Running a successful small business is challenging. It takes hard work, passion and dedication to keep a business afloat, while maintaining strong relationships with clients is imperative to that success.
One company that has been steadily making its presence known in the region is FireRock Productions in Emmaus.
Here to answer this week's “Behind the List” questions is Julia Urich, owner of the video production company.
Lehigh Valley Business: How long has FireRock Productions been operating in the Lehigh Valley and what are its primary services?
Julia Urich: For 13 years, we have been offering video production from concept to delivery. Some clients come to us with a completely blank slate, looking for ideas and execution; others have a very specific vision they need help bringing to life. We appreciate each of the unique challenges our clients have, and enjoy working through it with them. Building relationships is one of the greatest parts of the process, and genuinely knowing and caring about our clients allows us to connect more deeply with their brand and provide them with a better product.
LVB: What have been some of the biggest challenges and opportunities that FireRock Productions has encountered throughout its years in business?
Urich: One of our greatest challenges also turned out to be one of our greatest opportunities. Is that cliché? It's true. Making the decision to work together, incorporate, and grow our business in the middle of the recession as newly married, starry-eyed twenty-somethings with a mortgage to pay was considered foolish by many. ... But it forced us to step outside of our comfort zones. In 2009, I left my full-time job with benefits and took over the operations of what was Rocky's growing freelance business. Together we networked ... produced a lot of videos for trade and sponsorship, and built a portfolio and reputation based on passion and integrity that garnered credibility and ultimately allowed us to charge fair rates for our efforts. I don't recommend the path we took if you're looking for easy or quick – but if you want some great experience, lifelong relationships and a strong foundation for a lasting business … then buckle up and jump in.
LVB: Does FireRock Productions provide its services solely in the Greater Lehigh Valley or does it expand into other markets? Who are some of its most notable clients and what are some of the biggest projects it has worked on?
Urich: FireRock provides services across the nation, and our work is seen globally. While most of our work has been produced on and for the East Coast, we've also had the opportunity to work on international projects, one of which was in partnership with major producers in California.
Some of our clients include Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc. and Crayola, and, regionally, we have worked with all of the major health networks, many of the colleges and universities and many varied local businesses.
One of the biggest projects we worked on recently was for Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau over the course of 2015 and 2016. We filmed for a number of days in each season and edited videos that have been seen across the country. We were coming home from California in June, and a PMVB commercial we shot was playing on the in-flight televisions.
LVB: How does FireRock Productions directly stimulate the local economy?
Urich: Rocky and I are Lehigh Valley natives and made the decision in the beginning that being an active and philanthropic part of our community is and always should be a priority. We have contributed countless hours of production efforts to local organizations. We've also worked on video content with the local tourism and economic development groups in the past few years. We recently finished a series of six videos for Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp., helping them market directly to industry leaders of sectors for which growth would greatly benefit the community and economy; the manufacturing video in that series won an award from the International Economic Development Council.
Additionally, work we've done for and about the Lehigh Valley has earned seven Mid-Atlantic Emmy Awards and 15 ADDY awards. Our hope in earning these awards (and in continuing to expand our business outside of the region) is that we will bring more eyes into focus on the Valley.
In order to continue our efforts, we founded LehighValleyTV.com, where we create and host content all about the region.
LVB: What does the future look like for FireRock Productions? Does it have plans for growth?
Urich: FireRock has been very fortunate to experience growth every year since 2009. Though we came into the market at one of the worst possible times economically, it was actually fortuitous for us. We began building a public and community reputation just as it was becoming more and more apparent that video is a necessary marketing tool. And, as one of the most digested and, arguably, most powerful forms of communication, we recognize and respect the position we are in to shape opinions and inform decisions. We take that very seriously (but not too seriously), and feel it's our responsibility to grow and continue fostering positive experiences around video, and have fun doing it.