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Brian Willse of Boondock Walker

Meet Brian Willse, founder of Boondock Walker, a brand strategy firm in Cleveland.

What is Boondock Walker?
Boondock Walker is a hybrid of core brand development and design, which we use to shape every touch point for our clients, whether online, in print, on a shelf or as a service. We like to partner with smart, energetic companies and organizations who seek brand distinction, clarity and cohesion.
How did you come to be an entrepreneur?
I have always worked on my own for various reasons. Many endeavors were based on my own goals and desired career path, some were external influences that for whatever reason steered me away from working for someone else.
What was the biggest surprise in starting your business?
Having worked on my own for so long, you get used to the surprises. You just take each one as they come and try to deal with them in a level-headed manner. There are always solutions. If you keep perspective and a strong work ethic you can get through most anything business related. 
What are some of the advantages to doing business in Cleveland?
Cleveland is interesting. I change my mind about it from week to week. There does seem to be more emphasis on the creative culture here but we have a long way to go. I haven't lived or worked anywhere else so I accept the fact that it's most likely "til death do us part."
What advice would you give to someone starting a company here?
Whether you are developing apps, designing t-shirts or opening a cupcake shop: Take some business classes.
Can you share a funny or amazing entrepreneurial experience with our readers?
I did a cover illustration of Wilco for the Free Times back in 1997 and met them after a show at the Agora. Jane Scott was down there interviewing them, too. That was pretty cool. 
What inspires you?
The people I work with, great graphic designers throughout history, and, believe it or not, surfing on our Great Lake, Erie.
What companies or founders do you admire and why?
Pentagram always puts out smart, compelling and visually interesting work.
What’s next for you and your company?
We are actually going through an internal brand re-focus in order to better tell our story and position ourselves a bit better in our market along with a few select cities in the Midwest and beyond.

Interviewed by Karin Connelly

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