We had the good fortune of connecting with Rachel Gomez and Carly Benewith, owners of Mountain Air Marketing, a fast growing women owned and operated boutique marketing agency located in Colorado Springs and we are excited to share our conversation below.
Hi Rachel and Carly, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Throughout the years of working for other companies, we came in contact with many small business owners who felt lost or taken advantage of when it came to promoting their business. Over time we learned these entrepreneurs had difficulty understanding what services they actually needed and not some one-size fits all, up-sold packages that were more of a money pit than a service that promoted their business in the way they needed. With our professional backgrounds and the complimentary ways our skill sets fit together, we realized that we should start our own agency. An agency that offers a culture of trust and transparency coupled with ethical marketing practices.
The first year had MANY sleepless nights and long days sitting at Rachel’s kitchen table working. We busted our butts going to networking events and trying to meet as many business owners in town so that the community would know who we were and what we offered. We grew from having a handful of clients to consistently receiving referrals and ending year 1 with over 20 recurring clients and 40 completed websites. We used our own skills and hard work to build a reputation of professionalism and trust.
We’ve done nothing but grow since then. Mountain Air Marketing (MAM) is now one of the premiere boutique agencies in Colorado. We have the privilege of working for some of the most incredible and successful businesses in our great state. MAM has now grown to a Team of 5. Our mission has been to create an atmosphere of hard-working team members who could have a work/life balance and to acquire clients that understand the value of digital marketing and the importance of a relationship with their marketing team.
What should our readers know about your business?
The foundation of a successful business is through a strong partnership.
We were told we would never be able to be friends and business partners. Lawyers and advisors urged us that it would be in MAM’s best interest to have one owner hold more shares than the other because at some point it will be impossible to agree 100% of the time. Our success and strength flows from the power of a loyal and true partnership. ** We have the best partnership **. We are friends and business partners and yes… we both have equal shares of this company. We don’t fight and rarely disagree. Here is the thing, we know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and when someone has a little more passion about a situation than the other, we listen. We respect each other and trust the others GUT and intuition and there is no screwing up, only learning.
We strongly believe the power of a good relationship is key to our success, especially with our clients. Having a strong relationship with clients is a key factor in being able to help their business grow, and for us to connect with them. The primary way we build relationships is through top notch communication. We want our clients to feel like we are a part of their team and that our hearts are just as invested in their company as their own. These qualities help build the strong foundation of our business and our relationships with clients, which opens the doors to endless possibilities.
Desire and Drive
Hard work and determination, but also the DESIRE and love to do what we do, has gotten us to where we are now. Has owning a start-up been hard? Yes! Has it been worth it? HELL yes!! We’ve learned a lot along the way. We know there is always room for growth and improvement, but for us, it’s only up from here!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
If we were visiting Colorado Springs for a week, here’s some of how we would make the most out of our time while supporting some of our favorite clients.
Colorado Springs Adventures
Schedule a mountain biking tour at Garden of the Gods with Pikes Peak Bike Tours — this is the best way to drown out the tourist experience and transform it into a unique and exhilarating adventure. Pikes Peak Bike Tours gives you an experienced guide that will show you the nuances of mountain biking, regardless of your skill level and Garden of the Gods. This adventure will have you outside and experiencing the fresh Colorado Springs mountain air while taking in views most tourists don’t get to experience.
If you’re looking for a more mild adventure, driving Pikes Peak highway is always wonderful. The views are indescribable, and there are some great hikes along the way for you to stop and take in the fresh Mountain Air (Hey.. that should be a company name ). Also, depending on when you visit, there is a magnificent visitor center being constructed on the top of Pikes Peak. This project has been in the works for years now, but when it’s done there will be a shop visitors can experience at the very top of Pikes Peak with a glass patio that extends off the top of the mountain.
Take a day trip to Cañon City, just one hour south of Colorado Springs, to experience America’s Bridge, and the highest suspension bridge in North America — the Royal Gorge. The Royal Gorge Bridge and Park was built in 1929 and still uses the majority of the original planks where you can walk across the gorge at 1,200 feet above the Arkansas River. We truly cannot put into words how magnificent this experience is. There’s a gondola that will take you from one side of the bridge to the other, and if you’re adventurous, there’s a number of attractions to really get your adrenaline pumping. We’re talking, zipline, an exhilarating Skycoaster, scaling the Gorge on the Via Ferrata. There’s truly enough to keep you occupied for a day and then some. Definitely, a must-visit attraction whenever any of our friends or family are visiting from out of town.
