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{ WHO WE ARE: AN INTERVIEW }

Rather than a contrived soliloquy or a boring bullet point list of accomplishments, here’s who we are....

Q. What is 3 Degrees West?

Sandy:
The brainchild of two driven, creative veterans in the design and marketing industry; Karley Cunningham and Sandy Gerber. 3 Degrees West Design & Communications is located in Vancouver, British Columbia and is quickly becoming one of Canada’s top providers of exceptional creative brand strategy solutions. 3 Degrees West was created in 2005, when Twist Multimedia and ThreeKids Media merged forces.

Q. How did 3 Degrees West come to be?

Karley:
A bigger, better plan designed by the Universe……. I was busy building my own boutique design company, and Sandy was referred to me for my web talents by a mutual friend. From the first meeting we knew there was something more to be had and there was no question that we had something really powerful in the works.

Sandy:
A great frappuccino and after working on a rebranding project together, Karley and I knew we were exceptional together, able to utilize each other’s expertise and skill to provide amazing solutions to our clients.

Q. Why should a company work with you?

Sandy:
If they have been “burned”, less than impressed and frustrated with other agencies, then they definitely will be thrilled to work with us. I don’t know what I love more, the results we produce for the clients or the relationship we create; it is fun, productive and easy for our clients to look good to their bosses and peers.

Q. Where did the name, 3 DEGREES WEST come from?

Sandy:
Well, we are about 3 degrees “off” from most people. Seriously, the 3 degrees of our business are Karley and I (two Eastern born girls who came West) and the incredible network of technology partners and suppliers who we know we can count on and have fun working with them.

Q. How did you start in the industry?

Karley:
It all started when I was two and someone put a Crayola in my hand, unfortunately I thought the wall was a much better canvas than paper! My life has been about art and interpreting since I can remember, so when it came time to choose a direction out of high school, an art major at University seemed the obvious answer. I quickly understood the term “starving artist”, and as I was and still am a little too rambunctious to curate a gallery……I checked out the Design & Communications programs, et voila! A perfect fit. Once I had my diploma in hand and practicum which became my first paying position, there was no turning back!

Sandy:
Microsoft Powerpoint. Seriously! I worked in the finance industry (unbelievable when you know me!) and would spend long evenings designing marketing materials in Powerpoint, by choice! I loved designing marketing on the computer. Knowing of an impending layoff and hating dealing with other people’s money all day, I told the biggest mouth in the company I was miserable and two weeks later, I enrolled in a Computer Graphics program with my severance cheque. I found my passion for creative design and programming and started in the real world with Molson Canada creating a website for beer fans! Talk about a fit for me!

I continued to educate myself in web development and project management and filling my need to be “in the trenches” of an agency rather than the client, I became Director of Operations for Grey Interactive in Toronto. This role was wonderfully exciting and fulfilling enabling me to mentor, manage production and foster communication and process in the organization. No one can forget “Sandy’s Monday Morning Huddles”! Looking for more adventure, I landed in BC in a chat about eCommerce with the President of British Columbia Lottery Corp and made the cocktail napkin sketch a reality two years later by launching PlayNow(online gaming). All the combined experiences as the client and as the agency have contributed to my success and knowledge. I am truly blessed for all I have experienced and learned in the industry.

Q. Why do people work with you, as opposed to other agencies?

Sandy:
Bottom line, we are authentic. We will tell you exactly how we feel about your project, what we propose will work for your goals and what we can do to help. If you request something that is not our specialty, we will connect you with a person in our network who is the leader in that industry. We will easily communicate with you about the progress of the project and ensure your expectations are always met. (I really mean this, most agencies say it, but we mean it).

Q. What do you do when you are not working?

Karley:
Push my limits…physically. I’ve never really been able to sit still for long (admittedly a bit of a problem in long meetings! LOL). So when I’m not engaged in business activities, aka. sitting still designing, I can be found hiking in the mountains with my dog, mountain biking, dirt biking, road riding. Cycling is my second love to design. I’ve been riding for over ten years, and for five of those I have been teaching spin classes (indoor cycling classes) and “paying it forward” with the knowledge passed on to me by my mentors in the sport. Sport has taught me a lot about succeeding, which applies directly into business

Sandy:
I have a love affair with two people (my son and my daughter). Anytime I can spend on a floor playing with them, the better. My kids really help me to be a better person, to remember how an experience can feel like new again and to develop my creativity. When I need some Sandy time, I am usually painting, reading, writing, walking my crazy dog, Modem (she really is wired!) and spending time with my friends and family. I always look for new experiences that make me grow as a person and appreciate all I have in my life. Next planned adventure- Nicaragua, to build a house for a family.

