all had to be learned on the job. After 3.5 years working for Yoshida’s, I was recruited by a local advertising agency to be their first in-house Art Director. During my 4 years, I had a talented staff consisting of a copywriter and another designer/illustrator. I was promoted to Vice President of the agency in 2001, and learned the management side of the business.
In 2002, I decided to resign from my position and take the big leap out on my own, to start Reinke Creative. That was 10 years ago and it’s been an amazing ride! What I’ve relished the most is the flexible schedule working from my home studio, being able to build strong relationships with my clients one-on-one, and managing their project from beginning to end to make sure every step is seamless. I’ve had the honor of working with many small start-up companies to get their product launched into the marketplace - like Wild Squirrel! And I’ve also had national level accounts hire me for ad campaigns and branding rollouts such as AM/PM’s coffee program. All of my business comes by referral and repeat business, so I have yet to market my own company, *knock on wood*. It’s been a running joke for years… if you look for a website, you won’t find one… I spend all my time marketing my clients and not myself!
2) How did you know that design is what you were meant to do?
My mother tells me I’ve been drawing since I could pick up a pencil. My parents and I would go out to eat a lot at little local restaurants, and every time we sat down I would start to draw an advertisement for that restaurant on their paper place mats. Pizzarias would get illustrated kick-lines of onions and olives and mushrooms dancing over the restaurant name, or whatever the concept of the day was going to be. The restaurants started hanging them up, and suddenly there were walls of my designs in several eateries!
I won several national poster contests and awards growing up, and when I was a junior in high school, I won 2nd place in Time Magazine’s Cover Design Contest. So I pursued illustration my freshman year of college, and by sophomore year a professor took me aside and told me I should become a designer too. That’s when I switched gears and focused on Graphic Design major! I love what I do. It’s all I ever want to do, and because it comes so naturally for me ~ it doesn’t feel so much like a ‘job’. I love that.
3) What about your job do you love the most? What is the most challenging part?
I love so much about it - the people I meet, seeing their projects come to life, presenting ideas and partnering with really creative people, and the flexible schedule of setting my own office hours. I work almost every weekend, but it pays off when I don’t have to be in an office 8-5. The challenging part is juggling all of my clients’ needs and timelines. Every client needs to be treated as though they are your ONLY client, but when you have 10-15 projects on the books, you have to find a way to meet all the expectations.
4) What has been the most exciting moment of your career?
That’s a tough one! I’ve had many “ah-ha” moments, that make this job so rewarding. Walking into a grocery store and spying all the package designs I’ve done has been the most exciting. Being chosen as the agency to completely redesign New Seasons Markets private label was a huge success in the last year.
And the most recent news ~ I’ve become a happy recipient of my 8th Summit International Creative Award. And drumroll… it was for the Wild Squirrel Nut Butter logo design! 25 countries competed, over 3000 entries. The judges awarded my logo redesign with a Bronze Award for the category. It’s a tough competition, and the 25 judges come from all over the world. I must say - having watched the Wild Squirrel brand take off, and have it’s exposure on Shark Tank, in O Magazine, and front pages of newspapers has been a bunch of exciting moments all together! So proud of you girls, and glad that my designs have been so well received and helped you launch into the marketplace!
5) When you first start a project, what is it that you listen/look for, and how do you balance your ideas with the ideas of your new clients?
Once I meet with a client and get a sense of their style and what they want to achieve, it’s my job to provide concepts to them that meet their strategy and goals. To do this, I seek out the best team for the job from the talented creatives I work with, and in combination with my creative talent, I strive to provide concepts that I know will meet their expectations and hopefully exceed them!
I ask the right questions to get a feel for the type of style the client is looking for, and I determine what will set that product or project apart from their competition when I’m in the creative process. I definitely take my client’s ideas and find the best way to elevate those to the level they need to be to sell on a store shelf, or make an impression in the marketplace.
6) When you are not working, what do you love to spend your time doing?
I love to cook and try new recipes for dinner party guests. I also enjoy wine tasting, reading, movies, and traveling and salmon fishing with my husband!
7) I know you love to travel! Tell me a little about your traveling experiences, the best place you have been and if you have any awesome trips planned!
My love of travel comes from growing up when my parents and I would take a trip a year, usually road trips to Death Valley, the Grand Canyon, camping in Central Oregon, visiting Washington DC, or riding the train to see family in Minnesota. I have been on 10 cruises! So I’ve seen much of the Caribbean, South America and Mexican ports of call. I went to school in Holland for a summer program, and backpacked Germany/Italy and Switzerland the year of graduation. I love to travel with my husband to Maui every year, and my girlfriends and I love to take sunny vacations as well!
8) Favorite restaurant in Portland?
My husband and I LOVE Via Tribunali for date night! We are addicted to their Buffalo Mozzarella Caprese and the Napoleatana Calazone, stuffed with fresh ricotta, basil and prosciutto.
9) What do you love most about summer time?!
The long days of sunshine, sweet smell of Jasmine blooming in our backyard, BBQs with family and friends, and all of the wonderful berries, melons and fruits!
10) If you have one piece of advice for Keeley and I, what would it be?
Stay true to your product and what you want it to stand for, as you’ve built a brand based on high-quality ingredients and the image that it was home-spun and created by the both of you! I believe that is what your customer base loves about you guys, your story plus your great product! You two are as much of the success of the product as it’s wonderful ingredients, taste and BRANDING!
11) And last but not least…what is your favorite W.S. flavor and favorite way to eat it?
It’s a toss up between Sneaky Cinnamon and Pretzel Pizazz! But the light crunch of the Honey Pretzel is addictive and I love it on apple slices or toast. Mmmmm.
Thanks so much for everything you have done to help Wild Squirrel get to where we are today. Not only do we appreciate all of the hours you have dedicated to helping us grow and perfect our image, but the genuine support and encouragement that you have given the two of us has been incredible.
Until next time,