After earning her bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Summer began seeking work that would fully use her creativity and marketing skills. Following four years of strengthening her role and developing her skills as a graphic designer for a major engineering firm in the Tampa Bay area, she made the decision to head out on her own to launch Good Dog/Bad Dog Creative Design. After six years of working together with clients of all sizes and industries, Exakt Marketing was created through the merger of Good Dog/Bad Dog Creative Design and two other Tampa Bay area companies. In addition to serving as Exakt’s CMO, she is responsible for event marketing in the Charlotte market and Exakt’s restaurant marketing services nationally.
Summer is co-founder of a female entrepreneurial networking group, biz-e-chicks, and a member of the volunteer-focused organization High Hopes in High Heels.
Tell me about your pet: We have a German Shepherd 1½ year old “puppy,” (if 70 pounds is considered a puppy) named Kaiser, aka Loco.
What would be your very last meal? It doesn’t take much to make me happy – give me something with the three best food groups (wine, bread, and cheese) and I’m one happy girl! However, I think if I’m going to indulge I’ve got to stick to my roots. So it would probably have to be the following: Mom’s fried chicken, Dad’s butterbeans and crowder peas, collard greens, potato casserole, and Mema’s “dog bread” (let me translate, cornbread)… and wine of course (cabernet).
What is your favorite exercise activity? I love anything outdoors. However, I think running is my favorite activity because I can turn on my music and get into a “zone” that no other sport can create. It’s a great stress reliever!
What’s the best event you’ve attended? My dad and I attended the ACC tournament in Tampa in March 2012. We had tickets for the full tournament (close to the floor), managed to make friends with people in high places and my favorite college basketball team, the UNC Tar Heels, won the tournament that year (GO HEELS!). Life was good.
Where would you like to travel if money was no object? That’s a tough question. I absolutely LOVE Hawaii but since I’ve been there before, I would say I’d love to go to Bora Bora, Tahiti. More specifically the Four Seasons over-water suite with plunge pool. You can’t go wrong being disconnected from the world with nothing but crystal clear water as your view. Yes, I’ve researched this. Can I please go now?
Favorite quote? The quote that inspired me to start my own business: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
Below, read how Summer applied the company motto to her own unique experience:
Explore: Living within a tight budget, but still wanting to redecorate my house, I began to explore the world of thrift shopping. Because growing a “money tree” wasn’t an option, I had to come up with a way to creatively develop a new sense of style without breaking the bank.
Inspire: I entered a new world of taking items that some people would consider trash, and turned them into my new treasures. Flea markets, yard sales, Craigslist, and local thrift stores became a weekend routine. I quickly became addicted to Pinterest, HGTV, and do it yourself magazines that would give me countless ideas for ways to take “ugly ducklings” and turn them into something fascinating.
Evolve: As a result of this newfound hobby, I quickly discovered my love for refurbishing old furniture. Scoring antique or vintage pieces and breathing new life into them became an obsession. Whether it was simply adding a coat of paint, or embellishing a piece of furniture with paintable wallpaper and wooden trim, I love to explore each item’s “hidden voice” and bring it to fruition. In my spare time (when I have some), I’ve dabbled in the world of consignment and even started my own blog (http://www.summaleecreations.com). Lately, Exakt has kept me extremely busy, which isn’t a bad thing, so my consignment space has been put on hold, and my blog still needs to be updated… but I still welcome every available opportunity to hunt for that “perfect” piece to add to my collection, that’s shaping up quite nicely, I might add!