Q. What are you most proud of in your career successes?

Karley:
Two things:
1. The confidence our clients have in us.
2. Our portfolio. When you are completely immersed and working hard on a project you don’t always see the full picture, between the goals, requirements, meetings and deadlines. I don’t even question that we do great work, but when you look back on a project after a few months and think, “Wow! Look what we did!!”, that’s the most amazing feeling.

Sandy:
I am most proud of Karley and I creating and evolving 3 DEGREES WEST. It has been a journey of persistence, creativity, honesty and friendship. I love how both of our past experiences of developing our natural abilities and following our insatiable quest for growth and knowledge have directly impacted our successful business.

Q. What annoys you about your industry?

Karley:
EGO. I hate Designers and Creative Directors with EGO!!They drive me insane. Ego gets in the way of collaboration, betterment by the collective whole and the flow of creativity.

Sandy:
Empty promises. People who don’t stand by their word and treat clients like they are merely an entry in their bank account.

Q. What do you do?

karley:
Think. A lot. This is because my life is so integrated into 3DW, and I touch a lot of parts of the company. I always have trouble picking a title for my business card. “Thinker”; “Problem Solver”; “Designer”; “Creative Architect”; “Driver”; “CFO”; “Creative Director”

Sandy:
Communicate. A lot. My days are filled with connecting with our clients, partner and suppliers; organizing and managing our production activity, and strategizing for solid client solutions.

Q. Why do you work?

Karley :
Because I like to play. Yin needs a Yang, Work/Play. I work hard and I play hard. And I also feel fortunate that my work feels like play most of the time. We have fun with our clients; I have fun with Sandy; we work with suppliers that align to our culture……But most of all design is my passion, so how can I not having fun doing that?!

Q. What is your personal mission?


Sandy :
My personal mission is to inspire communication to deliver impact to others. I am driven to attract success in all facets of my life by participating in amazing moments, being grateful for the amazing people I know and relishing my life experiences.

Karley:
My personal mission is to inspire, create and implement unique solutions; through passion, educated leadership and mutually beneficial relationships. The keys to my success are an inquisitive approach and to always challenge the expected.

Q. What makes you a leader in your field?


Karley:
Boredom. {insert laughter} I avoid boredom at all costs, which means I am always dreaming up new solutions and ideas for how to make our clients stand out. I also love to read and love when I can I have my nose stuffed in books on industry leaders, blue ocean strategies, and business magazines. I’m a designer by trade and an entrepreneur at heart, so “new”, “innovative” and “interesting” are some of my favourite words.

Q. What do clients say about working with you?


Karley:
Depends on the client; they each have their own way of saying, “YOU GALS ROCK!!”

Sandy :
{Karley always makes me laugh} We are fun, creative and organized! Connect with us and see for yourself. We look forward to meeting you.

Q. Do you enjoy what you do?


Karley:
I am often asked: "What do you love most about your job?" That's easy. Watching a client connect with a concept designed for them. I KNOW that we produce some of the best design in the country. But my belief is that a concept, be it a logo, a brochure, or a website, must reach farther than that. It must speak to the client, connect with him or her on a level where he or she feels it exudes who they are and what they stand for. When this happens, I can SEE it. Their eyes light up and you can see their passion for what they do open up and flourish. I'm not satisfied until I see this reaction. It's not always easy to get there, but I know I have achieved success with a project when I get that specific reaction.

Q. Do you work with clients outside of Vancouver?


Sandy :
Of course, many of our clients are from our hometown (Toronto) and some are international and we have never met them in person. We are typically referred to new clients and when they are looking for a solid agency, geography just never is an issue.

Q. Who is your biggest competitor?


Karley :
Myself. *silent pause from interviewer* Seriously, I am always thinking, trying new things, pushing boundaries and encouraging our clients to question how far they want to go, and how much they want to stand out. My approach to solutions is unique, as is any Creative Directors, and to say that another company is my biggest competitor seems……foreign. It’s not about who win’s first prize, because there are so many talented designers out there producing kick a** work. Our clients work with us because they love us and they trust us to guide them. So, I only have our past successes to compete with.


 


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3 DEGREES WEST Design & Communications 3rd Floor - 1085 Cambie Street, Vancouver BC 604.331.0006 SITE MAP Copyright 2005-2013 3 DEGREES WEST Design & Communications. All Rights Reserved. Servicing a variety of cities in British Columbia, including Vancouver, Coquitlam, Richmond, Port Moody, Surrey, Maple Ridge Abbotsford, Squamish, Victoria, Naniamo, Whistler, and the Sunshine Coast.