We recently had the pleasure of interviewing Andrew Hiller, the President of We R Memory Keepers! Be sure to read all the way to the end to find out about his love of Twilight and today's giveaway!
WeR Memory Keepers turned 90 this year. Can you share some of WeR’s history?
We started out as a premier bookbinding and preservation resources in the United States. A few years later, we began manufacturing one of the first albums intended for keeping memories stored safely and securely. You can see how easily that business turned into the emergence of scrapbooking and paper crafting products, which is where we are at today. Our entire business, for 90 years, has focused on preserving memories, and let me tell you, we’ve had a lot of fun ones over the years. Here are a few of my personal favorites.
When I was 12 I began working in the bookbinding business for my dad. I worked in a line putting books in boxes and hauling those 40 pound boxes of books here and there. My upper body can thank me for that. Unfortunately, to this day, my back is not so grateful.
I hate to admit this, but I was kind of a sassy kid (when I say kind of I mean really sassy). One day the assembly department became fed up with me. So they took me and stretch wrapped me to a pallet. Then, they used the forklift to put me up on the highest rack in the warehouse. They thought it was hilarious. My grandmother – who later found me – didn’t think it was that funny. Looking back, maybe I deserved it.
Where do you see WeR in 10 years?
That’s a great question. I see We R Memory Keepers continuing to grow and adapt to a changing market. For the past 90 years we’ve formulated our business around the idea that only thing you can count on is change. I don’t know what specific products we will have in the future, but I do know that as we continue to adapt, we will make the highest quality products (whatever they may be) because that’s what we do. And on a side note, we want to be the very best at that.
What has been the most popular product for We R? Why do you think that is?
Our most popular product has been the Crop-A-Dile. Before the Crop-A-Dile was introduced, We R was only creating albums and paper. I remember going to a scrapbooking crop one night. I was absolutely floored at how noisy it was. All I could hear was hammering and pounding. It didn’t take me long to realize that there had to be a better solution. We combined the expertise that we already had with creating albums and setting eyelets in those albums and engineered a quieter solution. At that point we became problem solvers and that’s the part I most like about what I do.
WeR Memory Keepers is a true innovator of tools. Was this always the vision of the company?
No. We just recognized the “problems” that scrapbookers were having and we decided to create a solution. In essence, we decided to make it easier for scrapbookers to build projects and we made the tools to make it easier for them to do so.
What does a day in the WeR office look like?
The best way to describe a typical day is organized chaos. Most of the day is spent in my office tied to my computer (well maybe not completely tied to my computer). As a company, we spend a lot of time in meetings as we plan and execute on those plans. We have a lot of dreams and visions that we are trying to fulfill. However, as a company we try hard to eat lunch together every day. Because we spend most of the day together, it’s important to me that we relate on a personal level also.
What were your dreams of future when you were a kid?
That’s a funny question. When I was a kid, I was convinced that I would be a super awesome movie star in an action movie. My mom, though supportive, helped me realize that maybe I needed to hit the books instead, so I did and ended up in finance. My dream then changed. I wanted to work on Wall Street and be a number cruncher, but that wasn’t in my plans either. I wish I could say that I had always dreamed of being part of my family’s business since I was a child, but it wasn’t until I had graduated from college and was working that my parents came to me and asked me to help run the business. My mom wrote me and told me that she needed help and the rest is history.
What do you do in your free time?
(Insert laugh). What’s free time? The hard part about owning a business is that you are on-call 24/7 so it is really hard to have “free” time. I’m a pretty casual guy so what I enjoy best is hanging out with my wife and kids. Sounds boring hu? But honestly, it’s what I love to do. I can make a killer root beer float, I’m getting pretty good at duck-duck-goose (I can almost win), and I can sing (word for word) more Disney cartoon songs than most. When it’s just me and my wife, we love to find cool new restaurants to try. I guess you can call me a little bit of a foodie. We love hanging out with our friends and enjoying good food and good company. Oh and my all-time favorite food – chocolate cake made by my wife. It is to die for.
Rumour has it you are a bit of a Twilight fan? Do tell!
Oh man! Here is the story. I’m a huge fan of making my wife happy and sometimes that involves Twilight movies. When the movies come out we rent a theater and invite all of our friends to join in the fun. We have prizes and food and it’s an awesome time. Do I like the movie? Maybe.
Burger or steak?
This should be such an easy question for me to answer and yet it’s not. The answer is yes. I LOVE both.
Car or truck?
A car. And if the sky is the limit An Aston Martin would be the exact one because who wouldn’t want to be James Bond?
Beach or Disneyland?
I love both. Every time I am near Disneyland, I make it a point to hang out on the beach. They are both so close so I love to experience them both.
Theatre or TV?
I am a movie guy so you will almost always find me in a theater or watching movies instead of watching TV.
Cats or dogs?
Dogs for sure. That’s an easy one for me.
Thank you Andrew for taking the time to share a bit of yourself and We R Memory Keepers with us.
Are you ready for a giveaway SCT fans?
Here is your chance to win a classic tool from We R Memory Keepers – the Crop-A-Dile – along with the brand new Mini 8 Punch! Stop by We R’s FB page and become a fan. For your chance to win these amazing tools, leave a comment below, before Nov. 22 at 10PM EST, telling us which We R tool you love best.