We sat down with Johnny Jarbo, Founder of Anchor Design to hear his story on starting up his company.
Tell us the story behind your business. What inspired you to get started? What is your mission or purpose? What are your guiding values?
My wife, Tessa, and I co-founded Anchor in December 2017.
Earlier in that year, we lost Tessa's older sister Kacy, who originally sparked [Tessa’s] interest in art as a young child and continued to provide the inspiration for her to pursue a career in design. Watching Kacy put in countless hours to climb the ranks of Adidas, while collaborating on Olympic uniforms and other projects with the likes of Stella McCartney, proved that anything was possible. Before she passed, we decided to carry on that legacy by combining our skill sets and doing so on our own terms. This is when Anchor was born.
Our mission is to give every client who crosses our path the opportunity to succeed with what venture they are pursuing - through branding and web design, or through digital and business consulting services that help them tap into strategic resources to attract target customers and potential investors.
Tell us about a big project or customer that changed the trajectory of your business. We’d also love to know how you found this opportunity and what you learned from it.
Within our first year of being in business, we had the opportunity to work with a local restaurant franchise we had grown up seeing all around the Metro Detroit area. My partner and I had experience working in the food and beverage space, but this was our first project with a franchise. I was a bit nervous (and visibly sweating) at our first meeting, but since launching their new website in 2018, doors have opened to so many more opportunities working with franchise clients in both the food and beverage space and a wide variety of others.
Tell us about a great challenge on your journey that caused a transformation or pivot in the business. What insight do you carry with you from this experience?
One of the hardest lessons I've learned as an entrepreneur is that our most valuable asset as humans is time. The more of your time you can free up, the bigger the goals you will accomplish, and the more opportunity you’ll create. If you’re not spending the limited time you have in a day to build your dreams, you’re spending it building someone else’s.
During my first four and a half years as a business owner, I held down and excelled at a full-time role in corporate America as a logistics manager in the medical industry. In that time, I built the infrastructure that helped grow a one person department into a twenty person team, between the logistics and courier staff. This supported the company's growth as they scaled into one of the largest privately owned laboratories in the state. This wasn’t without cost. I was working twelve to sixteen hour days, nights, weekends, and holidays to keep up with the workload of my corporate role and being a new business owner. The grind never ended. And it’s hard to have gratitude when you feel like a hamster on a wheel.
Fast forward a few years, Tessa and I were visiting some friends and family in California, when we found out she was pregnant. We had talked about starting our own family, but hadn’t fully decided on it just yet. Later that year, we welcomed home our daughter. Planning ahead for this time, I had saved up my PTO, and took the entire month off. About two weeks in, I received a call asking if I could come back to work. Luckily I was completely remote at this point so I could still be home, but it was right back to twelve to sixteen hour work days.
Anchor had been seeing growth year after year up until then, but for some reason I couldn’t let go of the idea of having the two incomes instead of going all in on our business. I was finally faced with choosing between my corporate career, or the business we had worked so hard to build. I couldn’t be happier with my choice. Since then we've doubled our business with Anchor and I learned that the choice to be indecisive could actually be the one thing holding you back.
Why did you join a community like Bamboo? What do you get most from participating in this community?
Joining Bamboo was one of the best moves we could have made for our business at the time. The community was welcoming from day 1, and both Amanda Sweet and Amanda Lewan have taken the time to get to know us, refer us, and be there to support our needs every step of the way.
The community itself has helped us thrive as a business. We found Laura Khalil (a fellow Bamboo Royal Oak member), a business coach who helped take us to the next level, which in turn helped me get out of my corporate role. We have also had the pleasure of working on both branding and website projects for a few members.
Is there any other information you’d like to share?
Anchor is offering our fellow Bamboo members a chance to analyze their online presence with our comprehensive digital assessment — free of charge.