To help kick-off our new blog, we’re going to take a look at the wizards behind the curtain!
Over three years ago, Hayley Tillery and Carisa Wenstrom were just two designers working at a local lead-gen marketing agency here in Memphis. Over time, they both quickly realized that not only did they have similar taste in clothes and design aesthetic, but their work flow and overall style were eerily similar as well. They were two designers on the exact same wavelength. It’s not everyday you meet one of those people that are just “your people”, you know?
After working together at the lead-gen agency for a few years, Carisa left to work at a smaller design agency near downtown. It wasn’t long before Hayley was able to join her, and they were working together again side-by-side.
Things were great for a while, and they both loved the work that they were doing. The clients were awesome, the projects were fun and challenging, and they had a talented project manager ensuring everything ran smoothly. It was the perfect Dream Team. However, the agency itself and the owner were going through a tough time and it wasn’t long before Hayley and Carisa were faced with a difficult decision. Stay in the workforce, or join forces and show this city what they were made of?
So Timber Dark Design was born.
But who are Hayley and Carisa? Let’s dive a little deeper and get to know them!
How did you get started in the design field?
Carisa: I knew from a young age that I wanted to be an artist of some sort. My dad was a graphic illustrator and watercolor artist, and my mom was a graphic illustrator as well. This was before computers, so they did everything by hand. I remember watching them in my dad’s home office, using the cool radiographic pens, X-Acto knives, the french curve rulers. It was all so fascinating and looked like a lot of fun! I knew I wanted to own my own business someday like my dad, and I knew I wanted to do something creative.
Then life happens as it does, and it wasn’t until I was much older that I finally had the chance to go to college and make something of myself. I studied Cross Media Production (graphic design, web design, and film production), and took every internship, freelance, and part-time gig I could get my hands on. I wanted to be a designer so damn bad. Fast forward 10 years, and here I am – a designer who absolutely loves what she does and wouldn’t change a thing.
Hayley: After a couple years of college, I still had no idea what I wanted to do. I had always been interested in art and knew I wanted to do something with it. I researched different art careers and learned about Graphic Design. It seemed like a good balance between a career that would pay the bills and also something that would be interesting and fun.
What’s your favorite type of project to work on?
Carisa: I love designing homepages for websites. It’s bordering on unhealthy obsession, lol. I love finding new ways to do the hero section, picking the perfect color palette, finding the right font combo, all of it! A homepage to a website is like a book cover – it has to be attention-grabbing and give little hints as to what’s inside. And despite how the saying goes, you can definitely judge a book by it’s cover – but only if you’re a designer 😉
Hayley: My favorite projects are the ones where I get to redesign an existing website for a small business. Oftentimes, small business owners will try and design it themselves to save money. Unfortunately, it usually just ends up looking unprofessional. I love being able to re-create something that they should have had in the first place and see the final before and after results.
If you had not chosen to be a designer, what do you think you would have been instead?
Carisa: I was a MIG welder for a few years just after high school and actually really enjoyed it. I thought it’d be cool to have my own welded metal art studio like the lady at the end of the movie Castaway.
Hayley: I’ve always loved video games, so maybe a video game developer. That’s still something I want to learn how to do.
Do you have a favorite artist?
Carisa: Yes – Frida Kahlo. I’m absolutely obsessed with her. What she went through in her personal life, how she used art to express her pain and inner demons, to her quirky style and IDGAF attitude – she’s fantastic.
Hayley: This probably sounds weird, but I actually don’t have a favorite artist in the traditional sense. I enjoy a variety of art from all different artists depending on what I’m in the mood for. Musical artists have always influenced me more than traditional artists I would say.
What are your favorite things to do when you’re not working?
Carisa: When the weather’s nice (and we aren’t under stay-at-home orders), I love going for little hikes with my boyfriend and our dog, Reece. I usually take my camera with me – nature photography is one of my hobbies. I also love playing Sims! I’ve been a shameless simmer for over 20 years, lol. I love building the houses more than I do playing the actual families, but I can easily get lost in that game for hours on end.
Hayley: There are a million things, lol. It’s really hard for me to get bored. I love doing anything outside, playing video games, playing guitar, taking photos, drawing, reading, watching TV, working out, traveling, playing D&D with friends, learning new hobbies, decorating my house, and snuggling with my two cats.
And lastly, where would you spend all of your time if you could?
Carisa: The beach, 100%. We just got back from a family beach vacation a few weeks ago. I hadn’t been on an actual vacation in decades and I’ve only seen the beach a few times in my life, so I had a total blast! I loved everything about being there – the beautiful weather, the salty sea air – it makes you want to be outside all the time so you can soak it all in. If I’m ever rich someday (ha!) I’m buying a beach house for sure.
Hayley: I love the beach too, but honestly – probably just home, lol. I am a total homebody and can be completely content just staying home all day.
We hope you enjoyed this little peek into Timber Dark and the women who run it – be sure to subscribe to our email list for more fun reads!