The Meaning of Life in 10 Questions… Drew Hendrix, Red River Paper

There are some of truly creative people in this industry. Let’s face it, you’ve got to be constantly concepting, developing, and executing or you get left in the dust. I’m fortunate to work with some really dynamic and inspiring people, ranging from art directors, to producers, to creative directors, photo editors, art buyers, and print producers. Instead of questions about email blasts, printed promos, and portfolio reviews, I think that it’s time that I put some of them on the spot to show us their meaning of Life. “The meaning of Life” may be a little far flung to answer in only ten questions, but hopefully these interviews will serve to distill some of the inspired and intellectual energy of the creatives that we work with.

Chris started making his prints on Red River paper in 2005. Seven years later, Aurora Art Natural remains our paper of choice in the studio. We’ve used it for everything from the pages in our portfolios to custom promos to our gigantic landscape prints. In the beginning of 2011 we came on as a Red River Pro and got to know Drew Hendrix, the vice president of Red River. He’s a great guy who works with some great paper. I’ll let him tell the rest…

1. Name one actor in one movie to represent you as a teenager?

McLovin in Superbad.

2. What is your preferred vehicle or mode of transportation?

I’d prefer a BMW M5.  However, my commute and desire to afford food in my old age calls for a Honda Civic.  Actually the Civic is close to the perfect device – error free and inexpensive to operate.

3. What is your favorite beverage for creative inspiration?

I like to say that being a wine snob is too expensive but I am very free to be a beer snob.  My current beer passion the Belgian style ales.

(We use Red River Fine Art Natural Paper for everything that we print in-house, we couldn’t be happier with the results)

4. Name your favorite band/singer and album?

Way too many to name.  Some current favorites are Fleet Foxes, El Ten Eleven, and The Derailers.

5. How did you get where you are today?

I quit my first job with no backup plan and a few months to go before getting married.  My boss, the owner of Red River Paper, “rescued” me from that plight 15 years ago this September.  From there it has been the proverbial slow and steady climb to paper fame and fortune….

(We also do all of our landscape printing on Red River Paper)

6. Where do you source your inspiration?

I like to think of nature as my business inspiration.  All of the processes and interactions in nature are so efficient and interconnected.  I love the idea of making business processes (mundane but critical stuff like order fulfillment) more refined, efficient, and well, natural for all involved.

(We even used Red River paper to make this ridiculously long print… one studio manager and 1.5 retouchers long!)

7. What is your philosophy on business?

To quote a former Fox cartoon: “When you do things right, people won’t be sure you’ve done anything at all.”  Expanding on that idea, my business philosophy is to make ordering and interacting with my organization seem effortless.  A customers searches, finds us, places an order, receives the order, makes prints, and is happy.  I don’t want them to focus on why it all went right. I just want them to be comfortable doing business with Red River Paper.  There are many small processes that have to go right for the above to even approach being true.

My goal is make interacting with Red River Paper so easy, customers will hardly remember the effort of the order process will only focus on making the next print and having fun or making money in the process.

(check out those awesome boxes of paper)

8. Describe a defining moment in your career that has led you to where you are today?

That moment was when I realized my real competition was not businesses of roughly the same size, but the big multi-billion dollar printer manufacturers.  That got me thinking bigger and broader – worldwide if you will.  It hit me that to play with the big boys, we would have to offer papers as good as the “brand names” AND be the paper company that shipped orders the same day, answered emails (shock!), and got involved in teaching customers how to make better prints.

9. Name one photographer that you’d want to print on Red River Paper?

Manny Librodo (Manuel Libres Librodo Jr.)  I first encountered Manny’s work in the early 2000’s on the PBase website.  His portraits, especially the ones of children in Southeast Asia, are arrestingly beautiful and sad at the same time. A particularly good example is here:

10. If the world is ending in 2012, how will you change your life plan?

No major changes except I’d go to Disney World at least five times between now and then.

You can follow Drew and the rest of his team at Red River Paper on twitter, facebook, and the Red River Paper blog. They’re a great company that makes a great product.