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You’ve said you’re opposites of one another. How so?

Jess: I was pretty bossy as a kid, telling people what they were doing wrong. My family called me “Little Miss Law & Order,” teased me I’d be a lawyer one day. At 10 years old, I was going on 20. I’ve always wanted to run a large company. Unlike Shay, I’ve never been much of a free spirit.

Shay: Yeah, I ran around wild and free, jumping off bridges into the river, swinging from poison oak vines, engaging in BB gun wars . . . My childhood was like “Stand by Me” meets “The Sandlot.” Art was my favorite subject in school. I sketched on everything.

But Jess is awesome when it comes to business operations. Her greatest skills are organization, communication and networking. And she has an eye for rooting out and managing the details of the big picture, with precision. I think this comes from her experience as editor-in-chief of the yearbook in high school for two years and as president of Club 34, an art and design club at Cal Poly.

Jess: Shay, though, is WoundUp’s creative force. He’s seriously passionate about design. He gets so engrossed when he’s designing, he completely tunes out the world and the need to change from pajamas into clothes. (Oh, wait, that last part is me.) His areas of expertise are research, concept origination and development, and photography.

Shay: I can’t help but get totally immersed in every project. I love what I do. I get to use art as a visual voice for our clients. Wanting them to succeed drives me to develop my best, to develop what’s going to yield the greatest return on investment for them.

Jess: We love what we do, and we think the combination of our strengths and 20 years of combined experience allow us to come up with the best solutions for our clients.

How did you two meet and decide to start a business?

Shay: When Jess and I applied to the graphic design program at Cal Poly, we didn’t know each other. And before we found out we’d been accepted, the college displayed only our two submissions for graphic design on its website, in its showcase of incoming students’ work.

Jess: When each of us saw ours, we figured we were in even though we hadn't been notified officially.

Shay: Then throughout our time at Cal Poly we had almost every class together since the department was so small. By senior year, we’d worked on projects together for classes and outside clients. By the time we'd graduated, it felt right to start our own business.

Jess: We knew what each other's strengths were and saw them as complementary.

How do you reinvigorate yourselves, to stay motivated and inspired?

Shay: We do a lot of outdoor activities—skiing, hiking, snowshoeing. Working out, camping. Yoga. In the summer, we like to wake surf. We’d love to dive the Great Barrier Reef and Belize.

Jess: We’ve both always played a lot of sports. Shay was into karate, baseball and football when he was a kid. I swam competitively, played water polo . . . What else do we do? Movies. Traveling. Trying new wines. I like to bake—crème brulées and cheesecakes are my specialty. The last one I made was maple cheesecake with a cranberry chutney on top. I tend to go big and make complicated recipes.

Shay: I love her cheesecake.

Jess: And on Valentine’s Day we adopted two kittens who keep us entertained, Fuzz and Bean— Fuzz like "Hot Fuzz" because she's black and white, Bean as in "Vanilla Bean" because she's pure black (or, more recently, “Soybean” because she loves edamame).

What are your long-term goals?

Jess: We’d love to have an international design firm, learn how to sail and live in another country.

Shay: We'd like to use our talents to help as many businesses as we can achieve their dreams. When we help a business market itself, we help it grow too! We don’t care about being the biggest. We just want to be the best.

Jess: But it would be pretty cool if we were the biggest, too.

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