Blab Delivers Free Windsor Goodies To Deserving Windsorites

Last week Blab was out and about around Windsor with Rose City Sport & Social Club giving out lots of free goodies and smiles to complete strangers. We’d been working together on this campaign for over a month and from May 2nd-6th we were finally ready to hit the streets! Myself and two RCSSC team members set out to a variety of locations each day to surprise an unsuspecting individual with a Play Pack full of Windsor goodies that were provided by generous local businesses. The Play Packs included coffee from March 21st Bean & Leaf Cafe downtown, tickets to the Windsor Spits home opener game, passes for Urban Surf, a fresh rose from The Bourbon Rose Florist, tickets to see a MasterWorks performance from The Capitol Theatre, a John Max gift card, a cupcake from Sweet Revenge Bake Shop, EPIC Winery Passes from Tourism Windsor-Essex, Steam Whistle swag and a voucher for a free sign-up with Rose City Sport & Social Club all stuffed into a branded bag and tied up with balloons. How amazing is that?!

We called ourselves the Day Makers and I can honestly say, we did a fantastic job of making people’s days a little brighter. Seeing people surprised, smiling and happy made all the hard work worth while. CBC even joined us to surprise a teacher who was nominated at Sandwich West Public School! Although the whole experience was amazing, the highlight for me was when the team and I were walking down the street and spotted a young girl giving her Subway lunch to a homeless man. We just had to pass on the kindness so we caught her at the street light and made sure she knew that what she did for that man did not go unnoticed. She was on top of the world!

In a city that can be so full of uncertainty and negativity, it was nice to go out and spread some happiness. After five full days of adventure, photos, smiles, excitement and genuine happiness, I can honestly say the campaign was a success but we couldn’t have done it without all the donations from our amazing business sponsors so thank you very much for your kindness. A big thank you also goes out to Rose City Sport & Social Club for spreading the love. I’m a firm believer that together we can lift up this city one surprise/smile/good deed at a time!








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.

To see the original article click here

Blab Media Makes A Move

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


Entrepreneur Profile: A Pair Of Blabbing Entrepreneurs

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.

 Entrepreneur Profile: A Pair of “Blabbing” Entrepreneurs

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

Age: 23/26

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

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

Local Companies Weave Web Bond

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 or

To see the original article click here

Windsor Star Reader Report: Social Media Day in Windsor

The Windsor Star
June 30th 2011

WINDSOR, Ont. — Social media has increasingly become a necessity for businesses in Windsor to achieve optimal client engagement.

Many local entrepreneurs are utilizing free online tools — such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn — to attract clientele, connect with consumers and stay competitive in both the local and global markets. Social Media Day marks its second annual event Thursday and encourages social media gurus all over the world to celebrate and interact with other likeminded web enthusiasts.

Known on Twitter as hashtag, #SMDay, the concept was created by Mashable — a news, technology and web culture source — and designed to foster the use of advanced technology and promote the ability to send real-time information around the globe. Last year’s event encouraged more than 12,000 tech fanatics to celebrate social media technologies at over 600 venues in 93 countries. The success of the gathering lead Victoria, B.C. to declare Social Media Day an official holiday. Human beings aren’t the only ones to attend communal events — an alpaca, the most social animal on the planet, pranced into the Social Media Day party in Cleveland last year.

Last minute efforts to assemble Windsor’s first Social Media Day came to fruition after Daryna Kulya, a business and computer science graduate from the University of Windsor and a local tech-savvy social networking advocate, supplied a location and promoted the event. Prior to this, the nearest location to celebrate the occasion was at Motor City Casino in Detroit, which is expected to attract 1,000 techies.

“I thought it would be good to increase awareness, have people connect and put Windsor on the map,” said Kulya.

Social media is one component of a business’s success and many seasoned entrepreneurs strongly encourage new startup ventures to integrate this marketing strategy into their business plan.

“I think with social media we are starting to see a lot more startup (businesses) and entrepreneurs especially in the younger generation,” said Jessica Apolloni, co-founder of Blab!Media, a Windsor-based company that assists other businesses with social media development.

