An Interview with Adam Hinkle
Adam Hinkle wears a lot of hats in his role at Creative QT: founder, co-owner, handyman, idea generator, LEGO creation pro and, most importantly, Dad to five kids. Today, we interviewed Adam to learn more about why he founded Creative QT, why he’s passionate about parenthood and his vision for Creative QT.
Hey Adam! Tell us what a ‘typical’ day looks like for you.
There really isn’t anything typical about my days. Since we are such a small business, I can be found doing anything from graphic design, arranging deliveries, trying new samples, writing, shooting photo or video, or just sweeping up. My business card reads Founder/CEO/Janitor as my title and that pretty much sums it up.
Before Creative QT, what did you do as a career?
I have had a crazy amount and variety of jobs in my life. In fact, at almost 12 years of marriage, my wife is still surprised to find out about jobs she didn’t know I had. Before starting Creative QT, I was working with Summit Ministries managing a construction project where we were remodeling a four story hotel that was over 130 years old. That project was extremely challenging and stretched me in a big way.
My favorite job was as a carpenter building film sets. I created everything from forests to interior of castle rooms. That was fun. Another memorable job was as maintenance manager at Lost Valley Ranch. It was a romantic setting and a very formative job for me, and also was where I met my wife.
I think I like to collect experiences and skills. Most of my work has been creative: trying to bring something from imagination to reality.
Why did you decide to open Creative QT?
We began with a simple product the “LEGO-compatible Table Kit” which was not much more than baseplates with glue, instructions, and sandpaper for people wanting to make their own. That product later evolved into the Peel-and-Stick baseplates which work much better.
We began to build the company around what was important to us. We realized that, both as a family and individually, time is limited and we only get so much so we dug into how we can help crazy busy families like us to use that time better.
We decided that we would only create products that help control clutter, engage imagination, or encourage families to create together. If something didn’t do one of those three, we passed on the idea (and trust me, there have been some crazy ideas).
How do your kids influence the products Creative QT launches?
Seeing what I do, they are coming up to me with their big ideas all the time assuming that I can start making them right away.
It sounds funny, but I really get inspired with what our kids get in trouble for. The toys that seem hard to put away and the lack of attention span after screen time. These are things we see and say “there has to be a good solution for this”
How would your kids describe you?
Strong, fun (their words not mine). I asked them and that’s all they came up with…. I’ll take it. :-)
What drives your passion for encouraging families to Make Time Together?
We live in a society where excess is everywhere. It takes serious effort not to get more toys for our kids with grandparents, friends, and a goodie bag at every event. We are swamped by too much stuff. I know this is a first world problem, but it’s still a problem.
Never in our history have we had so many options including entertainment, social media, products, travel. Most of us seem to live at the edge of our bandwidth (this guy included) and we get stuck in our head, not engaging with the world around us. Families sit in the same room all looking at different screens and that’s what “family time” looks like. We are missing the best opportunities to engage our kids and be relevant in their lives. We have more things and information than we can handle and we need to be extraordinarily intentional about the time we spend. It goes faster than we realize.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever made out of LEGOs?
Ha! Not sure I can remember everything I made with LEGOs. I spent much of my childhood with those little bricks spread around me on the floor.
I do remember making cannons that would use rubber bands to launch blocks across the room. I would use them to break up other creations. Looking back, I was able to get them pretty powerful which is both impressive and disturbing.
What is Creative QT’s vision for the future as a business?
We want to continue to create and collect new and innovative products to help people organize their lives and help families make time together. We hope we can be relevant in people’s lives without them having to buy anything, so we want to offer up more time saving advice on the blog and social media as well as giving away some product to help schools in their curriculum programs.
How do you juggle family commitments, entrepreneurship and parenthood? What’s your #1 tip?
The best advice I received on the topic was from an old friend of ours Doug Wilson. He was a high pressure CEO that seemed to have a good family life. In a similar conversation he said...
“There are certain jobs in this world that if you don’t do them, they won’t get done. Your professional job and many other things you do, if you neglect them, eventually someone would do them. But if you don’t do your job as a father and husband, no one else will either."
His point was to find the jobs that only you can do and make sure they get done first. I can’t say that’s always true for me, but it’s what I strive for.