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The last 3 years

by Drew Strojny on July 2, 2010 / 74 comments

When I started this journey into WordPress themes in September of 2008 I had no idea it would end up being a full-time gig. It is truly a dream come true. A pet project turned into a successful business I love working on each and every day. Before I talk more about the future lets

turn back the clock…

Blocking Mario Williams

It’s September of 2007. I am released from the St. Louis Rams after a short-lived professional football career (drafted in 2004 by the NY Giants). The writing is on the wall, football is over for me.

It was a great ride, I lived in four cities (New York, Philadelphia, Tampa, St. Louis) and bounced around to five different teams (Giants, Eagles, Bucs, Jets, and Rams). I also watched Super Bowl XXXIX from the sidelines and met some amazing friends along the way.

Contrary to popular belief, journeyman football players like myself don’t make millions of dollars, so I certainly wasn’t walking away with any significant savings. I should also mention it wasn’t easy to give up a game that had defined who I was for such a long time. I truly missed football, it felt like a piece of me was suddenly gone, and it still does feel that way from time to time.

Design was my hobby

During my football career technology and design were my hobbies. I even designed my first theme in 2006, it was called Mint Chocolate Chip. OK, you can stop laughing now. I did it under my full name, Andrew Strojny, to keep it separate from my football life. I also started using WordPress and even wrote a popular tutorial on converting HTML to WordPress. I followed all the well-known designers, guys like Dan Cederholm, Jeffrey Zeldman, and Jon Hicks were (and still are) my heroes.

What now?

Now, at the ripe old age of 26, it was time to venture out into “the real world”. It was a little scary, football can be isolating, and you tend to live your football life inside of a bubble.

To start, it was time to move somewhere new. We (my girlfriend, now wife) had been living in a bunch of random cities (not by choice) and decided that we were going to choose a place to live and figure out the job situation once we arrived. To make a long story short, we decided to move to Boise, ID, a small town out west with outdoor activities galore and awesome skiing just 30 minutes away.

Jestro is born

We arrived in Boise in mid-November of 2007 and started networking like crazy and hunting for jobs. I had my first job interview over the phone with a local technology company. After that interview I decided, right then and there, I wasn’t going to work for somebody else, hopefully ever. We decided to start our own business and filed the official paperwork. Jestro LLC was born. Why Jestro? My wife’s name is Jennifer and my last name is Strojny. Who needs branding? We’ll just combine our names! We started brainstorming for business ideas and came up with something I thought was going to be the next big thing.

Table top advertising

Idaho Business Review

The basic concept: Sell restaurant table space to local businesses in the form of a “table top” display. Give the restaurant a cut of the revenue along with one side of the table top and we take the rest. A win/win/win for everyone. We would even design and print the table top inserts for free! We would later realize the free design and printing was naive on our part, but we were doing whatever we could to close the sale.

We put together a business plan, we bought fancy clothes, we pounded pavement. Every day, rain, snow, or shine, we were out selling advertising. And you know what? The hard work paid off. We were cashing checks, signing up new advertisers, and best of all, we were profitable. We had no overhead and we wouldn’t buy the table top materials until after we made the sale.

No thanks, do you know anyone who does websites?

We kept hearing this question over and over during our pitch. After awhile we started saying, “You’re in luck, we do that too!”. Designing websites was my hobby but I was OK with getting paid to do it. I quickly whipped our website into shape and just like that we were a marketing and design company. We immediately started selling those services as well and now had two sources of revenue.

Everything was starting to click, but those first nine months was the most stressful time of my life (and I am not normally a stressed out type of guy). We were literally hustling to put food on the table and pay rent, and it wasn’t easy. I hardly slept, I was irritable, and worst of all I was constantly worried about failing or (even worse) getting stuck living at home with one of our parents.

WordPress

WordPress

Most of our small business clients needed a website they could manage themselves. After all, they certainly didn’t want to be paying us every time a change needed to be made. I had been using WordPress for our own site and I figured it would be easy enough to teach them how to use it too. It turned out to be a great move. WordPress was a hit with our clients and we started to pick up more referral business. By the summer of 2008 our web business was quietly overtaking table top advertising.

