Company Name: Firecracker Marketing, LLC
Name and Title: Sarah Archer, Founder and CEO
High School: Father Ryan High School – Nashville, TN
College: Belmont University – Nashville, TN
- Sarah has two dogs, Scully and Dodger
- Sarah’s dad helps with the business and used to play professional baseball
- She lived in Los Angeles for 13 years
- Studying for wine certification
- Goal is to retire and open a wine/gift shop in the next 15-20 years
- Being outside in New Orleans as there’s so much to do
What are some of your or Firecracker Marketing’s accomplishments?
We’re starting with awards submissions this year. I’m not comfortable bragging about myself though.
How did you and PRIME/Natalie link up?
I’ve seen so many businesses start and fail. I wanted to make sure I had the right people to advise us, because you only know what you know. I didn’t want to go in pretending that I knew what to do. I ended up being connected with a woman who was a bookkeeper and she connected me to some people who recommended Natalie. So, it was just local New Orleans networking. I’m so grateful we were able to meet and start this relationship. I think Covid really turned businesses on their head and people realized what they needed operationally. It helped us to be mindful of what we needed.
How do you use PRIME?
The way that I look at PRIME/Natalie and the way that we operate is having a really great mentor. Natalie is someone to bounce ideas off of, and she can give us an objective and educated viewpoint. When we feel like we’re out of our depth or need a gut check, we can go to Natalie. We’ve seen business partners disagree and went to our lawyer, who suggested having someone as a third-party decision-maker. She’s been like a fairy godmother to us! She’s there for the day-to-day advice, but also if something really hits the fan – she’s the one to call! She’s incredible.
What do you like most about working with Natalie? What are the advantages?
I think it’s great to have a partner, but I also think it’s great to have a community. A business is so similar to raising a kid. It’s your baby. You have to put so much into it, but you have to find ways to make it work and pivot. A business will thrive with a solid community foundation. I think what really gets people in trouble is when they’re operating with just one or two people making all the decisions, without outside counselor advice. You can’t know everything. You get myopic when you work in the business all the time. That’s where I’ve seen such a big benefit from working with PRIME. Hannah and I can bring in a community to help make the best decisions for our business and our team.
I think that the way PRIME approaches things is objective but very strategic and practical, just like I already run my business. The fact that PRIME is able to give advice that feels applicable and doable is nice. We walk away from our calls feeling really inspired and motivated instead of dejected and feeling like we would never be able to do everything. It’s rare to find that within this consulting industry. Being able to have that opens the door for more productive, free-flowing conversations.
You mentioned your Company focuses on social media. Tell me about that and how you came up with the name Firecracker Marketing.
Hannah and I were working at the same agency during Covid, and we were talking about how we felt in our current job. We talked about how we could take what we knew and loved and then filed for our LLC the next day. We went back and forth and wanted something that said we’re not just “yes men”, but that we are sassy. So that’s where Firecracker came from. You’re gonna get a little spice from us. We’re fun, we’re down to earth, but we’re also really good at what we do. We tried to find a hole in the market. There are not a lot of agencies that do only social media in the industry we’re in (food/beverage/hospitality), so we decided to only offer digital services in the social space. We didn’t want to dabble in industries where we could be seen as a competitor. We wanted to be seen as a partner.
Can you list a few clients that people would know in our market?
We work with Ice Mountain Water. We’ve worked with Häagen-Dazs shops. We work with J Collection hotels, which is local. We recently started working with Ole’ Orleans Wines. We work with clients across the country. Parmigiano Reggiano – the very fancy parmesan cheese that’s at Whole Foods. We work with a lot of restaurants in New York & L.A. Those are two of our big core markets. And then a couple of hotels up in Sonoma and wine country as well.
How do you generate business?
We’ve been lucky in that most of our business has come from referrals & word of mouth. Hannah and I have both been in the industry for a number of years, which is really helpful. We make a really active attempt to network. We’ve had several referrals from PR firms that don’t do social. Also, we get a lot of great referrals from clients-turned-friends. I’d say 90% of our business comes that way. We will reach out if we see something that looks like it may be a fit for us, but most of our business comes through word of mouth.
If you run into someone who you thought could use PRIME, what would your advice be to them about why they should use Natalie and PRIME for their business?
I don’t care how smart you are, how long you’ve been doing something or how good you are at it, I think having a neutral party to gut-check yourself is always the most important thing you can do. If you’re running into struggles, that tells me that you do need that kind of source.
I recommend PRIME because I think that Natalie is extremely smart, but also a great listener. She has the ability to really understand the nuance of a business. I would tell them to find someone who has been there and could give an objective opinion. Natalie is friendly and always listens in a way that makes us feel comfortable and not judged. She holds us accountable, so it’s nice to have that little voice to bring that back full circle. PRIME is easy to work with, smart, strategic, great listeners and provides great foundational advice that you can actually apply.
What are your company’s goals for the next 2-5 years?
- We’ve already surpassed our growth goals in years one and two, but I want to get to a place where I’m only managing my company. I’m still active with a lot of clients because of my knowledge and background in the industry.
- Overall, our number one goal was never to grow to a $15 million company. We wanted to show that we could grow to be an agency that was not a toxic culture and not just for profit. My number one goal in the next five years is to get a feature in something with an article about how the game can be changed, and we’re proof that that’s been done.
- I want to continue to hire team members that can feel supported and show that it’s doable to have a financially successful company, but treat team members well and let people feel respected. I think that’s our core foundational value – respect for each other, respect for our clients and respect for ourselves. My ideal goal would be to have people know that and for Firecracker to be known for that in our industry. It’s not about money for us. We want to be known as a place that’s a great, positive, healthy working environment, where there are interesting clients and people do feel supported and respected. That’s something that I don’t think is necessarily the case with a lot of spots in our industry – for a lot of reasons. It’s a cultural thing. We want to change that. That’s our biggest goal.
How did you get to New Orleans?
My best friend moved here in 2017 for school, and, early during the pandemic, I decided to do something new. Covid was the perfect opportunity to move. I had been down here several times, and my best friend convinced me to move down with her. I’m usually a very calculated person but decided to take the risk. I was toying with the idea of changing careers, anyway.
I was three days in, walking Dodger, and remember looking down the street and thinking how much I loved the place and wanted to stay there. I always tell people that New Orleans combines the things I love about Los Angeles and Nashville. You have the southern hospitality, but also the culture. The weather is also always warm – which is a must for me. It’s such a dynamic city and I absolutely love it. I’m so glad to be here.