Owner wants right environment in which to grow Web company
By Jenifer Putnam
“My favorite part of the business is having the creative ability and time to create a package of pieces to make a client successful.” Hannah Meurer, Founder, Smack Dab Studios
Not satisfied with the business community in Atlanta, one Web designer is moving her company to Savannah.
Hannah L. Meurer, owner and chief creative officer of Smack Dab Studios, a graphic design and Web development firm, said she wanted to grow her 2-year-old company in a place where she could be an active part of the community.
“I didn’t feel I could do it in Atlanta,” Meurer said of her dozen-member firm.
Partially drawn by Savannah’s beauty, and encouraged by The Creative Coast Executive Director Chris Miller, Meurer moved out of the big city to Georgia’s first city. As an arm of the Savannah Economic Development Authority, The Creative Coast and Miller have the job of encouraging knowledge-based businesses to move to the area. Miller often touts the benefits of the city’s proximity to the beach, and youthful, tech-savvy culture.
Over the last month, Meurer said she has been welcomed by the business community.
“I’ve already met some wonderful people,” Meurer said. “The business community here is outstanding. It’s so refreshing.”
Smack Dab still has an office in Atlanta but Meurer is looking for space in Savannah so she can permanently move her business. Meanwhile, she is working virtually and living in Savannah. Meurer said she is looking for something “cool, hip and functional” with parking space for clients.
“I want something that speaks to the creativity that we produce,” Meurer said.
Meurer, who has worked in the technology field for 12 years and in design for 7 years, was one of very few women in the field when she started out. She said she didn’t have any problem working in a male dominated industry, but she did have a problem convincing people of her expertise as a director of technology in Atlanta.
“It took a while to establish myself as a technical expert,” Meurer said.
Meurer moved from IT to marketing to allow for her creative side. While working for a large commercial real estate firm Meurer got fed up with a Web design firm’s lack of creativity and service and decided to go back to school for a Web design degree. She said she has always kept the client’s perspective in mind since and tries to give the kind of service she would want.
“My favorite part of the business is having the creative ability and time to create a package of pieces to make a client successful,” Meurer said.
But Meurer didn’t feel that she could do that at her former Web design firm in Atlanta. At that firm, Meurer had worked with corporate giants such as Fox Television, Coca-Cola and Tropicana.
But working in a larger firm made it difficult for Meurer to work closely with her clients, prompting her to start her own company in February 2004 where she could do extensive work for a select number of clients. Meurer said she and her 12 employees offer a full line of services from business cards to Web sites. She said they choose clients who have at least three needs and work to establish a cohesive brand and presence.
“We learn their business and processes and become a member of their team as a creative department,” Meurer said. “When I see them still using it years later, it’s really satisfying. I feel like I did what I promised them I’d do.”
Many of the firm’s clients are in Atlanta, but Smack Dab works coast to coast from Portland, Ore. to New Jersey.
Meurer said she is looking to add to her team. Prospective employees must have at least 7 years experience in their chosen specialty.
Savannah Business Report & Journal
February 20, 2006