Carpe Diem – Alumni Spotlight on Zack Tatum and Jason Marlowe
“We should just go into business together.”
This was a running joke between two college friends that frequently helped each other with freelance projects.
Until it became a reality.
Emmanuel alumni Zack Tatum (’09) and Jason Marlowe (’07) clearly remember signing the legal paperwork to form their business, “Market House” at Starbucks, where the words “Carpe Diem” were written on the table.
As they look back on that moment, after being in business together for ten years, two in a full-time capacity, they know it was meant to be.
Market House is a marketing agency specializing in website development, branding, and SEO.
“Typically, companies need a web presence and a good foundation,” Jason said. “That’s where we shine, and what we’ve done primarily during the years – design, branding, and website
development, with marketing as an add-on after we launch the brand.”
Although both Jason and Zack were unsure of what they wanted to pursue when they arrived at Emmanuel, they both gravitated toward design and chose Multimedia Communication, now Digital Media Production as their focus.
However, the friendship formed in Wellons Hall didn’t include talks of working together postgrad.
“I freelanced after graduating in 2009 and did pretty well,” Zack said. “I remember asking Jason for help with a few clients so we’d trade things back and forth freelancing until I joked that we should go into business together.”
For eight years, Market House was their side-hustle.
“It allowed us extra money so our wives didn’t have to go back to work after we started our families because we had a second income coming in, but we were exhausted,” Jason remembered. “We’d work our 9-5 and then work our 5-9, sometimes until 2-3 in the morning.”
In the height of COVID in October 2020, Jason’s apparel company, DoodleToots, began to take off. He decided it was time to take the leap and go into Market House full-time.
“I had thought about it and talked it over with my wife and thought it was time to jump,” he said. “I thought, if I don’t jump now, I don’t think I ever will. It will always be a side-business and something in the back of my head, and I didn’t want to live with that regret.”
Zack followed shortly after.
The duo has been fortunate to work with clients from all over the world.
“That’s my favorite part,” Zack said. ““We’ve been lucky to do work in Puerto Rico, Africa, London, etc. We have the ability to look at a map and say we’ve done work here, here and here.”
How did their time at Emmanuel prepare them for success?
“It helped me build connections,” Jason said. “We now work with other alums and organizations connected to the college. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and when I got to Emmanuel, the transition from high school to college was easy.”
What advice would they give students looking to break into a creative field?
“What you do outside the classroom matters more than what you’re doing inside the classroom,” Zack said. “I remember wanting to go into sound engineering when I was in school. I did some work in the field as a student and quickly realized it wasn’t what I wanted to do.”
For Jason, his advice was simple. Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you, create them.
“Don’t wait to get into a class to learn a skill, find a free opportunity to learn about it online,” he said. “Learn what you’re interested in now so when you take the class you can learn the proper processes but have a nice foundation. Better yourself by taking every opportunity to learn. College is an opportunity for growth, so utilize it.”
Carpe Diem. These were the words written on the table at Starbucks where Zack and Jason signed the paperwork to start Market House. Neither of them thought they would be entrepreneurs, but what started off as a joke between friends has turned into their reality. It was truly meant to be.
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