unique papercrafting graphic 45

November 20, 2011

Get to Know Aimee Filimoehala & Charee Filimoehala

Hello G45ers!

Welcome to a very special weekend post of our blog! Now is your chance to get to know Aimee Filimoehala, Director of Operations at Graphic 45 and daughter of Diane Schultz! We also have a terrific interview with Charee Filimoehala, Director of Customer Service and Design Team Coordinator! First up is the interview with Aimee. This interview was so much fun to do - read to learn about Graphic 45's mascot Henry, Aimee's theme song, and how they have fun in the office day after day!

Enjoy your read with Aimee Filimoehala, Graphic 45's Director of Operations and daughter of Owner, Diane Schultz! She gives us insight into a day in the life at Graphic 45!

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Aimee, what led you to helping your mother, Diane Schultz, start Graphic 45?

When my mom designed her first line of scrapbook paper as a freelancer, it was a huge success. That’s pretty standard for any project she does. She’s always very successful. She’s so talented. In fact, the most talented artist I know! After that initial success, she saw her potential in the papercrafting industry.

At that point, back in 2008, I had been working in the mortgage industry for five years. But the industry was crashing and the banks were shutting down as we hear every day on the news. My experience was management and business, so joining Graphic 45 in the first days of its inception was kind of a natural fit. I committed and made the move back to Utah and launched Graphic 45 with my mother. Shortly after we got it off the ground and got everything moved out of my mom’s basement, we moved into an office in Portland, Oregon and started the office of Operations.

How does this job make you feel fulfilled?

It has been immensely rewarding in so many ways. I’ve gotten to travel all over the world and meet people from all over the world. Though, the best by far is getting to work with my family - my mom, Diane, and my sister, Charee. We get to have daily interaction and then take traveling adventures together. It’s a great setup.

The family that can work together! Love that!

There were kinks to work out at first, but our personalities mesh so well and it’s a really great thing.

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Aimee in Singapore on one of her many Graphic 45 adventures!

What does the Director of Operations do day-to-day?

Juggling! I oversee the employees and organize the trips, shows, and classes. I make sure marketing is working out. I do Product Development. Director of Operations is a hefty title. I do a bunch of everything! And I have done everything. Not so much anymore, thanks to the company growing! We just make sure we’re making products that people love and want to buy.

How does it compare to your mortgage jobs? How much of a learning curve has it been for you?

There’s a lot of Googling to try to figure out things! I was a salesperson in my old corporate job. So it taught me a lot of marketing, managing time - so there are some similarities. As far as getting trained on all the ins and outs of this industry, I didn’t have that training. Troubleshooting is my new forte! If I don’t know how to do it, I either figure it out or hire someone who can!

What specifically do you love about this industry coming from a recession-hit industry like banking?

The biggest difference is the people! They’re amazing. Going to the trade show and interacting with our customers - they don’t seem like customers. They’re like our friends and family. We look forward to seeing them. It’s more of a relationship. When you see our customers, they give us hugs! It’s not like the hand-shaking, corporate environment I came from.

How has working with your family enriched your relationships?

All the traveling and working together on a daily basis is such a blessing. Humans work a majority of their lives just to make ends meet and make sure to pay the bills. It’s so great to spend that chunk of time with people you love, admire, and want to hang out with anyways.

Aimee in Singapore on one of her many G45 adventures!

Portland, Oregon, where your Operation Office is located, is an artist-packed, creative, amazing city. How does living in Portland influence your office atmosphere? How does it feed into Graphic 45’s daily operations?

Charee and I head the Operations office and we really wanted to open our Operations office here. Portland is amazing. The attitude of appreciating and expressing art in this community just infuses our work! It’s the perfect fit for a company like Graphic 45, because people embrace being creative in Portland. Our office is an old, restored mill that’s over 100 years old. It has that same foundation that Graphic 45 is built on. It has a unique character with a vintage feel. The majority of the tenants are architects, artists, musicians, and all different types of creative fields. We are in this building because the energy of creativity is in the air and just thrives here!

Graphic 45 doesn’t seem like an “all-work-no-play” kind of place? How do you maintain fun in the midst of business?

We definitely like to have a good time. With all the access to crafts, we occasionally have crafting nights where people who don’t work in the office come in and get to play with all the tools and crafts we have. Other manufacturers in the industry are so awesome sharing ribbons, fabric, stamps, and tools with us! I’m sure we’ll have a few crafting nights here soon in preparation for the holidays. We’ll have to have a Cookie Exchange and start getting our Christmas crafts on.

