ADDRESS: 7345 SW Deerhaven Drive, Corvallis, OR 97333
PHONE NUMBER: 541-738-1897
OWNER: Julie Tobias Weiss
YEARS IN BUSINESS: 14
WHAT SHE SELLS: Graphic design
WHY YOU SHOULD GO: For high-quality design of marketing products to promote your business or organization
It’s no surprise that most of Julie Tobias Weiss’s clients come to her as referrals. With her warm and gracious manner, Julie conveys the sense that each of her clients is special and that her focus is clearly on helping them create just the right products to meet their needs. Julie’s specialty is print media, and, over the years, she has compiled an impressive portfolio that includes print ads, brochures, posters, logos, illustrations and letterheads.
Julie, when and why did you decide to start your business? I’ve lived in Corvallis since I was five. My dad was an architect with the firm of Jeppsen, Miller, and Tobias for 40 years, and he was also a water color painter. Even though he didn’t talk much about what he created, I watched him. [Julie’s father designed many public buildings, including Hoover School, Crescent Valley High School, LBCC, several buildings at OSU, and Lebanon Community Hospital.] I earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Visual Design from OSU in 1997 and started working for Sanda Communications (in Corvallis) upon graduation. I had small children at the time and wanted to work from home. So after about two years of working for Sanda, I continued working for them as a free-lancer, and I started my business, Tobias Weiss Design. They sent me a lot of their smaller clients, and I still work with those clients today.
Tell us more about your services. What are your favorites? I specialize in print media. That’s what gets me going. One of my favorite projects was the Red Horse logo. I enjoyed that process. I also did the logo for Mod Pod. I do a lot of small business marketing materials and identity packages, including brochures, business cards, print ads, and newsletters. All of the newsletters are now on-line, and this has been a big change in the last 10 years. I also like to do promotional materials, such as posters. I mostly work for small businesses, and 90% of my business is in the region. Most of my clients find me word-of-mouth.
What does being featured as the Local Business of the Week mean to you? I feel happy and fortunate to be asked. I may get a client or two from the exposure, but mostly I feel fortunate.
Does your business fill an unusual niche? I specialize in print. Printing can be a complicated process. I listen really well to my clients so I can understand their needs and their budgets. I usually encourage my clients to have me do the actual printing of whatever it is I’ve designed. I work with a broad range of local printers, and there are a lot of factors that play into which printer is the best for the job. Setting up the print job is a skill in itself.
What challenges have you faced as an independent local business owner? The biggest challenge is that I’m just one person. But I work with other professionals in the community who make up a talented team of people, so I can usually fill most needs. I have good resources. My field is changing all the time – software upgrades, printing technology – it’s a constantly changing field. Also, I see the trends of business changing.
What do you feel is the impact of local independent businesses on Corvallis, and what does the future look like for the local independents? We have better quality, healthier options because of the many local independent businesses in Corvallis. I think that our community likes to support small businesses. Supporting each other creates a better community for everyone. People are more connected to each other, and more likely to help each other out. In Corvallis, people want to help each other succeed.
What do you enjoy most about owning a local, independent business in Corvallis? I really like owning my own business because I get to set my own hours, and I have complete freedom to make the decisions. I really enjoy working directly with a client from beginning to end – from the initial phone conversation to delivery of the final products. I develop good relationships that way. I prefer working directly with people rather than going through a sales rep. Plus my boss is really good to me!
What is your relationship to the community? I was a Girl Scout leader for 8 years, and a 4-H leader for 4 years. We donate to local social services non-profits every year, and I like to support small businesses personally. I’m also a member of PEERS, which is a women’s networking and business support group that meets every week. It’s been around for about 30 years, and some of the women who founded the organization are still attending.
How important is sustainability to you and your business? I’m very committed to sustainability – both in my business and in my home. Because of digital technology, I am able to do 90% of my designing without paper. I save on gas by working at home, and when I need to go somewhere, I drive a hybrid car and try to time my appointments so I can go on several errands in one trip. My husband and I are also organic gardeners and have a huge garden and orchard of 20 fruit trees. We shop locally at the Co-op and Gathering Together Farm for the things we don’t grow. We also raise chickens and dairy goats. Currently we have six goats, but are milking just one — it’s a lot of milk!
Please give us your one-sentence take-away message about your business. My design philosophy is simple: hear each client’s voice; see each client’s vision; consider each client’s budget; and create designs that respect all three.
The Local Business of the Week program is designed to help the Corvallis community identify our locally owned independent businesses by featuring one business each week. The program is part of the Buy Local First campaign co-sponsored by the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition and the Community Independent Business Alliance (CIBA).