AE Friends and Family: Hillary, Fragrance Bottle Desginer

AE Friends and Family: Hillary, Fragrance Bottle Desginer

Hillary is the wife of Aaron, one of our Back to School 2012 cast members, and designed the fragrance bottles for AE. We talked with her about work, life, inspiration and what it was like to be included in the Back to School photo shoot alongside Aaron.

What is your background?

I was born and raised in beautiful and sunny San Luis Obispo, California. I have a BFA in Graphic Design from Cal Poly State University, also located in San Luis Obispo. I am currently a freelance artist & designer and run my own branding studio, SeaChange Studio.

How did you decide to open your own design studio, SeaChange Studio?

I started Seachange Studio to be able to work on projects that have always inspired me as a designer and to have freedom in my life. I love what I do. Working as a freelance artist and designer has allowed me to branch out and grow in so many incredible ways. I am amazed everyday by the opportunities I have, the people I meet, and the projects I am honored to be a part of.

What have been your favorite design products you have worked on?

The American Eagle men’s and women’s fragrance line by far has been my favorite. The AE team is so incredible to collaborate with. I was honored to be a part of the development. There is so much that goes into the design of a package and the real satisfaction comes when you see people using, enjoying, and interacting with the product. Anything that puts a smile on someone’s face, or has a positive impact on them in some way – that’s the true feeling of success as a designer. If I had to choose a second favorite project, it would be my collaboration with Hansens beverages on designing and illustrating their Admiral Iced Tea Line. And of course I love designing all the products and packaging for my honeybee company – TheraBee (see more about that below!).



What goes into designing packaging?

The process starts out with research, planning, inspiration, copy writing, sketching and drawing. This initial step includes developing and determining options for shape, color, texture and materials to be used.  Then there’s design, branding, logo development and type treatments. There is a ton of collaboration between people on any given project. There’s the business team, the production team and the creative team all working together as one unit. It’s a diverse group of individuals joining forces together to transform an idea into a real product that is beautiful, functional and useful.  The entire process is always inspiring and rewarding for me.

What was it like being a part of the AE Back to School shoot with Aaron? We loved the American Gothic picture of you two!

It was a blast. We were shooting at our home so it was very comfortable and laid back. Everyone at AE is so down to earth and fun to be around, so it was like having a bunch of friends over, just hanging outside and playing in the dirt and on the tractor like country kids.  I really loved watching Aaron in front of the cameras. He is such a natural. He did such a great job. An then of course out of the blue, I was asked to be a part of the campaign – which I was thankful for and am even more excited our photo is part of the campaign. The campaign truly turned out beautiful.

Hillary and Aaron during the Live Your Life shoot.

Hillary and Aaron during the Live Your Life shoot.

What is the coolest place you’ve ever traveled?

Definitely would be Southeast Asia – Thailand/Vietnam/Laos. I spent 4 months there Studying Abroad in college.  The experiences, people, children, and culture drastically changed me in a way that is forever a part of my heart.  I am so inspired by everything there, the food, the way of living, the smiles, the art, architecture, and history blows me away.

Hillary in Southeast Asia.

Hillary in Nicaragua on her recent honeymoon.

Do you have any cool hobbies or interests?

I am Co-owner and Creative Director of Therabee. We are trying to save the world one bee at a time. I live in an old 1920‘s farmhouse on a ranch that Aaron and I just bought and we are currently working on fixing it up. We’ve got a compost pile and garden and we like supporting the local farms nearby. I have a strong interest in the way we think about the food we eat and our current healthcare and monetary systems.

Hillary and Aaron beekeeping on their property.

Hillary and Aaron beekeeping on their property.

Besides Therabee, my artwork has and is being featured in shows and galleries throughout the US. I am also an avid surfer, snowboarder and adventure travel seeker!

How would you describe your personal style? 

I would describe my style as relaxed, random, comfortable, an eclectic mix and vintage beachy. You can usually find anything in my car that’s needed to switch up a beach look to an afternoon look, to an evening out. My wardrobe is a traveling wardrobe, so I can mix it up wherever and whenever needed.

Hillary's personal style.

Hillary’s personal style.

What is your dream job?

What I am doing right now is the dream I have written about and dreamed about my entire life. The people I’m meeting, the adventures I’m taking, and the freedom I have is something I wouldn’t trade for the world. I’m pinching myself everyday just to make sure it’s all real.  I feel like I have the world’s open arms to me everyday that I wake up and open my eyes and that feeling is just unbelievable. I’m so happy and glad to be where I am.

Where do you find your inspiration?

My musings are completely random. I find inspiration in day to day incidences, people, traveling, music, the wide open road, the mysteries of the sea, our absolutely breathtaking natural environment and through positive thinking. Thank you for inspiring me everyday, people and world!

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