Social Media Startup More Than Just Talk
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.