The last word with…

The Graphic 45 founder gives valu­able ad­vice for chang­ing ca­reers and find­ing in­spi­ra­tion

Cardmaking and Papercraft - - Contents -

Meet the owner of Graphic 45, Diane Schultz

How did you choose the name Graphic 45? What does the ‘45’ mean?

I spent the first 20-plus years of my ca­reer as an ap­parel, tex­tile and con­cep­tual de­signer for both start-up and na­tional com­pa­nies. My back­ground in­cluded stints de­sign­ing for McCalls, Sim­plic­ity, Vogue/But­t­er­ick, Mat­tel Toy Com­pany and a host of other jobs that each, in some way, led me to what I do now. At that time, the do­mes­tic ap­parel mar­ket was mov­ing off­shore and many in the in­dus­try had to close their doors. Although I con­tin­ued to have job of­fers, they were on the East and West coast and it would have meant mov­ing my fam­ily. With three of my six chil­dren still at home, I de­cided in­stead, to go back to school. At 45, I got my de­gree in graphic de­sign and named my de­sign com­pany to cel­e­brate that achieve­ment.

What ad­vice do you have for some­one who’s con­sid­er­ing a ca­reer change or re­turn­ing to ed­u­ca­tion?

Be pas­sion­ate about what­ever you’re do­ing – es­pe­cially if it in­volves a life change. Many peo­ple be­lieve in tak­ing baby steps, but if you’re like me, you jump in with both feet. Go­ing back to school with kids half my age was in­tim­i­dat­ing at first, but it turned out to be such a re­ward­ing and life-chang­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. Af­ter grad­u­at­ing, I did a lot of free­lanc­ing. One of my free­lance jobs drew me to de­sign­ing scrap­book pa­per. It was my first ex­pe­ri­ence in the in­dus­try and I was hooked! I be­lieved that by com­bin­ing my ex­pe­ri­ence in ap­parel, tex­tile and graphic de­sign, I could cre­ate a new com­pany that would of­fer prod­ucts unique to the pa­per­craft­ing in­dus­try. My daugh­ter, Aimee agreed to move Salt Lake City, Utah for six months to help launch the com­pany with the un­der­stand­ing that the op­er­a­tions of­fice would even­tu­ally run from Port­land, Ore­gon. She is now our Direc­tor of Op­er­a­tions.

What is it like to work to­gether with your daugh­ters and son?

Aimee is a no-non­sense kind of woman. With a ca­reer back­ground in com­mu­ni­ca­tion and fi­nance, she bal­ances my cre­ative ‘flights of fancy’. Cha­ree joined the team early on to over­see our so­cial me­dia pres­ence. She’s cre­ative, en­er­getic and re­ally keeps us on track with the trends. As the com­pany grew, we added staff to our Port­land of­fice, in­clud­ing my son Jeff, who wears a lot of hats, in­clud­ing pro­duc­tion de­signer. Work­ing with three of my six chil­dren is the best part of the dream. We are hav­ing the jour­ney of a life­time learn­ing and grow­ing to­gether.

Graphic 45 has a very dis­tinc­tive style – how did you de­cide on and de­velop this?

Graphic 45 is known for vin­tage style that cap­tures the vi­brant colour, at­ti­tude and imag­i­na­tive de­sign of by­gone eras. I’ve al­ways been in­spired by any­thing that is old and tells a story. When I first started de­sign­ing many years ago, I learned the im­por­tance of pay­ing close at­ten­tion to what’s go­ing on, not only in my in­dus­try but oth­ers as well. Na­ture, mag­a­zines, movies, fash­ion, tex­tiles, home dé­cor and even junk yards in­spire me. If I can marry past and present – some­thing fab­u­lous is born! For the first few years I was the sole de­signer. As we’ve in­creased the size and fre­quency of our re­leases, we’ve added de­sign­ers to meet the de­mand.

Are you a pa­per­crafter?

I am. There is some­thing magic about mak­ing some­thing with your hands! Pa­per­craft­ing is a cre­ative out­let – an op­por­tu­nity to ex­press who you are and what you love. Don’t be afraid of it, and don’t think it has to be per­fect! Some of the best in­spi­ra­tion and em­bel­lish­ments come from non-tra­di­tional sources like junk yards, an­tique or con­sign­ment shops, and yard sales (my per­sonal favourite places to trea­sure hunt.)

What are your plans for Christ­mas this year?

I love, love Christ­mas and hope that all six of my chil­dren, their spouses and my seven grand­chil­dren will be spend­ing the hol­i­days with me in Utah. My mother passed down her over-the-top love of Christ­mas tra­di­tions and I have such fun car­ry­ing on many of those tra­di­tions. In the past, I would dec­o­rate five Christ­mas trees, but have cut down to three. Every room is fes­tive. My garage is stacked high with decoration boxes – the process takes me at least two weeks but is a labour of love. Once the fam­ily ar­rives, the bak­ing, wrap­ping, laugh­ter and merry chaos be­gins!

If you had a time ma­chine and could travel back to one era, which would you choose?

I’d travel back to the ‘roar­ing twen­ties’! With sin­gu­lar fo­cus on in­di­vid­u­al­ism and dis­dain for the com­mon­place, a flam­boy­ant style was born in the 1920s and ’30s that cap­tured the imag­i­na­tion of the world and be­came all the rage. In a day and age when most peo­ple are com­mu­ni­cat­ing dig­i­tally, the tac­tile plea­sure of ink on pa­per puts us in touch with a sim­pler time and place, per­haps re­mind­ing us that good de­sign is un­chang­ing.

“Go­ing back to school with kids half my age was in­tim­i­dat­ing at first”

Diane’s favourite Graphic 45 project Diane loves go­ing all-out with Christ­mas dec­o­rat­ing

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