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: Elyse Tepper, Director of Manufacturing
2. Originally from: Los Angeles. Okay, fine. I’m from the Valley, which is an important distinction if you’re from this area.
3. What the hell do you do all day? I make stuff! Well, actually, I coordinate the making of stuff. I write up specs and a wish list for the designers and editors, then work with factories in China to make a product out of that initial vision.
I try to keep everyone happy. And by that I mean allowing the designers to use every imaginable extra finishing touch, like foil stamping, debossing, glitter varnish, special cover materials, etc., while keeping costs down to appease the people on the business side. This never completely happens, though. You have to sacrifice somewhere, and somehow it’s the designers that have to give up the most. But our product never seems to suffer for it.
4. Favorite thing about working at Knock Knock: Um, the buckets of chocolate that are scattered throughout the office! But that’s kind of a love-hate relationship. And the hilarious people that work here. I didn’t want to say that first because everyone always says that. But it’s true. You need funny people to make funny product.
5. Favorite hobbies outside of work? Snowboarding and sewing—not at the same time, though.
6. Did your professional life exist before Knock Knock? I worked at Little, Brown and Company in Boston in my early years. Then I worked at a not-to-be-named advertising agency in LA, where I learned that I never want to work at an advertising agency again. Then I moved to San Francisco to work in the gift and stationery (spelled correctly here) division at Chronicle Books, where I stayed for nine and a half years. I always had my eye on Knock Knock and the cool product that they produced—and was seriously impressed with how much such a small company was able to accomplish. An opportunity came up to work for Knock Knock a little over two years ago and here I am.
7. Favorite Knock Knock product: Knock Knock had me at the Personal Library Kit. When I first discovered it, I knew instantly that we would be lifelong friends. I also can’t live without my To Do Pad. Before I had this pad, I just made long lists without any sort of organization. The To Do Pad has changed all of that and I feel much better about myself now.
8. Favorite place to sit back and relax: The beach. Oh how I love the beach. Give me a chair, an umbrella, and a stack of magazines and I’m a happy girl.
9. Food or drink you couldn’t live without? Burritos!
10. Song you would pick as your theme song? Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me.” It’s not necessarily a theme song, but it moves me. And it’s a crowd pleaser on karaoke night.