Today we’d like to introduce you to Jordan Babeon.
Jordan, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
In 2018, I started SurroundUs! Services, a company that helps busy working parents clear out their digital clutter and preserve their memories. I believe people want to surround themselves with their memories, achievements, and successes but don’t always have the time and skills required to get this done. I believe this because I am a working Mom who has been there and done that. Favoriting our photos, removing duplicates and transferring pictures from that box of old phones, CDs and hard drives was something that I never had time to get done. At the time, I was working as a software consultant for Oracle and realized I needed someone like me to help navigate my way through all of the available solutions and, maybe even do it for me. Given my background, I new how at risk these files were. The average life of a hard drive is only three years, and a digital file is fragile. I was a new Mom to twins and was determined to preserve our memories! SurroundUs! Services was born, and I haven’t looked back. Helping people manage their memories and ensure they are appropriately backed-up and accessible has become a passion.
Kids artwork logically fell into this same bucket. It was easy for me to scan my kids 2D artwork and add it to our family’s photo library. But most of the artwork and things I wanted to save, just weren’t flat enough. I was determined to find a solution. I was a film major ages ago, which gave me an affinity towards photography. So, I setup my studio and started to photograph all of the 3D artwork. The result was beautiful digitized versions of my kid’s artistic maturation, and a glitter-filled photography studio! I printed and bound them together in a book that the kids have cherished. I was able to recycle and remove the last pile of stuff that was cluttering my house and still celebrate and remember my kids’ accomplishments.
Simplicity was what I was after. Being a working Mom who was trying to be present for my children while building a business was tough. Amid work, home, school, keeping up with the playdates, meetings, date nights finding time to sleep was even tougher! Then, my kids’ school reached out with pleas to help them reach their fundraising goal. Not only was my school reaching out, but at the time, news headlines were also screaming that our schools were under-funded. Can we, as a society, afford full-day kindergarten? What about pre-school? Education is the answer to so many of our problems, so why is it not something that we prioritize from a financial perspective? I knew at that moment that the community outreach arm of my company would be something that helped our schools raise the money they need. In that same breath, as I scrolled through the candy and wrapping paper order forms, I realized that fundraising options for our schools were in desperate need of upgrading. Why shouldn’t fundraising benefit both the school and the home? Eureka! SurroundUs! Schools was born. An art-based fundraiser that helps parents clear out the clutter builds confidence in our kids and helps our schools raise the money they need. We offer local digitization services to transform that pile of kid’s artwork.
The digitized memories are print and bound into a rich portfolio, or memorialized into other fun items like a blanket, a t-shirt, a mug for Grandma, or even wrapping paper. When I left the corporate world, I was determined to start a business that helped fulfill a purpose that was important to me. I always wanted to create a company that not only made profits but was a citizen of the communities in which it was involved. Better yet, a global citizen. An entity that made a difference and did good. This drive and commitment are why a portion of profits generated from SurroundUs! Schools go directly to the school or community-based organization hosting the event. The years when our children are young are precious, and we need to do a better job of celebrating that fact.
Remembering where we came from is always the starting point for our future. Finding our path forward from the progress we have made can be a powerful tool.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Jumping from a stable, well-paying career with a major company was scary! A lot of the people in my life warned me that this was a huge risk, and reminded me that my family depended on my income. They advised me to build my business in my spare time so that leaving Oracle would be an easy decision. They didn’t have a 60+ hour a week job and twin toddlers… There have been a lot of struggles, including explaining what I do for people. Digital photos are overwhelming for most of us, and hiring someone to help out with the mess is a great “someday” service. Educating people that their photos are at risk, that the average life of a hard drive is only three years before you risk corruption. Explaining that there may not be photos to organize or clean-up if you wait is my biggest struggle.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
We preserve memories! We bring peace of mind to our clients, ensuring them that those photos that may or may not be on that old laptop or old photo are backed-up and are safe. We save you time by consolidating and organizing your photos for you. It is a privileged to have access to so many photos and memories, but that Facebook and social media aren’t enough. You deserve to be surrounded by your memories and easily find that great picture of Grandma or all of the photos of your son from the time he was born to his high school graduation. Why not? The technology is out there, but it takes some insider knowledge and a lot of time to get things in order. We, as a society, are used to hiring someone to take care of our lawn or clean our house. It is now necessary to hire someone to manage your photographs and memories. If you don’t, you may lose them. If not lose, I bet you have a hard time finding them and aren’t 100% sure where all of them are.
We are known for saving wedding photos. More than one of our clients came to us with multiple CDs containing copies of their wedding photos from their professional photographer and more than once all but one were corrupt. We have pulled wedding photos from back-up hard-drives when CDs are corrupted, Found lost photos that happened to be on an old, unsupported software program.
What were you like growing up?
Ambitious and probably a bit annoying. I think I started my first business when I was 5 or 6. I used to write children’s books and try to get them “published” in my school library. I sold tickets to my neighborhood for shows my friends and I would put on. As I aged a little more, ten or so, I graduated to producing films shot with our family video camera and writing letters to the President asking him for my own radio channel to educate people on climate change. I was born a dreamer, and have always had an affinity for making people smile and bringing them joy.
- Website: www.SurroundUsServices.com
- Phone: 970-532-9882
- Email: info@SurroundUsServices.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/surround_us
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/surroundusservices
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/SurroundUsNow
Jennifer Bridge Photography (Pictures of me in the striped jacket)