At this point the recession was hitting everyone hard and local businesses were slashing marketing budgets, which was obviously negatively impacting our advertising sales.

Vigilance

I started getting involved in the WordPress community and noticed there was a demand for themes. I honestly wasn’t too impressed with what was out there and I decided to design one myself. On September 12th, 2008 Vigilance 1.0 was released. Little did I know it was destined to be a huge hit and end up being the jumping off point for The Theme Foundry. It started out as a completely free theme, and people would ask me questions in the comments of the demo site. After only a few months we were getting 25 – 50 comments every time I would release a new version. I knew we were onto something.

Phasing out

Skiing
Skiing in Boise, Idaho.

By the time 2009 rolled around we had completely phased out table top advertising in favor of our web design business. Advertising budgets were drying up and pounding pavement and selling started to feel like a chore. We honestly weren’t very passionate about it anymore. It just didn’t feel right. The web design business was more fun and we had picked up some great clients along the way. Best of all we could work strange hours and go skiing in the middle of the week!

Selling Support

Vigilance was becoming very popular at the beginning of 2009 and the level of support requests I was receiving jumped dramatically. Vigilance was even featured on Mashable and later added to WordPress.com. I was spending a couple hours a day answering theme support questions on our site, and even more time updating and fixing bugs. Then the light bulb went off.

I am pretty sure people would be willing to pay for help and documentation. We are giving away a premium quality theme for free, it seems fair users should pay for support if they need it.

The next week I set up a membership site and on February 10th, 2009 we started selling lifetime “PRO memberships” for $39. Members would get access to a support forum, documentation, and customization tips. We even ran a 50% off special for the first 50 sign-ups (they sold like hotcakes). Before we knew it our “PRO memberships” were starting to become a significant part of our revenue stream (sound familiar?).

2009 was a blur

The rest of 2009 was a blur. We got engaged, bought a house, released two more themes, set up a dedicated sub-domain (aptly named “Jestro Themes”), and the web design business was absolutely rocking (halfway through the year we were already booked through December!). I was literally working day and night. My routine was: sleep, work, gym, work, food, work, sleep. I was investing a ton of energy and time into our themes and still had to make time for client work.

Passion trumps

By the end of 2009 our theme business was taking off and now matching the revenue of our web design business step for step. I slowly noticed my passion starting to dip on client work (I always wanted to work on our themes instead). It was (and still is) so surreal and humbling to have thousands of customers buying and using our stuff. Client work was still fun (sometimes), it just felt like a zero-sum game. I could only work so many hours, and the client always wanted more. Helping our customers and building a community around our themes was so much more fun.

The Theme Foundry

At the start of 2010 we decided to re-brand our themes project as The Theme Foundry and stop taking new client work. It was the best decision we ever made. Shortly thereafter we released Traction (our fourth theme) and re-structured our pricing. We were no longer going to sell all of our themes for one package price, instead we would sell PRO versions of our themes individually. Initially, I was worried it would hurt sales but it actually had the opposite effect. Our offering was now more clear and tangible to the customer and sales skyrocketed. We grandfathered in all of our existing “lifetime” members and made them VIP’s. VIP’s get all of our WordPress themes for free, forever. We made that promise to them when they first took a leap and signed up, and we weren’t going to break it.

To all our VIP’s: You helped get us where we are today and we can’t thank you enough!

The first half of 2010 flew by. Jennifer and I were a married in Costa Rica, we hired our first part-time employee (you’re the man Yan!), and I spoke at my first conference earlier this year.

Wedding Day
Wedding day in Costa Rica.

Full time

Back to the present. Today I am announcing we are officially going full time on The Theme Foundry and have closed down jestro.com for the foreseeable future. I am currently working hard on a new photography theme to be released later this month and one of my heroes I mentioned earlier, Jon Hicks, will be designing a new theme for us this summer! We also will most likely release at least two more themes by the end of this year.

To infinity and beyond!

