This month’s “South Jersey Spotlight” interview features Michelle Helfrich, owner of MH Design Company in Cherry Hill, NJ. Michelle is a talented graphic designer that I met at a local NJAWBO dinner event way back in 2008. Since then, we’ve worked together on some marketing collateral projects, and we continue to share micro business owner insights (and “war” stories) with each other. She is one of my favorite people in the South Jersey business community, and it’s my pleasure to profile her company for you:
By All Writes: Why did you decide to start MH Design Company and when did you start it?
Michelle Helfrich: I was the lead graphic designer for a very large direct marketing company and worked on some notable accounts, such as BellSouth Business, Blue Cross Medicare Supplement, Allstate, etc. It was always my dream to start my own business, and so, I launched MH Design Company in 2000. My small business clients benefit from all the direct marketing techniques that I learned while working on high profile, multi-million dollar accounts.
BAW: What services do you offer current and potential customers in the South Jersey area?
MH: MH Design Company offers printed marketing materials, from concept development and layout to print production. Although I truly relish working with small businesses, I don’t refuse Cooper University Hospital when they call. In one work day, I can be creating a logo for a South Jersey attorney and then transfer my creative juices to designing a new magazine for Cooper. It’s more fun than I can handle!
BAW: Who makes a good client for you?
MH: A good client for me is a business owner who wants to learn about and understand effective marketing. I enjoy partnering with clients who like solving promotional problems together. My most valued clients are the ones who understand that they are the subject matter experts in what they do but recognize they need a professional graphic designer who understands marketing.
BAW: What is your ultimate “happy moment” when working with a client on a project?
MH: Funny you should ask – there have been many of those magical moments, but I do have one that has yet to be topped. My all-time favorite compliment was when a client told me I was their “Easy Button” (per the Staples branding strategy). He said, “All I have to do is call you and it’s done. You make it easy for me to run my business.” For me, that was the peak of my client summit! There have been creative award recognitions and such, but nothing is better than knowing your client really relies on you.
BAW: If you could relocate your graphic design business to anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
MH: If I thought I could make a go of it (and my children wouldn’t want to kill me), I would relocate to Italy. I have an art degree and basked in this artistic glory during my honeymoon almost fifteen years ago. I would love to have that kind of inspiration at my fingertips. I adore the “old world” charm of Rome and the rolling hills of Florence – either city would be a perfect setting for my work!
BAW: What is your favorite book to read, and why is this one your favorite?
MH: My favorite type of book to read is a “whodunit.” I love a good “cat and mouse” chase by connecting clues and visualizing the villain, victim, and hero. I’m not a big reader, but I can devour every James Patterson book available.
Not only is Michelle a fantastic graphic designer, but she’s also a serial entrepreneur. In addition to being the owner of MH Design Company, Michelle is the CEO/Creative Director of South Jersey Senior Magazine and the publisher of a new community directory for Cherry Hill business owners. To list your Cherry Hill business for spring 2013, send an email to CHComDirectory@gmail.com. Or, contact Michelle directly by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.