From cleaning chimneys to trading sleep designing pennants in his basement, meet Chris of Hook and Loop.
Who was your favorite teacher in grade school? Mrs. Bonebreak let me play my new Tears for Fears tape in her art class and that was so cool at the time.
In high school what did you usually do on weekends? I was a pretty big nerd. I worked a lot at Hy-Vee. If I wasn’t working, my two friends and I would do a lap around Merle Hay Mall and check out the three music stores they had, definitely a trip to Archives music, maybe Peoples then hang out in Kent’s basement listening to our new records. Sometimes a game of Risk and then home in time to watch some bad Doctor Who on channel 11 before it was cool. Rarely we would go to Z International on Sunday’s all age dance nights to “dance” and be avoided by girls.
What was your first job? I cleaned chimneys with my Dad when I was too young for real work. It was a summer business for him to supplement teaching. Working with him gave me a good work ethic, but also was the seed for the friendship we have today. At 16 I suffered like most UHS students at the time and worked for Hy-Vee.
Why do you call Des Moines home? Des Moines is were I grew up and were my parents still live. Everyone should leave Des Moines, but then you realize that it is pretty great and a wonderful place to raise kids and you come back. Really, it has everything you’d want but nicer.
What’s currently keeping you busy? Three kids and a wife, Hook and Loop Pennants, and teaching. My days and nights are pretty full, but I gladly trade away sleep for working in the basement on a new pennant design.
What is one thing you can't leave home without other than your phone? Wallet in the back right pocket and keys in the front right. ALWAYS.
Talk to us about a mentor in your life right now. About the time I started taking the pennant thing seriously I came across a talk by Aaron Draplin. He was funny and accessible with some really good work to back it up. I remember wanting one of his hats, but they were like $35 or something. $35 for a hat that lets be honest, I would be the only one that would know what DDC patch meant seemed something that wasn’t in the budget. And what I liked about him was his just do it yourself attitude, so I just made my own hat for Hook and Loop Pennants for less than $7. I like mine better too.
At the same time I was listening to a lot of podcasts that preached the same thing. Just do it. There isn’t often a secret as to how to make or do something (everything is on YouTube); you just have to commit to doing it. In today’s interconnected world there are opportunities for anyone to do anything and eventually gain an audience. So my mentor is just an amalgamation of doers and makers initially lead by Aaron that I would consider the butt kick I need to not just be satisfied with having an idea.
Persuade us to go to your favorite restaurant downtown. I don’t make it downtown very often and I’m not really a foodie, but the BBQ bacon ranch burger at the Longest Yard is delicious.
If you could grant the Des Moines area one wish what would it be? A better North-South thoroughfare and a giant free polar bear exhibit that you can just sit and watch them swim and play. Oh and let's throw in free WIFI for everyone.