40 Under 40 Class of 2009

Christopher Prouty

Christopher Prouty

Age 39: Founder, Studio99Creative

Chris Prouty tells the story of a photographer who came to him armed with ideas for her Web site. “I came back to her and said, ‘No, I think this might be the Web site you want.’ And she fell in love with it.”

As it turned out, Ludlow-based Studio99Creative — which assists businesses with not only Web design but also total branding efforts — helped this client open up new opportunities in corporate and industrial photography. “So she came back to me to build a Web site for that side of the business, too.”

For the first four years after launching his company in 2002, sales were essentially flat, although Prouty was enjoying working for himself and seeing clients reach their goals. But his wife, Amy, saw more potential than that.

“I love to grow things for my clients. I crave to grow their Web sites, grow their public perception, just help them be better at things,” he said. “Amy told me, ‘why don’t you do that for yourself and see what happens?’”

So he turned his own marketing strategies inward and starting aggressively growing his client base. After two years of doubled sales, Prouty quadrupled his business in 2008, and in the first quarter of 2009, in the midst of a struggling economy, he recorded a 38% increase over the year before.

“Everyone who works with me in the studio is goal-oriented,” said Prouty, adding that he considers clearly defining goals as perhaps the number-one reason people succeed. “Amy and I do that as often as possible. If you know where you want to go and what it will take to get there, how can you not make it?”

Often, he said, success requires clients to look beyond their own limited expectations, like the photographer who thought she had some pretty good Web site ideas.

“Sometimes you’ve got to tell someone their baby is ugly,” Prouty said. “But we’re going to make your baby beautiful.”

—Joseph Bednar