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Meet the 2015 DREAM BIG Small Business of the Year – Western finalist: Noble Studios
A Nevada husband and wife team founded Noble Studios with a single laptop in 2003 and has grown it from a boutique marketing agency to the top digital firm in the state. Today the company has 50 employees, boasts a client roster of global brands, and gives back through community service.
How did the company get started?
Noble Studios began in a Las Vegas classroom where Jarrod met fellow student and his future wife, Season. The new acquaintances, not wowed by the technical writing curriculum, teamed up to learn how to build websites. Before they knew it, they were immersed in the world of digital marketing.
A few years later, the entrepreneurs–now a couple–realized that Las Vegas was not the place they wanted to raise a family. They packed their bags and moved the business to Reno-Lake Tahoe.
The firm has since been fueled by growth, with its focus on Web and mobile platforms for global brands. Michael Thomas joined the company as vice president of business development in 2010 and was named a partner in 2011. There is now a satellite office in San Francisco. And the company has tripled the size of its staff in the past three years.
Being completely self-financed with no venture backing gave the Lopiccolos the freedom to create a company mission that hinges on passion. “You can teach a skill set, but you can’t teach passion–and that’s what we want in our company,” Jarrod says.
And once employees are in the door, don’t be too proud to learn from them. “Every month we have time set aside for knowledge sharing where our employees go to conferences, events, read articles, and then come back and share that information,” Jarrod says. “We invest in our employees and they invest in us. That’s how we’re able to be innovative.”
How does the company approach community involvement?
The Reno-Tahoe community is part of Noble Studios’ DNA. Most of Noble’s business comes from local client referrals. The community “is where our talent comes from, it’s where our clients come from, and it’s where our brand messages get carried. It’s the most important part of our business,” Jarrod says.
As part of its corporate citizenship outreach, the company developed Noble Deeds, a pro bono program where employees donate digital services to a northern Nevada nonprofit chosen through an annual competition. In 2014, the company donated around $100,000 to a local arts group.
The only currency you should be working for is time, because that’s the only thing we really have. Don’t waste your time following the money. If you’re passionate about it, the money will come.
What’s ahead for Noble Studios?
The company has plans to slowly add new services and seek business outside of the Reno-Tahoe area, specifically in Silicon Valley.