It was four years ago when my girlfriend and I were having drinks in Ocean Springs, enjoying the evening out, when we bumped into a nice fellow named Matt Hoggatt and began chatting. I had recently opened my business, Jaimee Designs, and was desperately seeking projects to fill both my time and my bank account. My first – and since then only – round of door-to-door promoting earlier that afternoon landed me only one dinky job, so needless to say, my energy was low and my spirit was needing some spirits! My girlfriend, Jen, sensed my lack of enthusiasm and after learning of Matt’s musical talents and aspirations, she slammed a few business cards in his hand and flashed her bright white smile at me. As they say, the rest is history.
Matt was a police detective by day yet burned the night oil in bars around the area doing what he loved best – playing music. What I loved about Matt from the beginning was that he didn’t let his small Gulf Coast audiences and even smaller budget determine his worth. He knew he needed a website to begin some online marketing, so he asked me to do the best I could do for $250, and we were in business!
In a lot of ways, I feel like Matt and I have grown up together, two young professionals trying to make it BIG in our perspective careers. Like Matt’s music, that first website I built for him was good, but nowhere near the standard of websites I push out today. Matt’s music in 2007 was good, but his songwriting of 2011 won him several awards including an American Song Writer Award and the Vieti Chili Jingle Challenge. His most recent accomplishment was winning a lyrics song contest and landing a performance onstage with his idol Jimmy Buffett. It was stardom overnight for my friend and I felt like I was part of the winning team, helping him post news articles and videos to his website – an improved version of his outdated 2007 model. We launched that one last fall.
In 2007, Matt said, “Jaimee made this good old boy feel like a real country star.” Here’s to you, Mr. Hoggatt for setting your sights high and dreaming big. Now you are well on your way to being a real country star.