Posted on January 12, 2016 by
I’ve known Melanie and Kent for a number of years, even before the creation of their digital marketing agency extraordinaire; a good handful of years ago, Melanie and I worked closely on life-changing volunteer projects with the Junior League of Palo Alto•Mid Peninsula, Inc. I have always admired Melanie’s drive and work ethic, and I’ve enthusiastically watched her start and grow two businesses.
2016 marks the seven-year anniversary of Roaring Pajamas, and I jumped at the opportunity to interview Melanie and write this post celebrating the last seven years as a digital marketing agency. We sat down recently and chatted about all things social media, SEO and how barbecue sauce—of all things—started this seven-year journey of Roaring Pajamas.
How did Roaring Pajamas start?
After 20-plus years as an electronics engineer, I decided to combine my business knowledge and my obsession with gourmet foods. In 2002, I created Melanie’s Fine Foods and my brand was Big Acres Gourmet Foods. I loved creating and selling gourmet barbecue sauces and marinades, the perfect intersection of my career skills and personal passion. Over the course of marketing Big Acres Gourmet Foods, I became a savvy social media marketer and realized the value of Twitter to garner widespread and free PR. In those days, you could really connect and engage with people on Twitter and it captivated me. As my brand grew, others in the industry and community took note. I worked on the social media marketing of a book launch, among other things, so I created Yunk Consulting—now Roaring Pajamas—in 2009.
At the same time, Kent was deep into SEO, so it was a natural fit to combine efforts over the years. For a couple of years, I juggled digital marketing clients in the food industry, local businesses and the San Carlos Chamber of Commerce along with Melanie’s Fine Foods. In 2011, though, I sold Big Acres Gourmet Foods and Kent and I focused solely on Roaring Pajamas.
I love the name, Roaring Pajamas. How did you come up with it?
The name Roaring Pajamas hatched from a branding exercise. I want to express that we get the word out from anywhere, anytime. “Roaring” indicates getting the word out, and “Pajamas” implies you can get the word out anytime, anyplace… including in your jammies!
We have a running joke that we can’t ever share a webcam view with clients because they would see what we actually wear to work. But, believe it or not, it’s never pajamas. Unless it’s after midnight and we are still working, but Kent and I try to keep that to a minimum.
Did you envision the Roaring Pajamas journey would still be going strong seven years after you started?
Being a serial entrepreneur, I was ready for a change when the social media and digital marketing agency opportunity presented itself. The gourmet food pursuit was fantastic, but it made sense to move on and develop this new business. I didn’t necessarily have a seven-year plan, but I knew my skills and passions. I went with the flow, adapted and learned as the years rolled on.
I always tell people you never want to be so stuck in what you are doing that you can’t grow your business; that mindset of never wanting to be stuck allowed me to grow this business over the last seven years. And, we are definitely still thriving and we foresee many more years ahead in the digital marketing space.
How do you and Kent work and live together—and do it all successfully?
We work really hard to separate work from life. It isn’t always easy, but it is critical to both our personal and business success. Part of that is insisting that we turn work off at night and resume our personal lives. We love working together and being together, and we are best friends, so that helps. Kent is an artist, and I am an engineer, so we have complementary personalities that balance each other. One key, though, is that someone has to be the boss, someone has to have veto power. At the end of the day, I make the executive decisions on unresolved items. It works for us.
What do the upcoming years hold for social media, SEO and Roaring Pajamas?
Social media is alive and well and SEO is certainly not dead, despite many of the foreboding predictions seven years ago! So many opportunities exist for an agency in the digital marketing world, and it changes on a regular basis. This constant change presents an amazing opportunity for us to continue to learn, improve and serve our clients in new, engaging and exciting ways.
As for Roaring Pajamas, business is great. We have plenty of clients, our expertise is in demand and we are heading in a fantastic direction. Our agency sees more digital marketing competition now than we used to, but we have built a solid reputation as trustworthy, dedicated and competent providers for our clients. We continue to grow our network of marketing professionals and agencies, so we always have reliable partners for services complementary to our scope. As well, we recently gained eligibility to apply for government contracts since we are a women-owned business. We are also considering adding new digital marketing services and capabilities to our repertoire to serve our clients even more extensively. In fact, we hope to be announcing something new in the coming months—2016 will be an exciting year for Roaring Pajamas!