Digital Motif Opens for Business at 108 South Gay Street

Sacha Keenan has moved Digital Motif, her digital marketing and advertising agency to 108 South Gay Street. The location previously housed Lauderdale Design Group, which has moved to a new headquarters in south Knoxville. It’s the first brick-and-mortar storefront for the company which plans a Grand Opening soon. She said she wants the space to be a welcoming environment rather than a cold office space. The location is still being furnished and decorated, but I stopped in to learn more about Sacha and the business.

Sacha is originally from Sevierville where she said she knew from early that she wanted to move to a bigger city and she wanted to own her own business, “I just didn’t know what that was.” She graduated from Jefferson County High School and attended Carson Newman. “I was very unsure what I wanted to do, so I went into fashion at first, then nursing because I wanted to help people, and that was absolutely not for me.”

She’d worked retail for years and was a store manager for American Eagle, then shifted to Michael Kors. Eventually she was given a forced choice of advancing by relocating or graduating from college. “Being the first college graduate in my family,” prompted her to leave that job and finish school. She got her degree in Family and Consumer Sciences in 2018.

Still not certain of a direction, she worked briefly at Cherokee Country Club and worked in a downtown dental business. The seeds of her direction began to emerge during these jobs as she began on the side “to do social media management.” By the time the pandemic hit the stand-in jobs had run their course, but she’d kept a social media client and she did some free-lance photography. With the encouragement of her fiancée Lucas, “I married my love of nutrition, photography, organization, and helping people into one business.”

After running with one client, Fin Two, for the first three months, word began to spread, and she added Knox Box Karaoke. She’s now grown to a current list of sixteen clients, some of whom have been with her from near the beginning. “I’ve grown with them as much as they’ve grown with me. I started with social media management, but kept being asked about website development and email marketing, and I wanted to be the one-stop shop for everyone . . . I always want my clients to be happy.” She expanded from social media management to “full digital scale marketing.” Her services now include, “SEO, website development and maintenance, content creation, email marketing, production, video, photography, social media strategy, and ad development.”

While the services are offered in parts, she said most clients are interested in the whole package of services which allows them to focus more on their core business and leave the rest to Digital Motif. When she reached five clients knew she needed help and hired photographer Bridget Sackman, who she calls her “right hand woman,” as her first full-time employee in 2022. She now works with five interns and several contract employees. Her interns come from a range of UT colleges, including journalism, communications, and marketing.

Sacha Keenan, Owner of Digital Motif, Knoxville, May 2024 (Photo by Bridget Sackman)

Looking toward the future, she said,

Knoxville is going to be growing in the next years and is going to look so different. There will be a lot of businesses opening that will be that are going to be looking at ‘What is Knoxville,’ ‘How do I market in Knoxville.?’ Knoxville is very community driven . . . My goal is really to grow quality over quantity. If the client and I understand each other and we have the same goals, I think it’s a recipe for a great relationship . . . so my goal is to help the community, grow with my clients who are interested in an agency who sees them and uses their voice and brand and doesn’t put them in a box. I love being creative . . . I love our clients so much.

She’ll have a hospitality area in the front along with a full bar, which will feature some of their clients, like Crafty Bastard. She expects to have their beer, seltzers, and wines. The space, she promises, will have an earthy feel, with a concrete bar and seating. Robin Easter has designed the branding and a large vinyl mural with their branding will cover one wall.

Another wall will feature photographs of their clients and a room to the rear will feature a presentation room. A photo studio will be housed on the mezzanine along with an employee lounge. The buildout will be done in phases. She said you can expect them to be open on First Fridays and they’ll likely feature different clients each time out.

Look for updates on their website, Instagram, and Facebook accounts.