On my walk home from lunch this past Tuesday, I ran into Chris Campbell from CTV Windsor while he was speaking with some passersby about the death of Robin Williams. Being a huge fan myself, I offered to provide some commentary for the news story and was lucky enough to be featured on Tuesday’s 6pm news segment! Below is the link to the clip and if you skip to 11:28, you’ll catch me talking about my favourite Robin Williams movie! -Katie
As part of the Youth Retention Task Force, Blab Media is proud to announce that the task force has received a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation for $105,500 that will be used to fund an 18-month pilot project that was designed to connect youth with job opportunities in Windsor-Essex. As part of this pilot project, the task force has also created a full time contract job that will provide one well-qualified young person with a valuable employment opportunity.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Windsor West MPP Teresa Piruzza were on hand to announce the funding and meet the members of the task force.
Woke up to find this awesome article reviewing our social media workshop series at Caesars Windsor! Couldn’t be happier with how things turned out and so excited for the potential opportunity of continuing this series in the future.
The Windsor Star
By: Monica Wolfson
January 2nd 2013
The women behind startup Blab Media do a lot more than just talk.
St. Clair College graduates Katie Stokes, 24, and Jessica Apolloni, 26, have spent the past two years pushing area businesses into the digital age.
The women met while working at an insurance agency and urged their employer to explore accessing customers via social media. The women spent their lunch hours planning a social media company.
Months later, Stokes’s contract ended and she spent her days drafting a business plan and creating a website. They launched the company in October 2010 by sending white pumpkins painted blue, the company’s colours, to contacts at St. Clair College and in the media. Initially, Stokes worked full time while Apolloni kept her graphic design job for the first six months.
“It was scary, really, really scary,” Apolloni said about quitting her job to focus on Blab Media. “I was about to turn 25. If I don’t do this now, I’m never going to do it. I’ll have a family, a car, house, responsibilities. I needed to do this now while I could afford to take the risk.”
Blab Media gets many of its clients through referrals and from the networking. Surprisingly, it wasn’t until it moved into a bricks and mortar office that the client list tripled in one month. That could be one indication why it’s been challenging to get clients to think outside the box and do a cheap social media marketing campaign rather than a traditional approach.
At times creating a website and using Twitter and Facebook to promote a company can be more successful than leafing cars in a parking lot, Apolloni said.
Richie Keirouz hired Blab Media to help him launch RichBody, a personal training service that provides customers with diet, exercise and moral support. Stokes and Apolloni worked with him to design his website through which he has found most of his 18 clients.
“They’ve been great in helping me out,” he said. Stokes was especially good at providing website content that reflected his thoughts, Keirouz said.
Success has brought new surroundings. Blab Media recently moved into the Canada Building at 374 Ouellette Ave. There is room for expansion as the company grows.
While the women live with their parents, they bring in enough revenue to support themselves.
“There was never a time when we had no clients,” Stokes said. “Now we have the most clients at once that we’ve ever had.”
The biggest challenge they face is their youth.
“It’s hard for (potential clients) to accept because we are younger we know something they don’t,” Stokes said. “When we go to networking events, people ask if I’m a student. Business is still a boys club. It’s hard to break that barrier.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part of a series about those in their 20s and early 30s finding a place in the local workforce.
To see the original article click here
The Windsor Star
By: Dave Hall
September 27th 2012
Blab Media, a local company specializing in social media and digital marketing, has moved into the Canada Building at 374 Ouellette Ave.
Established two years ago by Katie Stokes and Jessica Apolloni, the agency had previously worked out of office space at 131 Elliott St. W.
The move was prompted by a need for more space to expand as the business grows, Stokes said. “It’s also a more central location with more traffic along the street as well as within the building and we’re hoping that leads to more clients.”
To see the original article click here
The Startup Canada national tour is visiting Windsor in May and to celebrate, Blab Media, Accent Media and iDream Interactive are announcing a free citywide scavenger hunt with 100 businesses taking part across Windsor-‐Essex! The public is invited to sign up and take pictures to complete various challenges while earning points towards some seriously cool prizes.
“Startup Canada is a celebration of entrepreneurial spirit,” says Katie Stokes, co-‐ founder of Blab Media, “We really wanted to engage the community and help generate some awareness for local businesses in the process. It’s all about having fun and exploring your city.”
The hunt will take place May 14th-‐May 20th as a pre-‐curser to other Startup Canada tour events being organized by WEtech Alliance and The Downtown Windsor Business Accelerator. The Startup team will be visiting Windsor May 22nd and 23rd and a variety of events have been planned to celebrate. The scavenger hunt was organized as a way to get the community involved in the cause.
“The businesses are really excited to be part of this scavenger hunt,” Says Toby Leftly, owner of Accent Media, “It’s three local tech companies coming together and donating their time and their expertise to support the community.”
The digital trio joined forces with the goal of creating the best experience possible for the event. Although the focus is on the businesses involved in the challenges, all three companies wanted to emphasize that they’ve come together to support each other so the community can reap the benefits.
