Tony Magestro of Roc Feather Media helps small businesses, students, and freelancers succeed—and he does so in a variety of different ways. But at the backbone of every strategy he personalizes for each client is his unique perspective, a knack for showing folks how to get past their particular obstacles, and a passion for empowering them as they move forward.
Tony was raised in a small suburb of Milwaukee. He worked his way through school, earned a degree in German History, and then decided it was time to make a move. In 2015, he literally flipped a coin to decide whether he would go to the East or West Coast. He took to the internet to find a place to live and, without doing any research, found himself in Lynden. “I wanted to see if I could survive and thrive in a place I didn’t know anything about,” he says.
He’s happy he landed here in Whatcom County. “I love the mountains and I love Whatcom Falls Park. Whenever I need to clear my head, I walk through the woods and sit by the falls,” he says.
Once he’d settled into the area—eventually relocating to Bellingham—he decided to use his unique skill set to help improve local businesses of all sizes. In May of 2018, Tony launched Roc Feather Media.
His skill set is both practical and an integral part of his personality. “I’ve always been the friend that people come to with their problems,” he says. One early example involved a friend who needed help with a resume. As he read it, Tony saw that his friend had inflated and even invented a lot of his work experience. He crafted a second resume that stuck to the truth but used terms and catchphrases employers tend to respond to. His friend was happily surprised that someone had made him look so good.
Tony understood why his friend wrote such an overblown resume. “It can be really hard to talk about oneself, and I’m more than happy to do that for people,” he says.
To do this, he draws from his background in German philosophy and sociology, seeing that each of us has a personality that springs from the way we see the world, and a unique character that’s related to how the world sees us, and how we affect others. With this in mind, Tony calculates a person’s assets and figures out how they best meet other people’s needs. He likens his approach to being a diplomat, observing and practicing the customs of others. “You have to look at the people you’re talking to and try to see through their lens.”
This empathy is at the heart of Roc Feather’s mission. Tony starts by interviewing his client, identifying their goals, and taking stock of their resources. The client could be an entrepreneur in a home office or the owner of a brick-and-mortar retail store; an individual craftsperson or an entire tech company.
He then creates an independent and objective image of their current situation, puts together a picture of what their idea of success looks like, and makes a bridge between those two worlds. Tony can work with clients in a variety of positions, from writer to web designer. If those roles are already filled in-house, he can move up the line and serve as an editor or project manager.
Other Roc Feather specialties include search engine optimization (SEO) and data analysis. SEO sounds deceptively simple: you want your business to be the first to appear when someone searches the internet. But it’s an art form all its own. And while it can create a boost for a company, it takes follow-up to hold onto gains. The same holds true for data analysis.
Tony has set up his service differently than most. While many consulting groups provide a client with a stack of charts and graphs and leave them to analyze it all on their own, he explains what he’s discovered, and sticks around to help his client find their way forward with actionable plans in plain English. “A lot of it is about simplification,” Tony says. “I want the client to understand.”
The empathy he values grew from his upbringing. “I’m gay, and growing up in the Midwest, that was a big ‘no,’” he says. His grandmother was one of his biggest supporters, and it hit him hard when she passed away. He went from being an A and B student to failing classes, and decided to take time off from college. He wound up in a dead-end job, and soon found himself at rock bottom. He started a journal to see if he could make sense of his life.
“Besides venting, I thought that over time I might find a pattern that showed life would get better,” Tony says.
The journaling paid off. He showed bits and pieces to friends, and they asked to read more. He eventually reformatted the journal as a book and, in 2019, Carbon Copy peaked at number 27 on Amazon’s LGBT biography and autobiography chart. “I was just five places away from Freddie Mercury!” he says, referring to a book about the legendary Queen front man. Admittedly, he was surprised to find how universal these feelings of loneliness and aimlessness were, regardless of generation or background.
Both the book and Roc Feather Media share a similar purpose. “Bellingham has such a rich ecosystem to support artists and businesses,” he says. “You just need someone out there to recognize you and the value you create.”
Roc Feather Media is there to help you recognize your own value—and to make sure you’re moving in the right direction.