Confession: I’m the left-brained person in the office, and I even occasionally make a card! When I look at our blog at all the creations by our design team and going to the shows and seeing all the work in our booth, I have to say, I’ve learned some things! My stuff isn’t half bad anymore.

It is amazing to see what that design team can turn paper and some adhesives into!

We have some crazy creative folks on our design team. The best around!

What would your theme song be?

Instantly when Charee and I read this, I jokingly thought it was “Taking Care of Business.” I told Charee in jest, but she told me that’s totally what it was. So, there it is. My theme song! I’ve embraced it.

How is it to get to travel so much with Graphic 45? Do you love it or does it feel like a chore?

Traveling is one of the highlights of the job for sure! It’s so thrilling to meet people from all over enjoying the same products and they’re bringing them happiness and joy. It’s so incredible to see fans from Minnesota enjoying the same products as our fans in Australia. Not only is that wonderful, I get to go all these places with my family and for my JOB! Just going to places and learning about them is so enriching. I definitely don’t take it for granted. I get a lot of flack from friends and other family members about all the exotic places I get to go - I realize how amazing it is to get to experience all these journeys!

What are you thankful for in this season of gratitude?

Everything! I have a really great life with awesome family and friends. I am employed! Such a blessing coming from the banking industry. That has not been the case for so many of my friends. I get to work with my family and people I love. I’m thankful for my dog Henry. He comes to the office every single day. He is the Graphic 45 mascot and most definitely a great part of our day. I am thankful for the Jade plant on my desk. I kill these guys all the time, and I may have met my match and kept one alive!

The guy we all love, Henry, the Graphic 45 Office Mascot!

You need to knock on wood right now so it doesn’t die tomorrow!

I know!!

Anything exciting on the Graphic 45 horizon.

We have CHA releases coming up! People are going to be really excited about it. Look for some bundles of joy coming your way soon!

Next up,  get to Know Charee Filimoehala, Director of Customer Service and Design Team Coordinator! Learn how G45 chooses their amazing Design Team,Charee's childhood nickname, and about her amazing fashion sense! This is going to be a good one.

Enjoy your peek into the life of Charee Filimoehala, daughter of Diane Schultz and Director of Customer Service and Design Team Coordinator! This was a great chat with Charee!

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Charee, how has working for Graphic 45 changed your life?

It’s changed my life in almost every way! I’m working harder and longer more than I’ve ever done before! Before I worked for Graphic 45 I worked in the restaurant industry. I loved working with customers and getting to know the regulars. I loved creating food. It was always fun making a masterpiece with delicious food objects.

What’s similar at Graphic 45 to the food industry?

It’s very customer-oriented. I’m Director of Customer Service. When I travel I get to interact one-on-one and that’s so wonderful. I want to be out there giving the customers what they want and what they need. Instead of daily specials and what to cook at home, I’m coming up with projects of the day and blogs of the day and helping with lines for the future. It’s different, but has the same structure!

What is your favorite part about the job?

Every time I get to see new creations from our design team, G45 followers, our manufacturers, or on YouTube. It’s so much fun to see what people are coming up with! They share on our Facebook, email us, and share on our Ning site. We feel excited that our customers are so happy with our products they want us to see what they’ve done with it!

When we get to go out and travel, one of my favorite parts of the trip is talking with the customers and owners. Hearing their input, ideas, and love for the product. It’s always fun hearing their concepts for future lines! And I love learning about people and the difference of their customs and cultures. It’s such a fun learning experience.

You help out with the design team we see on the blog all the time, how did you find such talented folks?!

I’m the Design Team Coordinator and have been in this role for about a year now. Every February, we post a “Design Team Call.” We give folks a few weeks to turn in their applications. We get a few hundred applicants a year. It takes a lot of time to go through all of these. It’s really fun to do this. We pick the top 25 and it is one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever had to do in my life. My mom and Aimee and our whole Graphic 45 office help score the top 25 designers. Then the applicants send in projects. We all get involved and spend a day going through the projects. And we all collectively decide who our design team for our next year will be.

It’s really crazy, there are so many people who are talented! We may get 35 designers who do amazing layouts, but we have to cover all the design bases. So even if you’re not chosen, you’re still crazy talented. We just have to show all the different types of design and things to design.

So it’s almost like Project Runway or some reality TV show.

I wish we had Tim Gunn from Project Runway to help us make decisions and Heidi Klum to be the bearer of bad news. Next year, we’re going to hire them. Do they do Pro Bono work?

I’ve heard you’re also quite the crafter, want to share some of your creations with us, your fans, today?

