By Nina Anthony, Tuesday, March 25th, 2014
Last Friday, Webb Design Inc. was recognized by Albuquerque Business First as one of the Top 5 revenue-generating web design firms in New Mexico. That’s a significant milestone from the “low-tech graphic design company with three employees” that Janet Webb described starting back in 1982.
In light of Janet’s most recent accolade, I thought it was a good time to share a little bit about her growth as an entrepreneur. I had the honor of nominating Janet for the New Mexico Technology Council’s Women in Tech award that she won back in February of this year. I’m smiling as I type this at the memory of Janet grinning ear to ear as she walked on to the stage to accept her award. She couldn’t believe she won. I couldn’t think of anyone more deserving.
Janet has been a pioneer in the field of web development and has worked tirelessly over the past 30 years as a women business owner to encourage economic development in northern New Mexico by helping small businesses expand their reach and promoting Taos as a world-class tourist destination.
In the early years, Janet’s business focused on fine art marketing – books, catalogues, gallery guides and museum shop product development. Being in a small rural tourist town, tourism marketing was a natural transition. Over the years, Janet’s client base grew to include work for hotels, B & Bs, retail stores, outdoor outfitters, small businesses, the Town of Taos, Taos Ski Valley, Red River Ski Resort, the Taos County Lodgers’ Association and other tourism organizations to promote Taos as an art and outdoor recreation destination.
Janet embraced the arrival of the digital age. She told me just yesterday that she had considered selling her business but the prospect of working on websites excited her too much to walk away. In 1995, she registered the very first commercial domain in Taos County, www.TaosWebb.com. Shortly thereafter, she oversaw the design and development of simple webpages for Taos Ski Valley, the Taos Chamber of Commerce, and R.C. Gorman’s Navajo Gallery.
To control the quality and reliability of hosting for the new websites she was developing, Janet formed a partnership with John Batis, Fred Winter, and Jim Tucker, and TaosNet, LLC was born.
Over the years, Janet has had to rethink the focus of her business to adapt to changing economic climates and evolving developments in new technologies.
“The recession that started in late 2008 was the hardest challenge of my entire career,” Janet says. She said it took her five years to come back from that drop in business. “My staff has been very supportive, taking pay cuts for a few years. I value that loyalty.” The fact that one of her designers has been with her for 30 years is a testament to the respect and loyalty Janet has both from and for her employees.
While continuing to do design and publishing work in print, today Webb Design’s focus is on digital media. The company has developed hundreds of websites for Taos small businesses, non-profit organizations and museums. Her firm has won numerous ADDY awards for its creative work and the Tourism Association of New Mexico (TANM) has presented Webb Design with top awards for the last three years for some of the tourism sites it has designed and developed: TaosWebb in 2011, TAOS.org in 2012, RedRiver.org in 2013.
While the focus of her business model may have changed, Janet’s love for the Taos community that she has called home for the past 40 years has remained constant. She understands the importance of supporting local businesses and of collaborating with various groups within the area for the good of community as a whole. In addition to volunteering her time and providing in-kind donations to cultural nonprofits including SOMOS, the literary society of Taos, Taos Center for the Arts, the Harwood Museum of Art, and Taos Feeds Taos, Janet has also worked effectively with various Mayors and City Councilors to help affect social and economic change in the Taos community.
From what I see, Janet shows no signs of slowing down. From Apples and Quark to responsive websites and mobile apps, whatever changes technology has in store to help her market her clients’ websites and share the wonders of Taos with the world at large, Janet will do her best to evolve with the developments.
I speak for the staff of Webb Design—and many people in the community—when I say, “We’re proud of you, Janet!”
The full list of Top Web Design Firms in New Mexico is featured in the March 21, 2014 weekly edition of Albuquerque Business First. The listing includes information about each company’s total websites designed in New Mexico in 2013, total web designers in New Mexico, total New Mexico employees, sample of services and specialties, and top local executive.