Adventure around the Air Force Academy on horses. At Mountain Air Marketing, we support our troops and believe that the military presence in the Springs is what adds to Colorado Springs’ character. When you come into town, there’s a pull-off area where you can stop and watch the small airplanes and gliders. However, if you’re looking for a little more adventure, the Air Force Academy offers various horseback rides, which is truly an experience. You’ll be able to explore the Air Force Academy grounds and the front range that occupy the stables too.
Colorado Springs Restaurants & Places To Hang Out
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and Colorado Springs has a lot of awesome breakfast/brunch locations. Our go-to is Mountain Shadows Restaurant in Old Colorado City. The food, staff, and atmosphere are outstanding. This restaurant is in what looks like could be someone’s house, but don’t let the residential vibe fool you. Their food is amazing, and if you can get a spot on the patio you will have a good view of the mountains. Don’t forget to get their massive cinnamon roll, which was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Also, if you start your day off at Mountain Shadows Restaurant you’re in the perfect place for experiencing Old Colorado City.
Old Colorado City has many quaint boutique shops, local artists, live music, and is a must-visit spot to hang out when you’re in town. Always try your best to support local businesses when you get the chance! Once you get out of Old Colorado City, head downtown for lunchtime. Dos Santos in Downtown Colorado Springs makes some of the best tacos and margaritas in town. The best spot in their restaurant is certainly outside, but if you can’t find a spot they have a garage door that opens their inside dining to feel like you’re sitting on the patio. If you must sit inside the bar is the best place to sit as they have so many tequila selections that are fascinating to learn about and try because they offer tequila flights! Dos Santos sits next to several other local restaurants including Cork and Cask, a whiskey and wine bar, Frozen Gold, a divine ice cream shop, Atomic Cowboy, which you can visit three restaurants in one, and so much more. This downtown area will keep you entertained for hours.
Before dinner check out Ohana Kava Bar, an alternative medicinal non-alcoholic bar that brings island vibes to Colorado Springs. Kava is a traditional medicinal beverage that some say produces a calm relaxation and many say kava reduces tension and frustration. Ohana Kava Bar offers a variety of kava and non-kava beverages (kombucha, nitro coffee, and tea). If you like what you had, you can even take your favorite kava products home with you, just ask their staff what they have for to-go products. This is definitely a unique experience that you must check out while you’re in town.
Finally, as dinner time approaches, check out Colorado Craft Social in downtown Colorado Springs. Colorado Craft Social is a local restaurant that is bringing comfort food to life. All of their food items are made from locally sourced ingredients and are to die for. This restaurant offers local and exclusive specials on the weekends and will occasionally add them during the weekdays too. The nice thing about this restaurant is if you’re waiting for a table, you can grab a cocktail at their secret cocktail lounge in the basement — the Archives. The Archives specializes in traditional prohibition cocktails and will have you feeling like you’re living in the 1920s.
Colorado Springs Overall
This isn’t even the half of it, but it’s definitely where we would start if our friends and family were visiting Colorado Springs. We could go on and on about the local businesses and mountain adventures there are to be had here. The real solution is to stay longer to experience it all.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
When we decided to start this business, we knew that the success of Mountain Air Marketing would not fall on just us as owners. We needed the full support of our family and built an incredible team of powerful members who worked hard and understood our values and mission. Let’s start with our incredible husbands.
Our husbands knew the long hours, endless nights and work calls we would soon have to experience if we wanted MAM to grow into its full potential. And trust us, there were so many of these the first few years. Between raising babies, a new company and life in general, we really needed support from our husbands, and that is exactly what we received. From cooking dinners and helping with the kids, to handing us a cup of coffee when we’re stuck on a phone call, they have seen our hard work and determination and have really affirmed us that we are doing something incredible and changing our families lives.
Fast forward two years… let’s talk about our incredible Team members. There is something very powerful about having a great team by your side. It has taken us a good amount of time to really find our forever MAM members who offered something unique to our Team and also cared about this agency as much as we do. We strove to find a group that empowers one another and goes above and beyond for our clients. Leading a team is stressful for any business owner and we are so happy with the Team we have at this point in MAM’s life cycle. The ladies at MAM have been a huge part of this agency and we are so thankful for the heart they have given to us and our wonderful clients.
Images by Haili Wright of Haili Wright Photography