When did you start Hull Graphic Design?
Hull Graphic Design (HGD) began on July 1, 1991. I remember moving into my first office on July 4 weekend, and excitingly celebrated a true Independence Day!
Being a freelance graphic designer was a common career option, I somehow always thought that one day I would freelance. But how would I establish a cash flow and ongoing work, market my business, and broaden a client base? I decided it was wise to work full-time in a professional field for a while and learn how the industry worked.
What did you do before that?
Prior to starting HGD, I worked in pharmaceutical advertising as a mechanical artist and account executive, and then medical publishing as an art director for journals and special projects that went to physicians and the medical community. I worked full time for almost 10 years.
What attracted you to graphics?
As a double-degree college grad in Biology and Studio Art, I naturally wanted to put science and art together. In college, I was the "art student" of our Biology department, creating the illustrated department materials and publishing drawings in my professors' text books. An art teacher suggested looking into medical illustration.
What brought you to do business in Bethel?
Previously I lived in Norwalk and had my office in Stamford and Norwalk. I often traveled to clientele in northern New Jersey for several years working with multiple medical publishers and communications companies. I met my husband who lived in Bethel and I really liked this charming town and was pleased to move my office here….and of course avoid a 45-minute commute!
What do you like most about Bethel?
Although we are still located in Fairfield County, Bethel is on the outer edge of the NYC aura. We're in the country now! I enjoy the rural neighborhoods and New England woods, nature trails, and the down-to-earth disposition of the community.
What's your funniest customer story?
I learned the hard way years ago to implement and require a signed project estimate with clients. HGD produced a 4-color brochure for an Italian import/export company. As we were prepared to go to the printer the business owner, oh by the way, wanted half of the brochures printed in Italian and somehow didn't expect any pricing to change. Ha ha! It's not hard to imagine there would be extra work involved to translate and re-produce a second print-ready brochure to satisfy this request. In good faith, we complied and delivered the two printed brochures and then were not paid for any of it. I filed a writ with the city (Stamford at the time) and our case was scheduled to be heard in small claims court.
One day I answered my office phone and thought I was receiving a crank call. Someone from The People's Court was calling asking if they could put my case on TV. I almost hung up on them! I learned that cases of public record like ours filed in small claims court, were scoured by
that show's researchers looking for interesting cases to air on their show. Former Mayor Ed Koch would be the judge!
The terms were interesting: both sides had to agree to appear on national television. What was intriguing was that if I proved my case and Judge Koch awarded it in my favor, The People's Court would pay the bill. The defendant doesn't have to pay anything, they just get disgraced on national television. I agreed to this plan, my family was on high-alert that I might be on TV!
Not surprisingly, the defendant did not agree and we ended up in small claims court. After some aggravating and comical outbursts by the defendant, and the judge having to tell them multiple times to stop interrupting my testimony, our little trial was over. I would receive a verdict by mail in 30 days.
The court found in HGD's favor. Now all I had to do was actually collect the money. Did you know that only about 50% of cases won in small claims court ever receive the payment? The plaintiff still must pursue the payment. Much to my astonishment, I received a check from this client in about 30 days after the verdict. Whew! Boy, I hope I never have to experience that again!
What should our readers know about you?
This July HGD celebrated 28 years in business providing print and web communications and problem-solving in a rapidly changing technology environment. Our client testimonials on our homepage say it best. Our breadth of services and work samples can be seen at:
Do you have any special offers our readers should know about?
We are happy to have a "discovery" phone call or meeting, or cup of coffee, with you to learn more about your business goals and needs and see how we can best help you. We have strong print design and production background in a wide variety of business and marketing communications for large corporations through small businesses (SMBs). In addition, we also offer website design and development services, and digital marketing solutions for SMBs. Give us a call to discuss your online presence and schedule a complementary live online consultation and demonstration to see if our services are a good fit for your company's needs.
What do you like about being a member of the Bethel Chamber of Commerce?
Prior to BCC, we had never been a member of a business chamber before. I have enjoyed meeting local business people and learning more about their companies, their goods and services, struggles and successes, and the customers they have helped and new ones they seek. I believe part of HGD's success has been being resourceful for our clients. It's not uncommon for our clients who trust us to ask for recommendations possibly unrelated to our core offerings…Hey, do you know any good… house painters? …financial planners? …massage therapists? …personal chefs? Etc. Well, yes, thanks to business networking! How may we help you?
Hull Graphics, 182 Grassy Plain Road, Bethel, 203-797-9497, www.hullgraphicdesign.com