Jesse David Green is a true creative.
What began at age 16 with a hand me down point-and-shoot digital camera has evolved into Handcar, a creative agency run out of – you guessed it, an old hand car-wash garage.
EXP: Who is Jesse Green and what is his mission?
JG: My mission is to work hard, love what I do, and support my family and I can genuinely say I love what I do! There are hard days, but I keep going because I’m passionate about building something and bringing others along for the ride. I’m so grateful for the city and community around me.
EXP: Tell us about Handcar and what sets it apart from other Detroit-based agencies?
JG: Handcar is a creative agency that focuses on social media strategy and management with a full in-house approach. We’ve got social media managers, photographers, videographers, and graphic designers in-house that allow us to dig our teeth into every part of the brands we work with some of which operate at a national scale.
So whether we’ve got a shoot going in-studio, are dreaming up killer copy or overall brand strategy, we’re just having a blast over here on the East side of Detroit in our former hand car wash garage, and we’re not stopping any time soon!
EXP: What are the most adventurous or off-the-wall locations you’ve photographed?
JG: I’ve photographed weddings and commercial jobs all over the country, but the most delightful and incredible place I photographed was Scotland in 2018. I went along with friends to document their trip, and was able to double-up and photograph content for Shinola and Chaco Footwear while there. It was a dream, because I took my wife Cali with me; and we’ve dreamed about going back ever since.
EXP: If you could tell your younger self anything about the future Detroit and yourself, what would you say?
JG: Lean into the community. Support small businesses, support others, and find every possible way to grow and connect with artists and neighbors.
“Detroit will surprise and delight you, break your heart, and restore your faith in humanity all in the same day.”
EXP: What stories do you seek out to tell?
JG: Any story is a good story as long as it’s real and authentic.
EXP: What are some of your favorite Detroit brands?
JG: Dandy Detroit, Detroit Denim Co., York Project, Bon Bon Bon, City Bird/Nest, Hugh, and Detroit Foundation Hotel. Then, of course there are the classics like Carhartt, Pewabic, and Better Made.
EXP: If you could tell your story in one photo, what would it look like?
JG: It’s a photo of my family – no brainer. Everything goes back to them. The reason I work hard and the reason I have hustled my butt off for more than a decade is to have a flexible career that I own myself, it’s all for them. Cali has been with me from the very beginning, she came with me to shoot my very first wedding (when I was 16) and hasn’t known any other life other than what we’ve built it together. The photo would include Cali and our three babies simply enjoying our time together, maybe in our happy place on the Leelanau Peninsula.
EXP: You recently restored a historic home in West Village. What advice would you give to someone embarking on a renovation?
JG: Cali is a self-trained designer with an amazing eye and we have a great partnership. I GC’ed the job and she made it super cool. Our renovation journey was recently featured in Domino magazine! This was not our first rodeo – we’ve actually renovated and designed five Airbnb projects since 2015. You can check them out at @agreenhaus – Cail’s client design Instagram. We’ve kind of become obsessed with the entire process.
“It’s crazy to think about the heritage and stories our house has seen in the 107 years of its existence.”
Despite the stress, we would do it again in a heartbeat. This labor of love and stress is now just weaved into our life.
EXP: What are your favorite businesses in West Village to support?
JG: The Red Hook Coffee first and foremost keeps tired parents going from a walkable distance, Sister Pie is the pride and joy of the neighborhood and the very best people on earth, Fauno Floral for that last-minute way to surprise my wife, and Detroit Body Garage run by our long-time pal Terra Castro, who is an absolute heart of gold for the community. Oh, and maybe a dash of Marrow for those lunch time build-your-own sandwiches that keep Handcar going.