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Sandy Marsico

Chicago, IL

INDUSTRY: PROFESSIONAL SERVICES
BUSINESS: SANDSTORM
YEAR FOUNDED: 1998
PROGRAM: 2009 EMERGING LEADERS CHICAGO
"When my kids ask me what I do I tell them that I provide jobs. I made a very specific decision that I was going to keep jobs in our country and I’m going to keep building jobs here."
BUSINESS OVERVIEW
Sandstorm (previously Sandstorm Design) was founded in 1998 by 24-year-old Sandy Marsico and became a corporation in 2002. While originally just focused on design, today Sandstorm also does brand strategy, marketing strategy, analytics, web development, and user experience. Sandstorm's clients are both B2B and B2C that span twenty countries, although her employees are all hired locally. Revenue has grown from half a million to five million dollars a year in about ten years. Hiring her first employees in 2005, today her company employs almost 30 people.

HIRING FROM THE COMMUNITY
When starting her business, Sandy made a decision: “I opted not to outsource.” This was a significant decision because, Sandy reflects, “it’s really easy to outsource web development to other countries--where I could get labor cheaper. But that’s not what I’m looking to do.”

She attributes her local hiring as an important reason why she has been able to grow so much. And providing jobs to local people helps her Chicago community “even more [than service or donations do] among our community.”

Today, half of her current staff can walk to work, with one woman even moving from a farther distance to be right next to Sandstorm.

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