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Cloverdale Comments February 2013


Cloverdale Comments
February 2013

by Carol Russell

Sirius, the brightest of all stars, is also a “double star” meaning it orbits with an eternal companion so that the two seem as one. Its local namesake, a clever play on words called Sirius Mac Solutions, is Melanie and Jeff Bagby’s thriving home-based business here in Cloverdale.

But I’m getting ahead of this story of love and enterprise which begins when  two Pepperdine students met in London during their 1987-1988 “year abroad.” By 1991 they had graduated, married and entered the job market just in time for a recession. Nevertheless, after a brief period of taking whatever jobs they could get, the young couple was able to benefit from a dizzily optimistic economic recovery fueled by anything remotely related to computers and, especially from 1997 to 2000, the Internet. 


Then the Boom Went Bust      

During that heady era, Mel worked along side Jeff for three years at Sony Corp.® in a four-person IT department. This experience proved their marriage could happily survive working together day after day and things were going fine until a surprised colleague spotted them holding hands during a lunchtime stroll down the Embarcadero. They hastily explained that, yes, they were both married – to each other!

A tech slump and the burst of the Internet bubble made tough times of the first few years of the 2000s. However, the two-person team that would become Sirius Mac Solutions weathered them well, having worked hard and successfully over the years honing their education and talents into a set of  practical skills, including but not limited to: technical consulting, corporate departmental computer support, computer retail sales, marketing, customer service, communications and business operations/management. 

I’m also glad to report that in 2000 they astutely choose Cloverdale in which to buy their first home!  


Fast Forward to 2007     

Having learned well the cruel lessons of the 1990s and early 2000s, Mel and Jeff resolved that year to establish a specialized technical consulting service firm for Macintosh® and build a company that would not only be “professionally fulfilling” but also “adaptable to changing economics, technology, and work culture.” 

The result is that positive word-of-mouth has earned them loyal Sonoma, Mendocino, Marin and San Francisco clients which typically fit in one of three categories: Mac-based creative groups within a large organization’s Windows®-based infrastructure; small, Mac-only businesses that need their own secure, reliable and scalable infrastructures; and sole proprietors partnering with others on projects and in need of financially viable, secure email and collaboration tools. 

Even a tenaciously non-techie like me can’t help being impressed by the span of services Mel and Jeff make available through their sophisticated, nimble, ever-evolving small business. Purchasing, configuration and installation. Training. Security. Web development, marketing and branding. Hosting. Strategic partnering bringing clients innovative, cost-effective products and services such as mobile-friendly websites and social marketing. These two gifted, dedicated people stay ahead of it all and so do their clients. 


Mel & Jeff’s Insider Tips        

While both are well known and active in our community, she’s buoyant, outspoken and has been a Planning Commissioner since 2009 (voted Chair for 2012 and 2013) whereas he’s softspoken, contemplative and doesn’t necessarily step into the spotlight. Not only proving that opposites attract but also that, for couples going into a home-based or other business together, it’s a lot easier to divide responsibilities productively and harmoniously when there are offsetting, complimentary skills, interests and traits as well as mutual ones.                  

Before we leave them, I particularly want to pass on Mel’s and Jeff’s wise advice to anyone starting a business, home-based or not: Find a trusted legal advisor to set up the company structure to protect your personal assets. 

To learn more contact Sirius Mac Solutions, PO Box 909, Cloverdale 95425-0909; 707-894-2500;; 


With my thanks to Roz for helping conduct the interview for this column, and Reece for answering my plea for a proofreader!