For our weekly “In It for the Money” feature, we’ll be introducing you to the kick-ass Knock Knockers who make everything go, from creative to sales to logistics to . . . everything! Note—everybody answers the first five questions. After that, they have about fifteen wild-card questions from which to choose.
1. Name and title? Craig Hetzer, SVP Creative Director
2. Originally from? Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut (Connecticut’s largest city, and one of the first cities in the United States to go bankrupt). I lived in Connecticut through my college years before heading to San Francisco and then Los Angeles.
3. What the hell do you do all day? I work with our designers, editors, and sales team, helping to shape what it is we make and how we make it. I also work with our business side to ensure that the things we make are financially feasible. I can often be found eating lunch outside in the bed of my pickup truck with my colleague Trish.
4. Favorite thing about working at KK? There are many things I truly like, but I have to say my favorite thing is how often we laugh uproariously at many of the things we write and ideas that we come up with.
5. Favorite hobbies outside work? I have one hobby: gardening. It consumes me at times. I remember being at a party several years ago where someone I had just met asked me, “If you could do anything you wanted, what would you do?” I was slightly inebriated, and without pausing replied (a little to my surprise), “Garden my life away.”
6. Did your professional life exist before Knock Knock? Yes. Prior to Knock Knock, I worked as the associate publisher of Chronicle Books Gift department. In fact, I was part of the team that started and founded its gift and stationery division. I really grew up professionally at Chronicle Books, starting in sales, moving to editorial, and then becoming an associate publisher.
7. Pet peeves? Okay, I cringe when I see the word “stationery” misspelled. In a previous job, I remember losing it after seeing the word “stationery” spelled “stationary” several times in one day. So, I decided to send a company-wide email that read something like this:
Hello book and stationery lovers,
I feel compelled to remind us all how to properly spell the word “stationery” when referring to the kind of product we make. Stationery with an “e” is the correct spelling. Just remember the phrase, “e is for envelope.” Stationary with an “a” means something entirely different.
We are all in the book and stationery business and it is important that we all spell stationery properly. After all, none of us misspell the word “book.”
(Not my best career moment)
8. Interesting factoid no one would know about you from first glance? I have the cleanest email inbox, both inbox and sent mail, of anyone I know. I am ruthless with email and delete as many as I can, as soon as I can. Email is such a useful tool but I do often feel like its overused and often very distracting. I try and get up from my desk as often as I can and communicate in person. Currently there are seven emails in my inbox.
9. What’s currently in your music rotation right now? I have been going back into my vinyl collection these days and have rediscovered the Durutti Column. I tend to stick with one album for at least two weeks and listen to it over and over again. Two weeks ago I was listening to Arvo Pärt, an Estonian composer who writes a lot of choral pieces with organ. My favorite time to listen to music is early on Saturday morning while Im having my coffee and sitting on the patio. I do also want to make a call out to KCRW, one of our local public radio stations; they make my commute from Hollywood to Venice tolerable.
10. Food or drink you couldn’t live without? When I was growing up in Connecticut my parents had a substantial vegetable garden and during the summer months we ate almost exclusively from the garden. We had a huge asparagus patch as well as large areas devoted to growing melons. My parents are both European and grew several things that were lesser known at the time in the United States, like celeriac, rutabaga, kohlrabi, and gooseberries. One of my favorite things in the garden had to be the rhubarb. As a kid I was fascinated by the fact that the leaves were poisonous but the stalks were edible. It seemed so dangerous to be eating the stalks if the leaves could inflict harm. To this day I love rhubarb and would not want to live without it. I cook it with some kumquat slices and sugar and have it with my oats in the morning.
11. What advice would you give your past self? Collaborate with others more. I have found that collaboration has worked to make me less stubborn and more open-minded.