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Member Spotlight: BC Design Haus

This month’s Member Spotlight highlights Pasadena member company BC Design Haus, a strategic design and branding agency that specializes in creative branding, understanding the power of design and helping its clients get quickly to marketing with innovative ideas.

Since 2009, BC Design Haus has been bringing smart, strategic creative solutions to brands and businesses positioning its clients unique from their competitors. Whether it is print, package design, or digital marketing, they partner with their clients at any stage of the process. From conception to implementation, they manage the design development process to help meet its client's business and brand goals.

We connected with Creative Director Bernadette Capulong to bring you the inside scoop on life at BC Design Haus.

The Q&A

Bernadette Capulong, Creative DIrector
‍Bernadette Capulong, Creative Director

Q:In one sentence, describe who your company is and what you do.

A: BC Design Haus is a strategic design and branding agency that provides smart, strategic creative solutions to any brand or business using our proprietary methodologies.

Q: What is the problem you're solving?

A: Most design firms charge 3X the amount in their agency fees, take months to deliver solutions, and offer ideas that don’t stand up to the competition. Our team understands today’s fast-paced and demanding business. We're agile, work with your tight marketing budget, yet, we have the proven ability to deliver unique solutions that move the needle on business without sacrificing on quality.

Q: What brought your company to Los Angeles, and what do you like about the startup ecosystem here?

A: I spent 10+ years working for Fortune 100 corporations (Nestle, P&G, IBM, Mattel) in LA. Everything I’ve learned on brand and design was due to my amazing experience working with smart, talented people from these organizations. Now, it’s time to take these learnings and best practices, add my unique spin on it, along with my desire to solve problems and see something grow and succeed through our influence.

No matter who I work with, it has always been my nature to produce at my highest capacity. But in the startup environment, it is so much more rewarding, especially at this stage of my career. Every effort I put towards my business will always be realized.

Q: How has being a part of the Cross Campus community helped you or your business grow?

A: The Cross Campus community has been an amazing experience. It has offered a startup company like BC Design Haus, the opportunity to feel part of a larger established organization, offering a community with resources found in most larger organizations. I appreciate the small community feel, along with a friendly staff that’s diligent at building social and networking events to bring the community together. The Cross Campus environment offers the right kind of solutions for our growing company.

Q: What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

A: Like most designers, I enjoy solving problems in addition to seeing the process grow. BC Design Haus allows us to solve our clients’ problems with creative solutions that tap into their consumer/customer needs. We get great satisfaction in seeing a brand we’ve influenced come-to-life. We’re invested from the beginning & committed to their success! In addition, I’ve really enjoyed our business grow through every step of the startup process. We’re so grateful to work on brands like Nike, Hasbro, and Behr as well as developing a new brand from the ground up. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing your work on a commercial, at retail, or online.

Q: Tell me about a time you failed at a goal you needed to achieve

A: I get asked this a lot and I always say, “Failure is an option.” When I started BC Design Haus in 2009 as a consultant, I was at the cusp of the recession and no one was spending money on marketing. It was a tough time to start a creative business. Suddenly, companies put a halt on marketing spend and that affected revenue. So, I hustled to re-invent myself, continued to re-build the website with the right messaging, used social media to reach out to prospects, changed our business model half a dozen times yet, bills continued to come in and, for the first time ever, I didn’t have the funds to pay them. I made $600 in 6 months. I had a mortgage payment and credit card bills. I could barely afford office supplies & food. I depleted all my personal investments (401K retirement) and every penny I had in savings was quickly dwindling. I thought I was going to lose everything. Where did I go wrong?

I second-guessed myself. I thought I was out-of-touch, that my work background was no longer relevant to hiring managers, and worried if anyone was going to hire me again. I felt like I failed at my career and the turn for the worse happened overnight. Looking back at the time, I analyzed what I could’ve done better to be more prepared for shifts in the economy. My spending habits could’ve been more practical on both the personal and business end. I should’ve had a bigger financial cushion. Lived within my means. Overall, I could’ve been better positioned as an entrepreneur to anticipate the ups and downs of business.

I recovered from the recession as a smarter business woman. This taught me many great lessons such as tenacity - never giving up, never losing hope, always have faith in everything you do, and believe in yourself. Continue to try different approaches until something sticks. Experiment. Be flexible in your approach - don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself. If what you’re doing today is not resonating with your audience, change your approach. Change is good, and it's healthy. Adapt to it and don’t fear it. Don’t stay status quo because business continues to change at a rapid rate, and you too, need to change and keep up with it to be successful.

I always felt that if I can survive through the recession, I can survive through anything. I believe to achieve great success, we must embrace the prospect of failure and with every failed attempt, comes a better and smarter approach to reaching our goals.

Q: What are some of the characteristics of people that have been successful at your company?

A: We desire to bring on talent that is passionate about what they do. They’re driven, committed, want more, and expect higher standards for themselves and their work. As part of BC Design Haus you would desire to work on amazing brands - brands that are household names and brands we can build together as a team. They must love variety, and a fast-paced environment where every day tells a different story. Above all, they must want to be part of something bigger. We are, no doubt, in a startup business today with our set of growing pains. However, our momentum continues to grow upwards and onwards which tells me we’re doing something right. We’re a small-but-mighty team today with the promise to be a thriving creative powerhouse in the future.

Q: If your company were a Hogwarts house, which one would it be and why?

A: I would say we fall under the Rowena Ravenclaw House because as a naturally curious person, I love to learn and seek-out knowledge any chance I can. I strive to be a thought-leader and encourage the same for others. Experiment. Broaden your knowledge base. Problem solve. A good trait to a designer is one with strong curiosity. There’s a benefit to being an inquisitive and an interested person. Craving new experiences and knowledge helps stimulate creativity.  

Q: Who do you respect the most, and why?

A:  I respect anyone that has a dream, builds it out of nothing, are willing to do the work, sacrifices, and never waivers from their goal despite adversity. This is timely but the Olympic games just came and went - one I always look forward to watching because Olympic athletes inspire me. I am always amazed on the dedication, the hunger and drive you find in every athlete. They have a fierce, burning desire to succeed. Their love of sport and desire to be the best meant they sacrificed a lot in their life -  they gave up personal experiences, had injuries after the next, put in long hard days, and set aside other goals. Just like us, they experienced setbacks, heartaches, and disappointments, but I’m always amazed how they overcome challenges and continue to push themselves to their greatest potential.

Q: Where do you see yourself and your business in 10 years?

A: In 5 years or less, I see BC Design Haus as a thriving creative agency continuing to be a creative influence and brand champion in the industry. We want to recruit, mentor, and assemble a talented team of creatives, multi-skilled, with a mix of junior level to seasoned players and want this to be the destination of choice to work. It's hard to say where our office will reside, but we will maintain a similar environment where we are inspired by our surroundings and enjoy coming to work everyday. In 10 years, I hope to take more vacations as I foresee myself surrounded by the best in breed of people, whom I trust to forge ahead with my vision, yet continue to be at the helm building/maintaining the business.