Hello, friends! Wanted to pop in and share something really exciting — Lisa and I have officially launched our new WordPress themes shop, <em>press themes! Yay! You can check it out here:
If you’re new to the whole WordPress thing, essentially, the services I offer through my own studio are for custom websites. Someone comes to me, they need a complete website overhaul, and we take them through a multi-month process that helps them build a new brand identity, design marketing collateral, and create a website that is completely custom and specific to their needs, tech know-how, audience, and business. It’s fun! But it’s also for a very specific kind of client.
How did the shop come to fruition? Well, over the years, I’ve had so many requests for assistance with small features, or little code tweaks on someone’s existing site. We can’t take on these types of a la carte projects for a number of reasons, but it’s been obvious from the get-go that there is a huge pool of people who don’t need or want to invest in a custom design. However, these same potential clients can recognize design elements they love, and which aren’t always available to them via other pre-made themes. I’ve also had people email me and ask if they could buy custom themes I’d created for other clients. It’s not that they don’t respect the work — actually, many people use a pre-made theme of some kind, whether on WordPress or another platform, so purchasing a theme for quick implementation feels natural to them (for the record, no, I don’t sell custom clients’ themes to anyone!).
On a personal note, I’ve been wanting something to change within my studio work for a while. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE doing custom work, getting to know new clients, and dreaming up something new. But between those projects, managing the studio’s Code Concierge retainer services program, working with a few e-comm businesses on their monthly marketing needs, blogging, and then managing all aspects of a small business…life has gotten prettttty full. The studio turns 6 in January, and as I looked to the future, I knew I needed to change something so that I could create more space in my life. Space for my own personal projects, space to maybe start a family, space to just be more present with myself and with my husband. So I’d been thinking about ways I could create new lines of revenue without the volume of work required from taking on extra custom builds. With so many requests for help, and the ability to automate many parts of a theme shop business, last year Lisa and I agreed it was a logical step.
Yes, last year.
Actually, we’ve been talking about this theme shop for years, but late last fall, finally decided we’d do it. It took us a year, because a) that’s how long it took us to create space in our businesses to get things done and b) because any time you launch something like this, it takes twice as long to finish as you anticipate (at minimum)!
In any case, I’m really, really proud of the product we’ve created.
Designed with Bloggers in Mind.
I designed the themes keeping in mind all the bloggers I’ve heard from over the years. After all, with 6 years of proposal requests to reflect back on, you tend to remember the types of things people ask about, so I’ve incorporated these where I could. One thing we learned from bloggers who use pre-made themes is that customizing them can often be labor intensive. If the theme provides font and color customization options, many people weren’t sure about how to integrate unique fonts, or how to pick color palettes that would look great on the web. So, we built a proprietary set of plugins that allows our customers to apply unique styles, but all have been designed and tweaked by me. To our knowledge, it is the first WordPress theme shop that provides customers with a visual font customizer, allowing our users to “one-click” apply fonts to pre-determined places site wide. Basically, I took the exact methods I use when building out a font system for my custom clients, and Lisa and I turned it into an app for our themes. I’m really proud of it! (I can’t take all the credit of course…Lisa’s code wizardry never ceases to amaze me). Check out how the Font Customizer and our Color Pack plugins work here, here, and here.
We’re building a community!
If you’ve been around these parts long enough, you might remember my old e-book business, The B Bar. One thing I really loved about that business was the community it created. That hadn’t even been in our game plan going into it, but it ended up being my fave aspect. So when building our theme shop, I wanted to incorporate this as well! <em>press has a blog that will go live very soon, and we’ve also built out a big Help Desk that features articles not just on our products, but also on blogging generally. I’ve always believed in sharing resources whenever you can, to empower people and pay it forward! Our customers also get access to a private Facebook group in which we’ll be chatting about the themes, talking about blogging, and hopefully building a community.
So, if you’ve been wondering where I’ve been…well, now you know! To be perfectly honest, I had only designed two of the themes when the calendar hit September. So we basically designed the entire <em>press site, coded all this shit for it and the products, and developed all the content in two months. I know, we cray. We also don’t know how to stop until everything is perfect (or at least as close to it as we can get with only 24 hours in a day, ha!). What can I say? I don’t know how else to do it! ;)
If I can end on another personal note that I think can apply to anyone, I want to remind all of you that it’s normal to think about what you want in the future, and it’s normal to put wheels in motion to get there. But I’d also remind you that it’s okay if the wheels are going at about 1MPH. Remember that any step forward, no matter how small, is getting you to where you need to be. Look at me: no joke, we started talking about building a theme shop when I lived in New York. I knew it would happen some day, and I knew it would be obvious when it was time to devote resources and energy towards it. For a long time, we would talk about talking about it. Then, it became abundantly clear when we were ready to get serious. So I guess what I’m saying is, hold on to your goals, and even if right now isn’t the perfect time to execute them, that’s ok. Keeping them in mind can still be putting you in motion towards them. The key is to stay alert and keep your eyes open for when the universe is telling you it’s time.
Cheers to wherever your journey is taking you.
PS – After re-reading this, I realized it might seem like I’m no longer taking on custom work. I still am! You can get in touch for any custom projects here.
PPS – If you or anyone you know needs a WordPress blog theme, well, check us out! We’re also offering 15% off your entire purchase through 10/31 with code HOORAY.