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Happy 20th Anniversary to Us!

What were you up to in 2002?

Our founder Erin was just dipping her ruby slippers into the world of web design with dreams of starting her own business.

The idea took hold on a road trip from Seattle, Washington to Ashland, Oregon. Erin knew how to make websites, had a proven record as a project manager, loved to write, and felt at ease with computers. Plus, she needed a job in Ashland! Why not give it a whirl…?

So she emailed a group of friends and families with a list of 10 business names — including Octopus Studios, Jetpack Jenny Designs, and Ruby Slipper — and asked them to vote. Ruby Slipper won! That first email also landed her first client, a lifelong friend who needed a website to promote her new book.

Little did Erin know when she signed the papers to start her LLC in June 2002 that she was on the yellow brick road to creating a bonafide web design business!

Since that fateful day, Ruby Slipper has celebrated many milestones — website launches, new team members, design awards, and more. It’s been an eventful 20 years!

To honor the occasion, here’s a stroll down memory lane…

2002

Erin starts Ruby Slipper with two clients: promoting ‘The Clothesline’ book and a site for Village Shoes, a beloved local shoe store. Great results and customer service help to earn more business!

2003

Erin creates the first website for Merle Chambers in Denver, as well as three Women’s Foundation sites: Montana, Wyoming, and Oklahoma. Chambers website wins bronze award.

2005

Erin starts working with programmer Dana Bandy; his expertise opens Ruby Slipper to more complex projects. Ruby Slipper creates a website for Standing Stone Brewing, which builds local recognition in Ashland.

2012 – 2018

Ruby Slipper creates websites for a plethora of amazing organizations: Britt Festivals, Southern Oregon Goodwill, Asante Foundation, Coastal Sotheby’s, DANCIN Vineyards, and more.

2019

Dená joins Ruby Slipper as the first dedicated web design contractor. This opens the doors to expanding the team and services.

2020

Rachel, Ashley, Laura, and Fiew join the team, allowing Ruby Slipper to blossom from websites into branding and marketing services.

2022

Ruby Slipper celebrates 20 years! With over 250+ websites created and expanded marketing services, 2022 was our biggest year yet. We even won 11 design awards!

 

An Interview with Erin

We asked Erin how it felt to have Ruby Slipper turn (ahem) 20! Here’s what she had to share…

Wow, 20 years!?! How is that even possible? I’m overflowing with gratitude when I think about our journey. I am most proud of…

Running a value-based and mission-driven web agency.

Making an honest-to-goodness difference in the lives of the people our non-profits serve.

Leading a diverse team of mostly women.

It feels wonderful contributing to their livelihoods, but even more important, listening, upholding, commiserating, supporting, working through issues, trusting, acknowledging, and sharing. This team brings a wealth of experience and perspective. Fiew is from Thailand, Dená has roots in the Middle East, Ukraine, and Sweden. Laura grew up on a farm in South Dakota. Ashley is a Bay Area city girl gone Rogue. And Rachel is 100% Oregon. I have to give a shout-out to Dana, my “web design soul mate” — he has saved my ruby slippers on many occasions and is pure integrity. Oh, how I love this group!

Promoting Black Tech and Marketing Agencies.

In May 2020, after the brutal and heart-breaking murder of George Floyd, Ruby Slipper brainstormed ways in which we could help the Black community. Dená had the fantastic idea of creating an article focused on Black Marketing Agencies. It has been successful beyond our wildest dreams! It’s the top visited page on the Ruby Slipper website, and even better, has actually helped the companies it’s meant to uplift and promote.

My visibility and role as a mature, silver-haired, thriving businesswoman.

Especially in the tech field. I hope that other young women starting on their tech and marketing journeys can envision a path that includes them.

The beautiful and strategic websites we create for nonprofits.

We help organizations broadcast their work and connect with those they are meant to serve! Here is what I love about each of them…

  • The Ford Family Foundation (coming soon) provides grants, scholarships, and an incredible array of resources all aimed to improve the lives of those living in rural Oregon.
  • ACCESS orchestrates critical resources that we can see making a difference in our local community: food, warmth, and shelter.
  • Wind River Tribal Buffalo Initiative is bringing back conservation bison to Wyoming!
  • The Health Care Coalition of Southern Oregon helps rural pregnant moms find critical resources on breastfeeding, infant safety, sobriety programs, and more. Healthy Start aims to reduce mother and child mortality rates.
  • Ashland Community Health Foundation, Asante Foundation, and Wickenburg Community Hospital Foundation are all raising funds for projects that help improve health care in their communities.
  • Southern Oregon Goodwill not only accepts donations (and keeps things out of landfills) but they help people who have had a hard time in life find job training, steady employment, and a place to belong and thrive.
  • Mick Dodge puts a smile on everyone’s face with his unique philosophy and personality. He encourages older people to get off their butts, get active, and start living!
  • Siskiyou Opioid Safety Coalition helps fight against the opioid epidemic by offering critical resources – free Narcan, rehabilitation groups, and resources for family members.
  • Rogue Retreat helps unhoused people in the Rogue Valley find a way out of homelessness and into shelters, work, health, and sobriety.
  • Southern Oregon and Klamath Family Head Start provide critical infant and child care to low-income families – their programs make a HUGE difference for the parents and the kids.
  • La Clinica offers low-cost health care for the most vulnerable members of our communities.
  • The Women’s Leadership Conference offers a way for emerging and established female leaders to network, get inspired, learn, and connect.
  • Lower Nehalem Community Trust pours funds and on-the-ground efforts into saving the wetlands and forests around the Nehalem River by the Oregon Coast.
  • Merle Chambers Fund supports women and girls, reproductive rights, and justice.
  • The Selberg Institute preserves parcels of land and protects them from development – keeping them as critical habitats for wild oaks and wildlife.
  • Ashland Child and JoCo Child provide in-depth information about vaccines.

Thank you for hopping on the yellow brick road with us!

We’re so grateful to our clients for trusting us with their website and design projects, to the heartfelt relationships we have made, and to our families and friends for supporting us along the way. This yellow-brick road keeps going, and we’re so happy to be on it!

~ Erin O’Kelley Muck, Founder, Ruby Slipper Designs