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Claiming Scrappy Face: The Story of Launching My Second Startup

You know that feeling when you have no idea what is coming next? You have decided to make a major change in your life either by closing a chapter or moving to something new. And the day comes when you say “goodbye” to what was and move toward the future, a place or a way of life that you cannot even begin to imagine.

What’s interesting about times like these is that whenever you move away from something, you are inherently moving toward something else. And vice versa. But when you are in the process of making a major change you do not always realize this. You just know that things will be different from that day forward.

Times like these usually put us so far out of our comfort zone that emotions run high. You feel excited and scared, lonely yet part of something bigger than yourself. You feel like you are the bold protagonist in your life story. Not that you weren’t before – of course- it is just that you no longer feel like you are watching life happen. You have purpose and a huge sense of self.


I felt it most intensely when I left the South to come to Seattle. I knew it was a permanent move for me, and leaving my family and personal history to live 3,000 miles a way was an unbelievable feeling. I felt completely uprooted. I felt like I was separating myself from the people I loved most and my culture. And I was – for a new start, a change of scenery, and a change of pace.

When I left North Carolina, my advisor, Joy, who became a dear friend, looked at me and said, “I’m not saying goodbye to you. I’ll just say that I’ll see you soon and I love you.” It was a perfectly wonderful thing to say and a huge gift to me. Joy, who worked side by side with me on Secret Ingredients for a couple years, was teaching me another valuable lesson.


You have to move forward and grow in life. Sometimes this involves life-changing decisions, and the ones who love you will stand by you and support you through your adjustment period. Your job is to focus on getting through it as gracefully as possible.

And that is exactly how I have built my new startup after closing another.


You may have heard of Scrappy Face, and if you follow this blog then you have heard me mention it. But I have not made much noise about it publicly until now. Closing Secret Ingredients was a huge shot of humility, and it inspired me to build Scrappy Face deliberately. I am more timid, but mostly I want to build this startup the “smart” way.

There is not a guaranteed path to success when starting a business. So much of it is diving in and getting dirty, creating and executing strategies, and then making thoughtful decisions on the fly while you watch things fall into place. But in growing slowly with iteration and concentration on numbers, customer feedback, and building a strong brand, I feel like I have stayed on track. And the people who have helped build Scrappy Face have supported my desire to keep it quiet and to do things my way. This has created special relationships for me, and it is time to let the cat out of the bag – for these people, for me, and for the people that we can help.


Scrappy Face has been in the works for a while. I started building a startup and small business agency two and a half years ago, and it has slowly evolved into Scrappy Face. The name became official January 1, 2011 and since then we have been refining the business model and brand.

When I was building Secret Ingredients, I was blown away with how difficult it was to find talented experts who communicated well, created strong working relationships, and delivered what they promised on time. And as a new startup, this was frustrating because I relied on contractors to fill the gaps. I hired out everything from development, UX/UI design, and graphic design to PR and customer service.


Developers got overly excited and wanted to feature creep, wasting time, and later losing interest and simply not delivering according to our agreement. Developers also struggled to understand business and marketing goals. Web designers loved working on exciting concepts but when it came time to make tedious small changes, it was like pulling teeth to get things fixed in time. PR experts wanted large retainer payments but did not communicate expectations, which in turn affected financial projections. And completing a project often involved coordinating work between two or more contractors, making things more difficult.

Startups need communication. They need talented people who are affordable and reliable. They need experts who understand how to get buzz, how to keep it, and how to implement strategies across multiple platforms. They need minds that understand the demands of digital media and how to stand out from the noise in the marketplace.

Most of all, startups and small businesses need to know how to be scrappy. How to build, grow, and create buzz without breaking the bank. How to build the best business possible, while avoiding the pitfalls.


It is easier to start a business these days, but building a successful one is difficult. You can get a lot for less, but you need to know where to spend your money and how to get things done. We help startups get off on the right foot and create a brand that will turn heads.

If you have an established small business, you have to keep the buzz going. You need PR, social media, and marketing. You need help keeping content and customers coming, and you need people within your organization doing what they are supposed to.

Scrappy Face helps with all of these things and more. And we give it to you in the way that works best for your business. That’s our specialty. We have the talent –social media experts, PR folks, designers, developers, writers, and more- ready to train your team or to do the work for you.

Scrappy Face may seem like another agency. But it’s not. Join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and you’ll see.

so who is behind scrappy face?

I am!

This is a difficult step for me. I enjoyed building this under the radar and by word of mouth. It protected me from failure and judgment and gave me more control. But startup life is about risk, controlled failure, and highs and lows. It is what I signed up for when I decided to continue my entrepreneurial path. Scrappy Face is ready for launch, and I can no longer hold it back.

Thank you to everyone who has had a hand in creating Scrappy Face and who has supported me through it. It has been a great ride so far, and we have a lot more to look forward to.

And thank you to Joy who took me under her wing years ago. You have taught me so much, and you have been there unconditionally. I can never thank you enough.

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