We are officially “in to win it”, and now is a perfect time to talk about my vision for The Theme Foundry. We will stay laser focused on three simple core values:

  • Design of the highest possible quality.
  • Clean and lightweight code.
  • Making our customers happy and building a community.

Rest assured, quantity will never come before quality. We won’t promise you two themes a month. We will promise you each and every theme we release will be handcrafted with care and love, and will be of the absolute highest quality . We won’t promise you boatloads of new features or new fangled frameworks. We will promise to lend a friendly hand whenever you have questions or concerns.

Our Members = Awesome!

Thanks to each and every one of our members. You have made this whole ride possible, and we love you!

If you want to keep up with the latest news and happenings from The Theme Foundry be sure to subscribe to our feed, follow us on Twitter, or check out our Facebook page.

74 Comments

  1. Darren

    Great backstory, Drew. Glad to see things heating up over at The Theme Foundry!

  2. Aaron Young

    Awesome story on how things came about for you & the team Drew – Keep it up & have a Blessed 4th holiday!

    Aaron

  3. Simon Hamp

    Drew, this is fantastic news. I’m really happy for you guys. And congrats on the marriage too!

    It’s a wonderful story to hear how your business has evolved. I feel mine has done the same. I too want to get away from client work, but I think I am just a couple years away from that.

    Keep up the great work!

  4. Drew Strojny

    Aaron: Thanks! Hope you have a great holiday as well :)

    Simon: I really appreciate it. Keep on working hard!

  5. Ian Welsh

    Bought Vigilance support back in the day, used it twice, I think, but it was worth it. The Theme itself is very clean and almost exactly what I wanted: a high credibility look, doesn’t require a lot of technical knowledge on my end, and fairly easy to jigger.

    I’m glad it’s worked out well for the two of you as well. You made a good product, I’m glad you were succesful as a result.

  6. Thaddeus

    I love learning your story and it helps to see others making wine out of grapes… I would love to talk privately about what we are doing with our business as there are some synergies here… You never know where conversations could go. Feel free to contact me at your convenience.

  7. Tyler

    Awesome! Thanks for sharing your story. I hope mine turns out like that. =)

  8. Ryan

    Your theme has been great to work with! Thanks for all your help.

    Mahalo,

    Ryan

  9. Rob Thomas

    Drew,
    We really enjoy using your Traction theme on our JohnnyandChachi.com site. We aren’t using it to it’s capacity, but it’s very nice and clean. Good luck on the full time gig.

    Rob

  10. robert phillips

    Fascinating, and not exactly ordinary. Downright…upright, and inspirational too.

    %%robert

  11. Astiak

    A great read Drew. I am very glad I chose one of your themes over the other choices I had in front of me, I have had no issues, and support has been impeccable. You have both created an amazing customer focused company.

    Keep up the good work, I look forward to your future themes.

  12. Sean Breslin

    I wish you continued success and your plans for the future sound great… Investing in a Theme Foundry theme has turned into one of the better Internet buys I’ve made!

    Thanks and good luck… Sean.

  13. Kerri

    Congratulations Drew and Jennifer for making the Theme Foundry such a success! I look forward to your great work for years to come.

    Best wishes

  14. David

    A really wonderful story, Drew. Much more success to you, your wife and employee.

  15. Deirdre

    Congrats on the wedding – judging from the photo – the location looks incredible. A perfect place to start a life together!

    It was very interesting reading this history. I’m thrilled with the template and the help you (and forum members) have provided.

    All the Best~
    :-D eirdre

  16. Drew Strojny

    Thaddeus: Glad you liked the story!

    Tyler: I hope it does too!

    Ryan: You’re welcome! Glad you like the theme :)

    Rob: Thanks! The site looks awesome!

    Robert: Thanks, glad you enjoyed it :)

    Astiak: Thanks so much, it really means a ton to hear that from one of our customers.

    Sean: Glad you to hear you are happy with your theme investment!

    Kerri: Thanks for the support Kerri, we appreciate it!