“It’s been great working alongside Blab Media and Accent Media to create a fun and interactive event like this,” Says Jacob Duhaime, CEO of iDream Interactive, “We’re able to play off each others strengths and show other businesses that collaboration can be done and it can be successful.”
There is $1400 worth of prizes to be won for the top three participants with the highest points. You can register to play at www.startupwindsor.ca and you can also get more information by following @wejointhehunt on Twitter
Saturday April 16th is National Foursquare Day! Hundreds of cities around the world are making plans to celebrate Foursquare and Blab! Media wants Windsor-Essex County to be one of them! “There’s no doubt that social media is catching on and for us to partner up with a local business that’s so genuinely excited to take the next step, is a great sign for the future.” says Jessica Apolloni.
Blab! Media invites the community to a local swarm party sponsored by Lakeshore Cinemas and Pepsi-co on April 16th. Foursquare users who check-in to Lakeshore Cinema between 1pm and 4pm will receive a special deal that includes admission to any matinee playing between 1pm and 4:30pm, a Pepsi product, and a small popcorn for just $6! You can also enjoy a free Foursquare Day cupcake provided by Brittany Hazelton!
It’s a great way to show your support for a local business and to let other businesses know the true power of Foursquare. “At Lakeshore Cinemas we understand the value of social media. We’re excited to explore these new platforms and hopefully be a role model for other businesses.” Says Gina Facca, the new General Manager of Lakeshore Cinemas.
This national day was created by fellow Foursquare lovers and has now grown into a grass-roots celebration of social media as a positive force within the community. Foursquare has helped businesses succeed and created an awesome experience for users that has friends and complete strangers battling it out for badges and mayorships. April 16th is a chance for users to declare their support for Foursquare by taking some time to explore their neighborhood and it’s also a chance for non-users to get acquainted with the concept and learn more about why Foursquare is an excellent addition to a marketing strategy.
If you haven’t heard of Foursquare, this is the perfect time to expand your knowledge. Foursquare is a location based application that lets users “check-in” wherever they go, leave tips, suggestions, win badges, connect with friends and explore the world they live in. From a business aspect, Foursquare is a seriously valuable tool for generating new business, creating incentives for potential customers and rewarding loyal customers. As a business, you can offer customized deals that are rewarded at any check-in, after a certain amount of check-ins, or only to the mayor. You can see how many people are checking into your business and most importantly what they’re telling other people. Foursquare also has a mobile app so smart phone users can check-in or leave tips anywhere, and at any time.
For users, nothing beats the sense of competition. You’re pitted against your friends on a public leader board, scoring points for check-ins, and your profile proudly displays the amount of mayorships you’re currently holding and how many badges you’ve unlocked. The badges are an exciting reward system for users that keeps the application fresh. There is a badge for checking into the same place 3 times in one week, for taking 10 trips to the gym in 30 days and even for finding three venues with a photobooth. The best part about celebrating Foursquare day is the special badge users will receive for checking in on April 16th. But that’s not all, if 50 users check-in within three hours at the Foursquare Day event sponsored by Lakeshore Cinemas and Pepsi-co, they will also be the proud owners of a Swarm Badge, which is an impressive achievement!
Blab! Media is proud to be partnering with a local business that’s so excited about this opportunity. “There are so many businesses in Windsor that have a presence on Foursquare and aren’t even aware yet,” said Katie Stokes “that’s what this day is all about, creating that awareness and encouraging these businesses to dig deeper and see what the application can do for them.” As avid Foursquare users, Blab! Media hopes to inspire some local businesses and bring the community together for a fun afternoon at the movies.
For more information about the event, find us on Facebook by typing Windsor-Essex Foursquare Day Swarm Party in the search bar. You can also follow us on Twitter @Blabmedia and check out our blog for all things social media www.getyourblabon.com.
The Windsor Star
By: Yvonne Pilon
March 30th 2012
Social media is what this entrepreneurial duo does best. If I had to sum them up in a 140 characters, it would read “Social media lovers, inventive thinkers, collaborators, young professionals, and community enthusiasts”.
Even as a startup, these entrepreneurs are making time to engage with their community through various events, including Startup Drinks Windsor, volunteering and of course, social media.
They’re also very ingenious in the ways they’re building buzz and awareness about their business. It was only a few months ago that they showered the downtown core with wallets filled with ‘Blab’ dollars and business cards. Why? Well, if you can imagine, as soon as a wallet was discovered, the contents were searched. If you were one of the dozens of people who found a wallet, you’d know that the owner was none other than Blab Media. The team also hand delivered branded homemade candy apples to customers and supporters in celebration of their 1 year anniversary. What a sweet gesture! (pun intended)
Entrepreneur Profile: Blab Media
Name: Katie Stokes/Jessica Apolloni
Business Name: Blab Media
Location: 131 Elliott Street West Windsor ON
Type of Business: Digital Marketing Agency
How long in Business: 1.5 years
Twitter/Facebook: @blabmedia www.facebook.com/blabmedia
Idea Origination: We worked together in a corporate marketing environment and realized there was a serious lack of education in regards to social media and digital marketing efforts. We wanted to simplify the process so businesses could start taking advantage of digital platforms to increase awareness and sales.
