Class of 2021 NWA Business Journal Forty Under Forty Honoree.
Allisha Watkins went to college to become a physical therapist. She realized quickly, though, that the thing she loved most was understanding human behavior. That curiosity has served her well in a multifaceted shopper marketing career in various agency and CPG roles.
The oldest of three daughters raised by military parents, Watkins settled in Northwest Arkansas in elementary school. She graduated from John Brown University in 2008 with a business degree.
Her first marketing role was with Marketing Drive, supporting the Procter & Gamble and Kellogg’s business. Working for market research firm C Space, she developed and managed a multimillion-dollar global proprietary research platform for Walmart Inc.
Starting in 2012, Watkins spent over five years at Mars Wrigley, developing and leading shopper marketing teams for Walmart and Sam’s Club.
In April 2019, she co-founded the retail marketing agency Paradox with Amanda Whittaker. Watkins describes the business as their take on the traditional agency model. The agency works with over a dozen small- to medium-sized companies to grow their brands at retail.
“Agencies of the future must respond to the growing demands of clients for more transparency and efficiency but most importantly, effectiveness,” she said.
So far, Watkins’ take has been impressive. In 2020, the pandemic year, Paradox doubled the business. The agency eclipsed seven figures in the first quarter this year, opened a physical office in Rogers and expects to reach 10 employees by the end of the year.
She said the company goal is to reach $20 million in revenue by 2030. Away from work, Watkins is a committee lead for Network of Executive Women and a mentor for the University of Arkansas’ Future Women Business Leaders.