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You learn business lessons early on when you grow up in a family operation, and when you have an opportunity to work for an entrepreneur. You get the sort of education that college courses, seminars and books don’t teach—the hard knocks stuff, the hands-on work that ultimately creates a foundation for your career. Experiences in two completely different work lives—at Dad’s manufacturing company and a marketing communications firm—shaped who I am today as a business owner and designer.
Here’s the backstory…
More Than a Summer Job
My grandfather and dad (now business partner) Craig de Fasselle ran Meter Equipment Mfg. (MEM) when I was growing up. The second-generation family business developed and manufactured flow meters for liquids, gases and steam. My after-school jobs were unlike what others my age were doing to earn an extra buck. I started out by helping with packaging, and moved on to conducting pressure testing and running a drill press in the factory. I learned operations, business and how the production process works.
When I decided to pursue design at Xavier University, Dad started giving me opportunities to test my skills. So at MEM, I created brochures and worked on logos and other marketing projects. At the same time, I started doing some design work for other business clients. I pursued design because of my love for the creative aspect of the work—but I had been working in the real world for long enough to know that there’s the need for practical design that gets the job done. (The job is almost always selling a product, growing a business—you get the idea.)
Working the Front Line at a Marketing Firm
After graduating from college, I worked as an in-house marketing/design specialist for a brief time before moving on to Kucia and Associates in Cincinnati. The small marketing communications outfit wasn’t actually looking for a designer, but I reached out to the owner, Dave Kucia, and sent him my portfolio. We met, clicked and he carved a position for me as a full-time designer. There, I mostly worked on print design projects, from direct mail pieces to trade show displays—the whole gamut. I was Dave’s go-to, and we visited clients together. It was more than a design job. I was trafficking projects through the sales cycle, serving as project manager. I learned the business of design, and what it’s like to operate a nimble, creative firm. I got to know our clients, what made them tick, and collaborated on projects to help them realize their goals. I loved that work…but I got an itch.
Designing for Results
A desire to go out on my own coincided with my dad preparing to head in a new direction with his manufacturing and web experience. In 2007, we officially partnered. When we officially formed Blitz Media Design a year later, we continued to focus on “designing for results” for clients in the manufacturing businesses we grew up in and knew inside and out.
We bring a different perspective to manufacturing companies—those who have been “burned” in the past by hiring marketing firms that never really “got” how they worked. We get it. We’ve been there—and we understand their target audience. There’s something really satisfying about being the answer for a company: becoming their partner, helping them grow. What started as a design career has evolved into an opportunity to shape the way manufacturing firms reach customers. I realize how much our services at Blitz Media Design can really make a difference, and that’s exciting.
What’s Next: Blending Manufacturing, Business & Marketing Expertise
Dad and I are excited about the next chapter of Blitz Media Design, our new headquarters (check out some work-in-progress pics here), and our focused approach. We believe in the valuable Discovery process we’re providing our manufacturing clients. We’re alleviating clients’ web frustrations and helping them realize that they can get the results they want with a true web strategy. (Success is more than just building a site and focusing on “visitors.”)
It’s fun to tell the story about how we got to where we are today. I never thought working at MEM during the summers, packing meters for shipping and helping on the production line, that I’d be a marketing development partner to similar businesses. Blitz Media Design is a culmination of Dad’s deep web and engineering expertise, and my professional design and project managing experience. I’m always learning—that’s what I love best about this profession. There’s always a new tool to try, and we’re constantly testing and vetting technologies so we can bring our clients the stuff that really works, that really produces results. (We’re not big bells-and-whistles people here.)
And, we’re constantly evolving, including rolling out our dynamic Discovery process that’s a true marketing awakening for clients. (You can read more about that here.)
That’s enough about me… ready to talk about your business?