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Meet Jim Dumas of Fat Basset Design in South Shore

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jim Dumas.

Jim, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started Fat Basset Design after leaving what most would consider a dream job: I was a graphic designer for the Boston Beer Company, makers of Samuel Adams. When I started at Sam Adams I was definitely starstruck at the idea of working for a beer company. However I was also cognizant of the opportunity sitting in front of me. I knew that this was the start of something much greater than I could see as a 25 year old and wanted to make sure to absorb the moments and education. And I did! Over the next decade I learned everything from designing a table tent for a local bar to managing the creative direction of a national program and packaging being seen throughout the country (sometimes the world).

But even in the best of circumstances change can be necessary. So after 12 amazing years at Sam Adams and teaching design, my wife threw out the million dollar question, “If money was no object, what would you do?”. I once heard that if you love what you do you never work a day in your life. Well right then I decided to never work again.

From day 1, it’s been an amazing ride! The first major client of Fat Basset Design was actually my old high school, Keefe Regional Technical School in Framingham. They were looking to rebrand and start a recruitment campaign that would engage parents and kids from the Metro West area. Once we rolled out the rebrand and new campaign, recruitment at Keefe Tech started growing! As this was happening we started leveraging our contacts and joining networking groups in an effort to get the Fat Basset Design name out and grow the business. In addition we did a lot of pro bono work, and used what money we were making to promote the business through sponsorship opportunities and marketing initiatives. In the meantime we continued to gain more and more clients. After a year and a half, we’re proud to say that Fat Basset Design has clients everywhere from here in Weymouth to Southern California. So far this never working again stuff is going great, but we’re always looking forward and are ready for the next challenge!

A lot of people ask about the name, Fat Basset Design. While getting life situated before embarking on the small business quest, our rather large basset hound, Josie, was battling cancer for the second time. She was our first dog and had a presence about her that I still don’t fully understand, but it always made you feel loved and at home. While fighting cancer Josies’ spirit never wavered and as she continued to fight she remained as happy as ever. She would shake her head to reset the uncomfortable moments the cancer was causing then jumped back in to whatever she was doing. I admired her for that and feel I learned so much during Josies’ last few months with us. This may sound cliché but I learned life is too short so fill it with hugs and belly rubs, and when there’s an obstacle in your way, shake your head and keep moving forward. So with Josie as my inspiration, Fat Basset Design was born.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has not been a smooth road, and I’m grateful for that. If running a business were easy I wouldn’t learn a thing. I will fully admit that I did not have all the answers when I started but I did learn 2 very important lessons along the way: 1) surround yourself with intelligent people, and 2) ask the dumb questions. I will repeat that: ask the dumb questions. If I didn’t ask the dumb questions or ask the questions others were afraid to ask, I would not have the answers I need to keep my business strong, and my clients happy. So by all means ask the dumb questions.

As for surrounding myself with intelligent people, I don’t think that needs further clarification. Right out of the gate I joined networking groups like South Shore Networx out of Norwell and attended events held by the South Shore Young Professionals. Instead of jumping on every possible lead, I sat back and absorbed the conversations and feel of the crowd. I didn’t need to pitch them the latest branding initiatives, just shake their hand and get to know them by listening to their needs. This road taught me more about how to run a business than any book I’ve read to date.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Fat Basset Design – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Fat Basset Design is a graphic design studio that generates daring, unique and creative design results. We specialize in branding & logo design, print advertising, point-of-sale and package design. Our goal is to create an environment that makes certain our clients not only enjoy the process of working with us, but in the end are well educated about graphic design itself. Throughout the process we look to ignite positive dialogue that will create connections and have a lasting impact well after the project is completed.

Every day we’re inspired by the world around us. We look at everything from the ring our morning coffee leaves on the table, to the foam on the head of our evening beer. Our mission is to challenge our clients to think about graphic design in a different way, and for ourselves to focus on the concept, craft and purpose of the project. With each design our minds are saying “what if I did… (Insert comment that would be met with an eyebrow raise).” Sometimes that gets us into trouble, but what good is life without a little mischief!

No matter the task or environment – working on our own, as consultants, or with an in-house team – we’ll find a way to make it work for our clients. Our background rests in brand identity, print, packaging and point-of-sale, but we’re always up for a new challenge. That desire to be tested, coupled with our background, makes us naturally curious, so we’ve always got our pencils moving coming up with solutions to design problems. However, we’re sure never to take ourselves too seriously, so humor is always our greatest ally.

You ask what we’re most proud of as a company? I think the best answer would be when a client chooses to work with us. To me what they’re are saying is that I want you to help me bring my passion to life. They’re choosing Fat Basset Design to be a piece of a very meaningful part of their lives – that means a lot to us. The more it happens, the more grateful we are.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Our immediate plan, much like most others, it to strengthen our design knowledge, continue to grow our client base and get the Fat Basset Design name out. As a group we want to remain small to reflect our desire to work with small businesses, but our thinking is always grand so we’ll see what comes next, and greet it with a smile.

Outside the immediate walls of the business we would like to do more in the community, both with people and animals. A natural fit would be volunteering with animal shelters in and around the South Shore, but bringing a person together with the right animal is where we would like the focus to be. If we can help make that possible, then count us in!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Photos by Sarah Jayne Photography
Artwork ©The Boston Beer Company.

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