A unique new space for marketing and leadership training opened in Ellicott City this spring.
In May, Rebel Haiku opened the 3,600-square-foot “training dojo” on Oella Avenue in Old Ellicott City. CEO Jon Barnes said it will allow the company to offer in-person trainings for professionals in marketing and strategy, as well as leadership. The company also provides creative consulting.
Barnes has more than 15 years of experience in creative communications. But his career path didn’t start there.
“After originally going to school for automotive design I switched paths and got my undergraduate degree in Bible and Theology and then worked in youth ministry,” he said. He then went to leadership at a pair of creative agencies, with stint in legal and regulatory marketing in between.
Another creative outlet is his YouTube channel, which brings together cars, art and filmmaking, and has seven million views.
“The common threads between all these career paths has been creative communication with an eye toward process and those are the building blocks at the heart of the Rebel Haiku model – whether we’re doing creative and strategy or teaching people how to do it themselves in our classes,” he said.
Upon starting Rebel Haiku, the space wasn’t in the original plans.
“I originally set out to not have a space at all. No place, no overhead,” he said. “Yet after exploring the idea and expanding our offerings to actually provide in-person trainings instead of just creative services, it all came together.”
His wife found the 100-year-old space, and they soon moved in. Now, he said, “our goal has shifted from staying small with no space to going big with a huge space. We’re long-time Maryland residents and live, work and play in Ellicott City and love it here. The location is a win/win.”
Mixing indoor and outdoor space, this building is equipped with a creative studio, lounge, cafe and conference space. Plus, there’s a “war room” where attendees test out what they learned. Visitors are also likely to notice the giant inflatable moon.
“You simply can’t run a creative and strategy shop without a bunch of weird stuff in your office!” Barnes said. “Our collection of oddly inspirational things continues to grow so now not only includes a giant inflatable moon but also a traffic light, card catalog, vintage LIFE magazines, zebra bike and more.”
There’s also a full video studio for training on video workflow and filming for social media, DSLR gear, smartphone filming on the cheaper and more.
So what makes it a training dojo? Barnes said the chance to do in-person trainings offers an opportunity for a hands-on approach with tech tools, gear and more.
“It’s like a martial arts studio except that instead of learning how to throw someone across a room you’re learning how to create and execute hardcore marketing strategy,” Barnes said. Bringing together people, knowledge and the chance to practice what was learned: “That’s a dojo,” he said.-30-
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