I do love crafting, but am intimidated when I see the possibilities of crafting design. But you have to dive in and go for it! I love learning individual techniques. I love to see how someone made that flower, or a technique on a card or layout. And then when I have holidays coming up I’ll add these individual things I’ve made to gift bags, cards, magnets, all sorts of things! I love the gift ideas for crafting.

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Once Upon a Springtime Mini Album Created By: Charee

You work alongside with your sister, Aimee? How is it to work alongside your big sis?

It’s many things! Mostly, it’s the best anyone could ask for. She’s my best friend and my sister! And my mom is my boss! And when I have an idea I have no hesitation to share. It’s a great environment to grow in. My job has evolved tremendously in the past three years. It makes me want to work harder because it’s for my family. I’ve been a hard worker, but now there’s more purpose and meaning behind it. Plus, getting to travel with them is so great.

The downside is you feel too comfortable, so there’s room to get into tiny arguments you wouldn’t with a regular boss. Conversations like, “You do it. No, you do it!” We get away with more teasing than most. But at the end of the day, it helps you feel more bonded as a family.

Charee with Aimee and Diane at CHA!

What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?

I don’t know of one specific example, but so many people in my daily life are role models. And I incorporate that into my daily life. From growing up and seeing what a hard worker my mom is, she is such a great role model. She always made me know that anything is possible just through the way she lived her life. I can always work harder and be better! All my siblings are such hard workers and achieve all their goals and are great role models with their families and their careers.

 

We see pictures of the G45 ladies from events and on Facebook and you and your sister Aimee are super stylish ladies. What influences your fashion, Charee?

 

Traveling is a great influence on and off the clock! New York City is one of my favorite cities. Being there you are just surrounded by fashion, art, beauty. I love shopping when I travel. That’s where I get so many great finds. I love getting fashion from old movies. I love the 1920s and 1930s vintage-style fashion. Television shows from those eras certainly inspire as well.

If you were an animal, what animal would you be, Charee?

My nickname ever since I was a child has been “Bear.” It started as “Care Bear.” Then it turned into “Share Bear,” because I really liked sharing growing up. And now, the nickname is just “Bear.” I had a giant collection of bears growing up. It’s been a theme throughout my life that I continue to love and embrace. I just love that they’re cute and mostly peaceful and innocent. I love the video of the panda bear sneezing!

Oh my goodness, could Henry be any cuter in this pile of bears?! An awesome follower of G45 sent these to Charee as a gift, since she loves bears! Our customers are the best.

What is your favorite holiday? What are your favorite holiday traditions?

I love Christmas!! I love Christmas music the most. My boyfriend just gave me the new She & Him Christmas album. It’s amazing. My favorite tradition has to be going home to my Mom’s house and spending Christmas with her and the whole family. It’s the highlight of the season!

What about your job with Graphic 45 inspires you day in and day out. What do you take away from working with Graphic 45 customers and designers?

There’s always something new to see! New techniques or ways to see old things. Just learning from each other is the best. In our crafting community, we work with the nicest people so that is so inspiring to see how creative, kind, and thoughtful people can be in the industry! One of my favorite things are our blog hops. We try to never see anyone else as a rival but as a friend and mentor to look up to and learn from! That’s the most inspiring part of the job.

Finally, what would you like to say in close to us, your loyal fans?

Just thank you to everyone who supports Graphic 45 and giving me a job I love! We hope to continue bringing out the best with our products, collections, creations by our design team!

We hope you all enjoyed getting to know Aimee and Charee today. Remember that you can get weekly Graphic 45 updates, including free project sheets, tips, announcements and so much more! Sign up to receive our newsletter here:

http://www.facebook.com/Graphic45?sk=app_100265896690345

Happy Papercrafting!

Team Graphic 45

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Comments

Thanks for sharing... great getting to know the team behind the scenes...

Both wonderful young ladies..true treasures to their Mother. Be proud, Diane.

I love the G45 look...and Henri is so cute.

What a wonderful family! No wonder they have a very successful business based on customer service, family and beauty!

I love your papers and other goodies. It takes alllll of you to make it as wonderful as it is!!

I just love seeing your mascot!! He's adorable, as you know. I also love seeing your new products, and even more, ideas of what I can do with your products.

Graphic 45 is one of my very favorite craft companies. It's sophisticated, but cute.

Henry..I love you :) So sweet! Girls, you are both beautiful people inside and out and your hard work has really earned you a top spot in the crafting industry!

Great interviews!! TFS

What a great post. It was wonderful getting to know you both. It's easy to see why you have such a great product. You guys are great. Thanks for sharing. Big hugs for Henry. He's adorable!

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