Big Shoes Network to expand to the South

After seven years of connecting job seekers in advertising, corporate communications, marketing, public relations, social media, Web design and Web development with employers throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota, the Big Shoes Network is expanding its job posting services beyond the Midwest.

The Big Shoes Network, based in Shorewood, aims to launch a Big Shoes South in the first quarter of 2014. The new network will first cover Florida and over time will grow its reach to communications-oriented job seekers and employers in Alabama and Georgia.

While Jeff Carrigan, founder and chief marketing officer of Big Shoes Network, will continue running Big Shoes Midwest out of his Shorewood home with his wife, Martha, the new Big Shoes branch will be owned and operated by the Carrigans’ business partner, John Sprecher, president and creative director at Noise, Inc.

Sprecher, who first ran his advertising agency, Noise, out of Milwaukee, opened an office in Sanibel, Fla., about nine years ago and today works out of Florida. His relationship with Jeff Carrigan began nearly 15 years ago when the two got to know each other through professional circles. Sprecher also relied on the Big Shoes Network to find talent during his tenure in Milwaukee.

According to Jeff, Sprecher contacted the Carrigans early this year with an interest to open a Big Shoes Network in Florida. Nothing like the niche network currently exists in the state, according to the business partners.

In preparation for launch, the Carrigans are collaborating with Sprecher to set up the new site and begin populating it with content.

“John is certainly an expert in the field, and I think he is very well connected in the state of Florida, and he has a passion…just like us,” Jeff said.

With the new branch, Jeff envisions that the Big Shoes Network will be able to draw significantly more companies in need of communications professionals and interns.

“We will attract a lot more companies, national in scope (and) global in scope,” Jeff said.

Big Shoes Midwest, which began as an informal email list serve with about 30 contacts and today caters to 9,000 subscribers, posts jobs and internships for about 2,000 unique companies in Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota. These companies fall under a variety of industries, including consumer products, insurance, health care, technology, manufacturing, education and marketing.

The Big Shoes Network crossed the $100,000 revenue mark during its first fiscal year with only Jeff and Martha at the helm.

In its most recent fiscal year, the company’s revenues were under $500,000, according to Jeff, and during the last four years, the company has continued to hit record-breaking numbers.

Jeff and Martha, whose careers are rooted in Milwaukee, remain the company’s only employees today, apart from freelance contributors who assist with Web design and development.

In addition to Sprecher’s inquiry, the Carrigans have received interest from potential business partners in New York and Boston as well as in North Carolina and South Carolina. While the couple will place priority on helping Sprecher lift his branch off the ground in 2014, they are eager to explore other growth opportunities across the country.

“It would be fantastic if we could establish and cultivate relationships with other potential licensees,” Jeff said. “We would be very open to talking about that.”

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