Katie Stokes, co-founder and CEO of Blab, said companies who don’t take advantage of social tools to market their business on the World Wide Web are “missing out.”

Ali Al-Aasm, co-founder of Red Piston, a company specializing in building applications for mobile devices in Windsor, said he surmises social media to be a new advertising concept, one where others advertise for you even though they may not realize it.

“People will push products to succeed if they feel a connection with the company,” said Al-Aasm.

The amount of time spent on social media websites will dictate the return on your investment and Pina Ciotoli, co-founder of WindsorEats, a company which showcases local eateries, refers to social sites as an “invaluable” resource. Although they are free, she says, you’re essentially paying with the amount of time spent socializing and interacting with your followers.

“I definitely don’t say that having a social media account for your business is free. Sure, the application is free for you to use but you have to input the time and the energy to keep it going. It’s not something that you just create and leave on its own and think ‘I’m done with that,’” said Ciotoli.

Ciotoli’s brother, Adriano Ciotoli, is the co-founder and has been the “face” of WindsorEats since its inception in 2004. He said applications such as Facebook and Twitter have been essential to achieving truthful and honest feedback from his patrons but cautioned that if used improperly it can lead to a loss of traffic to any business.

“A lot of the things we do is through feedback that we’ve gotten from people through social media.” said Adriano

“If you use (social media) as a one-way communication it’s almost certain you will fail. You really have to leave it open for dialogue. It has to be a two-way street and you have to give as much as your taking but you can’t think of it as traditional advertisement where your just pushing a message,” he added.

When selecting specific tools, social media whiz Stokes says companies shouldn’t spread themselves thin and attempt to use every platform but instead track down an audience, seek out competition and assess which programs best suit the businesses’ needs.

“I think it’s important to note that just because there are hundreds of social media networks does not mean that every business needs to go out and open an account on every single one of those,” said Stokes.

“Social media is not the be-all (and) end-all. You can’t just have social media accounts and expect your business to have sales through the roof. It’s more so apart of a successful marketing strategy … if you choose to ignore it you’re ignoring a place where you can interact with your customers.”

Large corporations such as Kodak are taking note of the growing trend and realizing the importance of social media as it has become more prevalent in recent years by employing a chief listening officer (CLO). Beth LaPierre is Eastman Kodak’s first CLO and compares herself to an air traffic controller as they are responsible for safe and efficient flow of air traffic; she is at the helm of ensuring the efficient flow of social media data.

“As far as importance goes you’re seeing large corporations now creating positions called CLOs … it just goes to show how serious that businesses are taking it and rightly they should be,” said Adriano

Social media use amongst small businesses has doubled over the past year from 12 per cent to 24 per cent and one-fifth actively used social media as a snippet of their marketing strategy according to a study sponsored by Network Solutions, a company with the sole objective of providing resources to small businesses, and the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. The study also revealed that 75 per cent of small businesses surveyed have a company page on a social networking site. Firms in the education, health and social services sectors rely more heavily on social media to convey their message.

“It’s really neat to see the kind of scope that social media does bring to a small business who can’t afford to pay the regular prices for advertising. It’s hard for me personally to front that cost until my business gets to a point where I can really really justify it. Social media is my primary source to get out there,” said Shane Potvin, founder of a locally-based web design, branding and illustration company.

He added that the vast majority of his business comes through referrals, whether it be word-of-mouth — which he describes as “old school media” — or social networking sites.

Potvin said he utilizes his iPhone as a mobile social tool and interacts with clients via Twitter and Facebook and responds to emails, all while waiting at the dentist’s office. He said he believes the future of social media will be a lot more automated and hopes it will promote more entrepreneurship.

We’re still dealing with the old way of things and the new way of things. I’m tired of not being able to do everything in one place. I hope it moves towards a world where business people can latch on in a certain way and personal can latch on and there is some division,” said Potvin.

“Moving forward we’re going to get so heavily connected …”

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