AJ Wiley is a graphic designer and illustrator who specializes in outdoor work. AJ majored in graphic design at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. He recently launched a design brand, Kumawave, with his brother Justin. Through their brand they design and sell stickers and t-shirts that are focused around nature and the outdoors.
The Kumawave brand partners with environmental nonprofit organizations to take care of the outdoors. They choose a different environmental organization with the release of every collection. Most recently, they donated their proceeds from their California wildlife relief collection to reforestation efforts in California.
In this episode, AJ talks about the process of designing, the NFL “Nature Week” that he created, the fun that he has coming up with new marketing ideas for Tik Tok and other social media platforms, the backstory of starting a company with his brother, how he wants to give back to the environment and others through his brand, and so much more.
This episode is hosted by Emma Benner.
What we talked about:
2:00- Introduction to AJ Wiley
4:35- What he was doing before starting his design brand and how he started his brand
8:00- Brands that he is currently working with a designing for
10:35- How he started Kumawave and deciding to start the brand with his brother
13:20- How the brand has initiatives to help the environment
15:30- What NFL “Nature Week” is and how he came up with those ideas
22:10- What his days look like now that he launched his brand
24:00- How he separates work and life outside of work while owning a business
26:00- How he handles comparing himself to other brands and designers
29:30- The beginning of selling apparel and stickers and what it felt like to sell his first few
33:40- Companies that he dreams of designing for
34:40- What messages he hopes shine through his Kumawave brand
36:05- Goals of connecting with environmental organizations through the sales of his designs
37:10- End of podcast questions
Book Recommendation: Contagious: Why Things Catch On
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