The Quilted Squirrel

The TQS Blog

Because we (still) think we’re fascinating….

TQS has not one, not two, but several different personality types at play in the office. Last month, you got to meet Jerry. This month, you get to meet Steve. I had the pleasure of sitting down and chatting with him for a little while, hoping to uncover some of what makes Steve, as I like to call him, “that guy who sits in the back office.” And because we still think we’re fascinating, I’d like to share some of that magic with you. 02I76885After first counting out the months on our fingers to figure out exactly how close to halfway through the year we are, Steve revealed some of his big plans for the rest of the year. And they are big, folks. Mind-boggling. His wife recently had a baby, and Steve is keeping his fingers crossed that in six months, said baby will be six months old. And with said baby, his wife, and their three-year-old son, he plans to drive to Utah. And back. I can’t even remember why, because the very idea blew my mind. Those goals are puny compared to what he has in store for next week, though. At home lay the pieces to construct a play-set for his children to play on outside, and Steve believes he’s just the man to put those pieces together. By his own estimation, this could take as long as a week. * 

As one of the founders of The Quilted Squirrel, Steve also has plans for the company. As you may have gathered from a previous blog post in which we stated our need for two interns, we brought in two new squirrels this week. Steve says that his goals for the company are fairly simple. 1. Continue down the path toward being the best advertising agency East of the Mississippi and West of the Hudson River. 2. Be the kind of company whose employees go home and brag to their friends about how great their jobs are. 3. Be the kind of boss whose employees don’t go home and tell all their friends about this loser they work for.

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Please welcome Squirrel Deanna and Squirrel Mark!
Some of these goals are lofty. Some seem entirely attainable. And some might even be downright impossible (a baby aging at the speed of time? Puh-leese.). While Jerry had some changes in mind for the day he achieves world domination, Steve prefers to think that it wouldn’t change him. That nothing, not even world domination, can set his plans to build a play-set for his children astray. Steve is good at many things. Not among them, knowing basic North American trivia. It’s audience participation time: How many countries are in North America? If you answered three, as Steve did, you now find yourself incorrect. The correct answer is 23. Did you forget that Central America and the Caribbean are included on the North American continent?  To his credit, Steve did correctly name eight North American countries. How many can you name? Click here to find out!

Sometimes, being the boss means having to make impossible choices. Steve asserts that given the choice between only getting to speak in the form of “would you rather” questions or direct quotes from Cookie Monster, he would rather use would you rather questions. Because, as he says, “I don’t know very many Cookie Monster quotes.” If he did have to speak and act like a Sesame Street character, he would choose Maria, though. Because she’s the center of the whole street. In my opinion, Steve is crazy. The center of the street is Gordon.

Image courtesy of www.sesamestreet.org
Image courtesy of www.sesamestreet.org
Being the boss also means that Steve and Jerry both made a big leap of faith 18 months ago when they started The Quilted Squirrel. Steve has a background in journalism and a master’s degree in marketing. From a young age, he’s always had an entrepreneurial spirit. As young as age 10 he was breeding gerbils and selling them back to the pet store. So why marketing?  “It’s literally something different everyday. Different clients in different industries mean that the work is always changing, and we get to learn about a lot of different things that we otherwise might not have a reason to know about. It pushes creativity, demands it. Also, it’s fun!” A respected professor once told him that if you work in marketing and you’re not having fun, you’re not doing it right. And that big risk that he took by starting this company? “I used to have a good job somewhere else. I could probably get another one. But this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. And so far, it’s been well worth it. It’s not as risky if you know you have a plan. And it’s even less risky if that plan includes working with really great people.” What’s so great about working with Jerry, then? “The laughs. He’s always funny and always at least slightly inappropriate. Sometimes he makes things uncomfortable. But I like that about him.” So to recap, Jerry is inappropriate and makes Steve uncomfortable. “Jerry is very creative. And he let us send out hundreds of copies of his head to businesses all over the area, so he’s also a good sport.” What are the worst things about working with Jerry? “Once, we were out at a restaurant and he was trying to blow the paper off the end of his straw and he spilled his orange pop all over the table. Another time, we were at a restaurant and I was reading my menu. Jerry thought it would be funny to smack the menu out of my hands. Instead, the menu flew into my face and the corner of it poked me in the eye.” Clearly, Steve has proven that he is great at marketing and advertising. When he was a kid, though, he was most proud of how good he was at street hockey. Otherwise, he didn’t really think much of himself. Or about himself. Now he says that his greatest skill is listening. When taking a company assessment on listening skills (at a previous company), the average score for most “good” listeners was a 70. Steve scored a 97. Some people brag about their SAT scores, but how many of you can say that you have scored exceptionally well on a weird, internal listening assessment? Steve’s listening skills are a major contributing factor to his success in marketing, however. Listening to clients, listening to employees, and using that in his problem solving is a fairly meaningful skill. Also, Steve gets to spend a lot of time listening to his new baby cry. So… you don’t want to tackle that unless you’ve scored at least an 85 on that listening assessment. Steve believes his wife would say that he is best at completing projects around the house. Like that play-set. Also, he hopes she would say he is a great father. When he’s not renovating bathrooms or landscaping the yard, he’s playing whatever game his son, Connor, is in the mood for that day. So how did Steve achieve this family that he’s so devoted to? It all started with a date. Steve started dating in 5th grade, so by the time he met his wife in 2003, he’d had a lot of practice. His very first date was with a girl named Audrey Kraft. Steve (and his mom) took Audrey to the movies. Steve dressed to impress in jeans and a t-shirt that said “Toxic Waste” and featured pictures of goblins and garbage. Audrey took the date seriously and wore a pretty dress and nice patent leather shoes. Steve was so embarrassed about his shirt that he spilled a whole box of Sprees on the floor during the movie (this isn’t true. Steve doesn’t remember what made him spill the Sprees, but some of life’s best moments are meaningless mysteries). Personally, I would never date someone who wasted that much candy, but this interview isn’t about me.
Horrifying waste.
Horrifying waste.
From that very first date until 2003, Steve worked on perfecting the art of dating. When he finally went on his last first-date, with the woman who is now his wife, he had a secret weapon. “Farting on the first date is the key to success. That’s my credo.” And it worked! Steve passed gas on his first date with his wife, and she not only called him out for it, but also later married him. I think the lesson here is… men are gross. Sometimes you have to settle. Chatting with Steve, it is obvious that the only thing more important to him than his business is his family. And since Steve is both a words man and a family man, I asked him to combine the two by describing the recent birth of his new baby in no more than six words. And because Steve is also a rule-breaker and a rebel, he used eight words. “Joyous. Pushing. Excitement. Surprise (because they didn’t find out the gender ahead of time). Overwhelming (emotions). Pushing. Tim Hortons.” Come back next month for an interview with someone else. And if there’s someone here you’re just dying to learn more about, let us know on Facebook! *Editor’s Note: Steve completed the play-set over the weekend. In total, he invested eight (8) hours of labor into the project.

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