Hi, I am Heather Bunker and I am from a small college town in Mid Michigan. I am a mother, graphic designer, brand strategist, gardener, and lover of all things handmade.
First, I want to take you back to when I was about 9 years old...I grew up in small towns all over Michigan. My mother, single mom, struggled to keep food on the table and a roof over our head but she managed to teach me a few amazing things. 1st just because you don't have a bank account full of money doesn't mean you can't have fun, be frugal, and make life remarkable.
My passion for design started at a young age when my mom would craft us handmade costumes from goodwill finds and cardboard. She encouraged me to think differently, to make things If I didn't have them. As a middle-schooler, I started to be interested in skateboarding and snowboarding and used to cut out snowboarders from Transworld Snowboarding Magazine and paste them all over the place. I made all kinds of things using the pages from those magazines. I drooled over the amazing photography, hand lettering, sweet layouts, and inspiring people. I started designing my own snowboard line called H2 because my name was Heather Hazard. Yes, Hazard. It was perfect.
I remember my mom taking me to a local ski resort because she had a friend that worked there. We didn't have the money to really go but he set me up on the bunny hill, gave me an oversized snowboard (without boots), and said go. I didn't even have snow pants. So there I was a young girl determined to ride down that hill on an oversized snowboard in jeans in the middle of winter. Did I actually snowboard that day? No, not really. I bashed my face in the snow over and over and never gave up. I was hooked.
In high school I became even more obsessed with skateboarding and snowboarding, and because we were too poor for a car I skated my way around town on a pair of roller blades. My mom even caught me one day jumping over bushes in the local parking lot. I also-knew I wanted to be an artist of some kind but it wasn't until one day I went on a field trip to a vocational school and set my eyes on a press, computers, and a way to design for the magazines I loved so much. I was determined to be a graphic designer.
High school was tough for me as we were homeless and struggling financially and some nights didn't have dinner... but I went to that vocational school. I learned the earliest design software and recited the design principles, I learned how to run a press, how to print my own t-shirts, and I designed for the pages of a magazine. All I could think about was becoming a designer and building brands. My high school teacher inspired me. He taught me that it doesn't matter where we come from or what we have if we set our minds on a path and build a strategy to get there and never give up. (Thanks Mr. Jenson & Mr. James Malone-Beach)
So I was a homeless high schooler determined to be a designer.
I didn't do it all on my own. God was in on this path the entire time. I knew he was there and was supported by him the entire journey. He knew I was destined to be a brand designer too...and he put some amazing people in my life to help me along the way.
I made it into an amazing University where I went to business school for design. It was a cut-throat school and I had an advantage over the other 100 or so first-year design students. Night after night I spent designing, redesigning, cutting, scoring, folding, editing, re-editing, and cutting off the tips of my fingers making and drafting projects. Every night until my Sophmore year portfolio review was spent huddled in my dorm room drafting table. If we didn't pass our review we would have to find another career and would not go on to get our bachelors in design. So I put my head down and only came up from designing when I was starving...Only 14 students made it. Ferris State University was one of the best times of my life...and I knew branding and design was my future.
I worked for large agencies and a few small ones, and after working for a few terrible ones, I decided I had to work for myself. And, eventually, I got married and had kids and I really realized I had to make this thing work because I wanted to see my kids grow up. I didn't want to miss out on the amazing pirate battles, and princess rescues, and play fights. Working late at an agency to meet unrealistic deadlines was not going to cut it.
I understand how hard it is to struggle as a new business owner, stuck in your own head and unclear of where to go with your business. As a brand strategist, I should have known. I helped out many businesses come up with their own strategy, visual identities, and figure out a strategy to meet their goals...so why did it take me so long to do it for myself? We get in our own way. And sometimes we need a little help figuring it all out...and it's ok to reach out for clarity.
So I swallowed my pride and reached out for help. And I got it. I hired a mentor/strategist and he encouraged me to think about the things I love most. Design, Branding, and the handmade. You see it all goes back to my childhood. I always was intrigued by the handmade. My mom was always encouraging me to make what I didn't have. To learn new things and build a community around it. To me, it's the independent thinkers, inventors, designers, and makers that really live and build a world I want my children to live in. I believe in open-source learning, contemporary design, and living in a society that is free from visual clutter. Free from having too much...I believe in living simpler. We don't have to have a ton of stuff to live happy lives. I believe in handmade, authentic products that aren’t mass-produced, but thoughtful pieces of functional art and that's just who I love to serve!
I believe in finding clarity and building a strategy first, designing awesome websites and visual identities that match. So you can grow your business and be with your family too.