Rachel Anderson grew up in Minnesota, but her parents’ roots in Circle, Montana allowed her to spend a great deal of time in Big Sky Country during her formative years. With every family visit, Rachel fell deeper in love with Montana’s wide open spaces, vibrant communities, and welcoming people. By the time Rachel was a senior in high school, her affection for Montana was so strong that she only applied to one college - Montana State University (MSU) in Bozeman.
In 2002, Rachel earned a degree in psychology from MSU. Work in the mental health field wasn’t readily available in the Bozeman area for a recent graduate, so she opted to join her father in a custom manufacturing business he’d recently started back in Minnesota. Rachel ultimately became Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the growing company that was making custom imprinted health and beauty products for promotional use and private label. In that role, Rachel learned the importance of great marketing in order to reach new audiences/customers, as well as the details of running a business.
Rachel had a great experience in Minnesota, but when the manufacturing business sold in 2012, she knew she wanted to move her family (husband, Brian, and two young sons Liam and Gage) back to Montana. Later that year she took a job with a company in Livingston, and made the move to Montana’s Paradise Valley. As Rachel recalls, the company and her colleagues were great - but her passion for running her own business had grown too strong during her time at the helm of her father’s company:
“I knew working for another company wasn’t in my nature. I immediately started thinking about what I could do with my skill set and experience to help small businesses in my new community.”
“Montana embodies the entrepreneurial spirit. People live here to live in balance, and that’s im-portant to me. I can’t image doing this without the support of a local community - that’s the es-sence of what I’m trying to do.”
In 2013, Rachel founded Markouture, a marketing company driven by three business principles: “1) to make outsourced marketing services more accessible and less overwhelming for small businesses, allowing them time to grow and develop their companies; 2) to enable businesses large and small to re-connect with their customers and their communities, making business more personal again; and 3) to create an amazing place to work for the extremely talented people that live in and around our community.”
As Markouture got started, Rachel set clear revenue goals and bootstrapped the business by working out of her home. She also defined clear goals for giving back, committing to several speaking engagements that educated others in her field of expertise.
Markouture has proven to be successful as a business, and incredibly fulfilling to Rachel’s sense of service and community. As she notes, her touchstone is if Markouture’s services are truly helping businesses:
“I always ask myself if I’m helping to raise the bar for businesses in Park County and throughout Montana. I want to make the most of the tight budgets small businesses have so I can help enable growth. Their success is my success, really.”
Rachel’s commitment to community has also been valuable in her networking (and network creation) efforts as a new business owner. As she was getting started with Markouture, she participated in several Prospera Business Network events and workshops; and joined several non-profit boards. In 2014, she co-founded Livingston Women in Business to provide female business owners in her area more peer resources and professional development opportunities.
For Rachel, the definition of an entrepreneur closely aligns with thoughts about what makes Montana the best place to start a business and live a fulfilling life:
“Montana embodies the entrepreneurial spirit. People live here to live in balance, and that’s important to me. I can’t image doing this without the support of a local community - that’s the essence of what I’m trying to do.”