By Todd Travis
Fountain Square-based entrepreneur, Heather Brogden, is the owner of Porch Marketing, a video communications company focused on storytelling.
This is her story.
Brogden grew up in a family of entrepreneurs. Small business and living locally was ingrained into her mind since she was a child. From ages 9-12, she lived with her grandparents on their farm where they ran their business, Turner Dolls. Her grandmother was a regular on QVC selling these dolls. “During this time I had exposure to an artistic, female-led business,” Brogden recalled. Her fondest memories from this time were of her and her grandfather, Boyce Turner, telling stories on the front porch.
The years on the farm would make a lasting impact on Brogden’s life. Particularly the time spent with her grandfather. “I was basically his shadow. I followed him everywhere which was so fun because he was a man of many talents and interests,” Brogden recounted. “He was basically one of the last renaissance men of his time.” Several of his many talents included woodworking, photography, marketing and farming. He even created the molds for the dolls they sold. The most important thing Brogden remembers was his strong character. “He was a bridge of a person because he was a lifelong learner,” Brogden said.
When she was 11, her grandfather handed her a camera and ignited a love for photography that would stick with Brogden for life. Her interest grew through high school, and she went on to study photojournalism at IU. She graduated into a depressed job market and, unsurprisingly, decided to start her own business. Her first business was called Unique Heart Productions, a wedding video business that gained immense success. Amidst her success, she still felt a draw to do more with her talents.
“After a couple years I realized I wanted to be able to work with a larger scope than just weddings,” Brogden mentioned. “So I decided to start my second business called (at that time) B Media House, a video company focusing on strong storytelling skills.” B Media House would also see significant success and would even go on to acquire a smaller competitor as it grew. This growth would continue all the way until the world stopped with the pandemic, when Brogden faced some large challenges and learn liberating lessons.
“During the pandemic, we were able to continue working on some projects remotely, but it was tough. There was a solid eight months where I had to ask myself if we were gonna make it.” Brogden said. “In April, I decided to go back to my grandparents’ farm and posted up in the sculpting studio with my two dogs for most of the summer.” The time on the farm was renewing for Brogden as she recalled many memories from her childhood. She was especially reminded of her time with her grandpa, who had since passed, and their talks on the porch. Knowing that her company was ready for a rebrand, she decided to use this inspiration to guide the direction of her company. This is when Porch was born.
Brogden also experienced a shift in perspective during this time. She was beginning to see things more clearly in the midst of the chaos that was brought with the pandemic. “It was like a wind blew away any kind of smoke and mirrors and offered a distinct clarity of what’s important and what isn’t,” Brogden conveyed. She knew the risk she faced as a small business owner. A mentor of hers mentioned that people were projecting the pandemic would be the death of small businesses. In the face of this risk, Brogden doubled down on what was truly important to her. She was able to clear away anything that wasn’t absolutely necessary and, as a result, rekindle the love that she found for photography when she was 11.
Part of her resilience came from her familiarity with being an underdog. As a female-owned small business, she had to overcome the odds presented by being in a male-dominated industry. This struggle also connected her with other small businesses and nonprofits. “Being a female, artistic entrepreneur, I love being ingrained in the fabric of the community. There’s a sense of character and passion in what we do. The same goes for other small businesses and nonprofits. There is a sense of doing something for a bigger purpose,” Brogden shared. That philosophy helped Porch survive the biggest waves of the pandemic. Now, Porch is regaining momentum with a new poise and focus.
Porch operates under the motto “Where stories are told, and character is developed.” Rather than pushing its own agenda, the business prioritizes listening, being compassionate and understanding. Staying true to her upbringing, Brogden continues to maintain strong ties with the local community. She is adamant about giving back to people around her. “Being a female-owned business, we have been able to be a beacon for other ‘underdogs’ as they pursue their own success,” Brogden said. As an example, she recently assisted a Girl Scouts troop’s fashion show to collect socks for the homeless. At her own expense, she produced a professional-quality video that showcased the event. To view the video, go to vimeo.com.
Thinking locally has not limited Porch’s reach. It has also found success on far-reaching platforms. Currently, it is working with international companies in addition to the local customers it serves. Porch is working with Endress + Hauser, which has a facility in Greenwood. In 2021 Brogden was awarded with two Gold Telly awards for her work with the Indiana Repertory Theater and with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana.
Looking forward, Brogden plans to continue her growth with a new clarity and enjoyment of what she does. “It’s important to be human and fulfill multiple parts of yourself,” she remarked. The lessons she learned from her grandpa on the front porch at the farm continue to guide her and remind her of her love for what she does. For more information about Brogden and Porch visit porchmarketing.com.