It all started with a fork in the road– and a stoner rock band. Two guys on different paths that eventually coalesced to form Sherpa.
Tom (the left brain), our Technical Director (aka SEO wizard), started a freelance business called Starbelly Designs in 2005. Today, he uses four computer screens like he’s in The Matrix and handles everything from SEO implementation to maintenance, general support, website setup, and technical issues.
Kirk (the right brain), our Creative Director moved to Portland from St. Petersburg, FL in December 2006. Today, he handles sales, business development, and new client onboarding. Being the creative he is, Kirk spends much of his time spearheading initial brainstorming for our clients and prototyping for Sherpa’s web design projects.
Just three days after Kirk moved to Portland, the two met. Kirk answered a Craigslist ad for a stoner rock band that was looking for a bass player. Tom was the guitarist. They played music together for a few months before the band dissolved, but over the next 10 years they developed their friendship over many a brewski and dart games at the Horse Brass Pub, a famed public house and beer bar.
Tom and Kirk have been both cannabis users and advocates for decades. When Oregon went rec, it made sense to put their complementary skill sets together (not just their strings) and create something wholly new (and sorely needed): a company that builds high-quality websites for cannabis and CBD businesses.
And so they both decided to leave their old jobs behind and join forces to form a cannabis-specific web design agency. Paying homage to the OG Starbelly name, Potbelly Creative was born in January of 2016. A few years later, in line with their motto “Every journey needs a guide,” they renamed it to Sherpa. The rest is history.
Have you ever searched for something in Google only to find completely irrelevant results? In a nutshell, Sherpa’s mission is to build beautiful, effective websites that show up on the front page– and keeps them there.
We work with clients who are in it for the long haul: who value polished design and strong branding, who have their own compelling story, their own transformative journey, and their own ethos. Above all, they value the plant and the products they make with it. Tom and Kirk started Sherpa to guide these clients along the way: through creating websites that are well-designed, user-friendly, and efficient.
These days, Sherpa is on a journey of its own: to becoming to the #1 digital marketing company in the industry. In the meantime, we’re focused on building our portfolio with work that we’re proud of, growing our business sustainably, and collaborating with some of the most talented creatives in cannabis.
We don’t like to go it alone– and we’re convinced that every good guide needs skilled backup. Sherpa has several partners that we work with, each aligned with the ethos and the mission, and each focusing on a specific area of digital marketing.
Potency– Sherpa’s partners in design, with whom we share an office, ideas, and the occasional happy hour. They’re experts at polished branding, packaging, and graphic design. This team has branded some of the biggest names in cannabis, from Select to Yerba Buena.
AH Creative– Our newest partnership specializes in boutique social media development. Ayla and her team handle all things social: from design to photography to copywriting and packaging– and have elevated big-name brands like DabTabs and Farmer’s Friend Extracts.
Play Nice PR– Our go-to “story brokers.” This team specializes in PR, social media, and consulting services in the cannabis, food, and beverage industries.
Cannabiscope– This tool takes cannabis menus to the next level: featuring an interactive wheel that helps you find the right strain based on your medical needs or flavor preferences.