I can’t believe it’s already been another FIVE years since we celebrated our 5th year anniversary! Sitting back and reflecting on the past decade, I’ve realized how time has absolutely flown by since we started this company in August 2007. We have been extremely fortunate to work with such awesome companies doing amazing things and to meet the number of influential people that are doing extraordinary things in our community and region. We cannot thank you – our customers, our vendors, and our community leaders – enough for all the support and business over the years, and we certainly look forward to (many) more to come.
In addition to our customer and community support, The Stick Company would not exist without the dedicated team that I am so fortunate to work with every day. Some of the most hard-working, talented and dedicated individuals one can find, and I am somehow fortunate to work with them all under one roof. Like many industries, working in a small creative agency is not an environment for everyone, and our company has certainly been impacted over the years by all of the team members that have come and gone, both good, and…well, not so good…but, hey – that’s what makes it fun!
Our team concept traces back to the origin of the company, when a close friend of mine – Chris Shoff – and I discussed our goals after graduating from Waynesburg College. Realizing we wanted to create a company that would focus on the quality of the work, rather than the owners, we created Asayo Creative Inc. The agency remained idle until August 2007, when unexpected life circumstances led us to decide to finally push forward as a full-time agency. At that time, Chris was excelling in his career with another company, so I decided to take a leap of faith and dove in full force on my own. Chris remained active and vital in the venture, often burning the midnight oil to help the idea come together and push through those crucial early years.
Within a few short months, we had the need to hire our first full-time employee, Matthew Linn, a local computer programmer that I had worked with briefly before starting the agency. Knowing Matt’s experience, fortitude, and overall intelligence, he was the perfect fit to join our team (and wear as many hats as one person possibly could). Matt’s contributions – over the many years he was with us – were endless…which made his unexpected passing in late 2015, still, the most difficult event in our agency’s history. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the Linn family, and our company will always be a reflection of the hard work, dedication, and creativity that he instilled.
The company has seen its fair share of change over the last 10 years, most notably in 2015, when we made the decision to consolidate our creative agency – Asayo Creative Inc. – together with our wrap/decal/signage company – Stick, LLC – and effectively formed what is now known as ‘The Stick Company’. Initially, we strategically kept these two entities separate, but as time went on, and our brand recognition grew, we realized that 1) most people already realized we were the same group doing both sides and 2) hardly anyone could pronounce or spell “Asayo”. This merger allowed us to combine our various services all under one umbrella (and was a whole lot easier to pronounce).
A few months prior to that merger in 2014, we also took on the challenge of helping to launch another local company – Stick Tattoo Company. (Yes, I know I am really jumping around with my timeline…) Thanks to our Vice President, and my best friend, Kim Johnson, she recognized the value in keeping our branding consistent and expanding our company brand into the consumer and retail market. Stick Tattoo has quickly become a staple in the community, but also our family of companies through the talents and dedication of our artists and team. As The Stick Company and Stick Tattoo both continued to grow, we were also able to bring on a wonderful tattoo shop manager that excels in organization, communication, and patience – one that I am also fortunate enough to call my wife. As you can imagine, it was a big decision for us to make the companies a true ‘family’ endeavor, but having Rachael join our team was such a natural fit – it’s proven to be a seamless transition.
Another huge aspect of our agency over the last 10 years has been the creation and management of the WV Oil and Gas Expo. This one-day business-to-business tradeshow formed out of an opportunity in 2011, and continues to evolve each year. When the local oil and gas industry hit a low point back in 2016, we took this time to reevaluate and restructure the event – and after many discussions with our past Sponsors, Exhibitors, as well as our local businesses – we evolved the event to feature, not just the oil and gas industry, but ALL of the many energy resources in our region including coal, renewables, alternatives and energy efficiency. We are very excited for the first year after this change – the WV Energy Expo will take place on October 4, 2017 in Morgantown, WV.
Another exciting opportunity that developed in the last two years is the creation of CasketWraps.com, While certainly a unique product and delicate industry, we are now able to utilize our creative abilities and services to provide a new way to help the funeral industry. For those who are not familiar with this endeavor, we invite you to check out our sister company website at CasketWraps.com.
All of that said – the most rewarding aspect of the last 10 years has been – hands-down – the opportunity to partner with some of the most amazing community organizations and all of the individuals that we’ve met as a result of those partnerships. Within the first year of our company, we quickly became involved with WVU Medicine’s Children’s Hospital, and have continued to work and support this amazing group through various efforts including their annual fund-raising Gala. Kim and I had the wonderful opportunity to serve as co-chairs for the Gala in 2015. Being able to see – first hand – all of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into this amazing event, and being able to help their team organize, participate in fund-raising efforts, and have a hand in the décor and theme – was a dream come true for us. In addition to Children’s Hospital, we have continued to partner with other amazing organizations in our area, such as Make-A-Wish, MS Society, Ronald McDonald House, WVU Veterans, and The Bartlett House to name a few. Being able to provide our passion to help others gives us purpose, and we thank those who have given us this opportunity.
To summarize, the last 10 years, and future of our agency boils down to a single word – Branding. Branding is the core of who we are and where we are going. Whether we are branding your business for the first time and creating a custom logo, or expanding your brand through our website and social media services, or wrapping your vehicle or office with your logo, we are there to help take your brand to the next level. Always remember that your brand is so much more than just an image or design, but also the feeling, the perception and the attitude your brand demonstrates.
I was taught – early on – about the value and importance of presentation and branding, and we continue to develop unique ways to demonstrate your brand. Our family of companies are focused on developing your brand, whether it’s the brand identity for your business from The Stick Company, providing an outlet and networking opportunity at The WV Energy Expo, taking personal memory or passion and engraving it forever at Stick Tattoo, or helping to provide the most honorable memorial possible with CasketWraps, we ask that you allow us the opportunity to work with you to develop your brand – whatever that may be.
Again, thank you to all of our friends, family, colleagues, partners, and vendors for allowing us the opportunity to celebrate 10 years in Morgantown, and we look forward to the next 20… because really, we are just getting started. ☺