Focused leadership netted big name clients for Red Door
Padma Nagappan, Special to the Daily Transcript
As one of San Diego’s 100 fastest growing companies and a three-time Inc. 5000 company, Red Door Interactive, an internet presence management firm, has a client list that reads like a “Who’s Who” list.
Founded eight years ago in 2002 by Reid Carr and his wife Amy, the firm has grown from two employees to more than 50 and has offices in San Diego, Carlsbad and Denver.
From the get-go, Carr said the mission has been to help clients run a profitable online business by building their website and maintaining it, and managing their social media, e-mail systems, search functions and other platforms.
Clients include well-known names such as Rubios Fresh Mexican Grill, Cricket Communications, Sony Online Entertainment, Cox Communications, Overstock.com, Petco, and Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes Restaurants.
“A constant focus on the kind of clients we wanted helped - our current clients were once on our radar. We jumped on the right kind of service mix early on and we’ve had a fanatical focus on their needs. We worked on being the best, then showed them,” said Carr, 33, who is president of the firm.
Carr takes the lead in generating imaginative strategies with the aim of making each client’s website, online campaign and brand image unique, yet is quick to give credit to team effort for the big client wins.
When he graduated from the University of Oregon, Eugene with a degree in journalism and advertising, the industry focus was on online advertising.
“The young guy in the room gets dumped with internet initiatives and that’s how I got started. I showed folks it’s not just ads, there’s online business potential,” he said.
Soon after graduation, Carr began working in the Los Angeles office of TBWA/Chiat/Day, handling Nissan’s account. He then became COO and accounts director at PBJ Digital, a bicoastal interactive development and incubator shop, where he was responsible for over 30 interactive as well as brick and mortar plays.
He then was tapped to form the interactive arm of San Diego public relations firm McQuerter Group. As the director of interactive and advertising, Carr quickly built up the division, which topped $1 million in billings in its first year.
When Red Door was launched, the first year was tough and Carr recalled a make or break point.
“The last month of our first year was when we had a breakthrough, until then we didn’t know if we could make it. Since then, we haven’t stopped growing.”
One of the priorities he set early on was to hire the right people and retain them. The Carlsbad office was opened in order to accommodate many of his employees who were commuting downtown from the North County. Red Door was this year’s winner of the Inc. Top Small Company Workplace.
Carr is a frequent presenter at industry conferences and college campuses. His advice for other young entrepreneurs: “Know what your priorities are, know your target customer base, attract and retain the right folks. At first it will be difficult to prove your worth, then it gets better.”
Nagappan is a San Diego based freelance business writer.