Prediction for the Future of Your Business (5 Year): Growing into a full digital marketing agency offering a range of digital services and expanding into other Canadian and US markets.
Toughest Part About Being an Entrepreneur: The “behind the scenes” work like taxes and payroll.
Best Thing About Being an Entrepreneur: The freedom to coordinate your own schedule.
First Job: Katie – Retail Jessica – Theatre Technician
3 Tips/Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs: Don’t be afraid to take risks, invest your time in networking within the community, and always play an active and accountable part of your own business
Best Career Success: Getting an office!
Favourite Quote: “The people who think they are crazy enough to change the world, are the ones who do” – Apple, Think Different Campaign
Favourite thing about Windsor-Essex: The people and their contagious positive attitude for change.
Why do you support Entrepreneurship: We support entrepreneurship because we admire the qualities that entrepreneurs like us exhibit and how people with these qualities help make the community a better place. We’re always striving to be the best and to find success in everything we do. It’s about having a serious passion, ambition and the guts to take risks.
To see the original article click here
The Windsor Star
By: Dave Hall
February 16th 2012
Two young Windsor companies growing together have found common ground on the Internet and on social media sites.
Michael Lapico, a game developer and publisher who owns Touch Village, has been working with Katie Stokes and Jessica Apolloni of Blab!Media, a social media company that helps businesses create a complete web presence, for the past year.
“It’s a good example of two new businesses working together, and our relationship just clicked from the start,” said Lapico, a marketing and web development specialist before getting into the exploding game app sector.
Lapico sold Web Heads, his web development business a year ago, and decided to shift his focus to the mobile gaming applications sector as both a developer and, more recently, as a publisher of developer’s ideas.
He developed KitchenPad Timer, which has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, an app for cooks and chefs that enables them to manage multiple cooking times on both range top and oven.
It emits warning sounds – a rooster for chicken dishes and a cow for beef recipes – warning multi-tasking chefs that dishes are close to being ready.
Now, he’s moved into the game publishing business with Dragon’s Rage, which was developed in Ukraine, and ChinUp, a product of Digital Harmony Games, a small gaming app studio in Austin, Texas.
“After attending gaming conventions, I realized that a lot of the developers just aren’t marketing people, and I saw an opportunity to become a publisher of these games and help developers get them to market,” said Lapico.
And it’s that same niche approach that has allowed Blab! to make an impact locally by guiding startups and established companies into the world of social media.
Stokes and Apolloni both said their expertise lies in helping companies with no local presence get their products and services in front of new customers and also developing that same local presence for clients such as Lapico, who is known internationally through his gaming app development.
“As our client’s needs change, we adapt to those changing needs,” said Stokes.
In the meantime, Lapico is looking to partner with local game developers who need help getting their apps into the marketplace. He’s also seeking investors to help his company expand. For more information, visit touchvillage.com or getyourblabon.com.
To see the original article click here
In the past few months social media has grown leaps and bounds in Windsor-Essex. On the week of September 19th, Blab Media is planning a variety of events to get the city involved in a social media week celebration. For the social media duo, Katie Stokes and Jessica Apolloni, this week is a chance for Windsor-Essex to explore the world of social media and focus on what a positive impact it has on our city.
“This week is about generating some excitement, sharing our knowledge and just having fun!” says Apolloni. The activities begin with a Social Media Startup Drinks event, which will take place at Mick’s Irish Pub from 6pm-8pm on Wednesday September 21st. There will be social media games, prizes, discussions and networking. Blab Media will even be giving away a free social media makeover to one lucky winner (valued at $800)!
The following day Blab Media will be offering two free workshops to the general public: Twitter; Making Sense of Micro-blogging and Linkedin; Networking For Professionals. These workshops will take place at the New Canadian Center of Excellence at 660 Ouellette Ave (Next to The Bull & Barrel Urban Saloon). Seats are limited so anyone that is interested must pre-register. It is required that all participants have basic computer skills and have created a Twitter and/or Linkedin account prior to attending.
On the evening of Friday September 23rd feel free to join Blab Media and other members of the community for an open discussion about social media in Windsor-Essex. Share your thoughts on the city’s progress, make suggestions and voice your opinions downtown at The Snooty Rooster on Ouellette.
“We wanted to offer a variety of events that would appeal to everyone,” says Stokes “Whether you’re looking to make new connections, learn how to use social media platforms or just share your thoughts on Windsor’s social media scene, there’s something for everyone and we’re encouraging people to get involved.”
For more information on the Windsor-Essex Social Media Day celebrations and to register for workshops please visit www.getyourblabon.com