    David: Thanks so much :)

    Deirdre: Thank you! It was a fantastic wedding location. Glad to hear you are happy with your theme and the support forums :)

  17. Malcolm Sleath

    It was a privilege to be ‘grandfathered’ and I am delighted to be associated with your business Drew.

    My experience of your company have been one of consistent courtesy, consideration and helpfulness.

    Only today I received some very positive feedback on my website from someone I thought to be an expert and feel that I will be able to achieve a great deal given the support I have experienced so far.

    Onward and upward – and thank you.

  18. Alex

    Hi Drew,

    It is inspiring to hear a story like yours! I am glad I signed up for Jestro themes…and thank you for grandfathering us into the new site. Wish you both and the team loads of success!

    Alex.

  19. Josh

    Wow.. What a life journey you both have had… How did you learn to design websites Drew? any recommendations on where to start learning it from ?

    Keep up the good work can’t wait for more of your great themes to be release soon. I love your work… (Traction Theme) I’m currently using it now….

    http://www.getexbacktips.org

  20. Terry Doherty

    Congratulations Drew! I am always awed by how easy you make WP work for us. Even as a neophyte, the sites ALWAYS look glamorous!

    Here’s to another three years – and beyond! Terry

  21. Steve

    I knew I was witnessing technical quality as well as a unique philosophical and creative approach when I first saw your theme. I do recall thinking something along the lines of . . “someone had to have been pounding the pavement at one time or another to become this good. LOL . . confirmed.

    Great story and may life be kind and generous to both of you.

    And thanks for your sincere dedication to helping us out also. It’s really is appreciated.

  22. Lori

    Enjoyed the story — makes me feel even better about choosing your company and the Paperpunch theme! It’s been a perfect fit so far!

    Lori

  23. Paul Coggins

    Hi Drew,

    Your story is inspirational and your professionalism and dedication really shows in the quality of your theme design and awesome support. I feel so lucky that I happened upon your Vigilance theme in mid 2009 just as I was looking for a solid, well thought out, SEO friendly theme for my new business. Your Vigilance theme helped make my business successful. That’s why I chose to become a PRO member from the start. Thanks again and wish you and your wife continued success.

    Paul.

  24. Doug Casady

    Congratulations Drew and Jennifer!
    I am very new to marketing online. I have been a Brick mason for 40 years, and due to a work related injury in June 2009 I discovered the world of working online. I too miss my trade and I know the feeling well of being in that “bubble” of a familiar career.
    I am now building blog sites for others and learning new things everyday. I purchased your Vigilance Theme, and I am so glad I did. I’m still learning my way around all of the goodies, but with your support in place I know I can learn it all!

    Thanks so much for sharing your story. Have a great holiday weekend.

    Doug Casady user name: 53owen

  25. PT

    Wonderful story, Drew. I can totally relate to the emptiness that comes from leaving football. Glad you were able to find a new passion and direction for your life. Thanks for sharing. Very inspiring.

  26. Drew Strojny

    Malcolm: Thanks so much for the feedback, we really appreciate it. And thanks for taking a chance with us when we were first starting out :)

    Alex: You’re welcome! Thanks for being one of our founding members.

    Josh: Thanks Josh! Completely self-taught. Like I said, it started as a hobby so it fun :)

    Terry: Thanks so much! We really appreciate it :)

    Steve: LOL. You were spot on ;) You’re welcome!

    Lori: Thanks Lori! Glad to hear you are enjoying Paperpunch.

    Paul: Wow! It is awesome to hear Vigilance has played a part in helping your business grow. Thanks for all of the kind words, we appreciate it :)

    Doug: Sorry to hear about your injury. It looks like you are taking the bull by the horns and learning something new. Congrats! We will definitely be there to help you along the way.

    PT: It definitely is a tough sport to leave as you know. The good news we can look at it as a great experience and use the lessons learned going forward. Glad you enjoyed the story.

  27. Vonn

    Thanks for sharing your story Drew. I’d like to give you some feedback in return:

    I have just registered my business name and am venturing into web design and promotions for small businesses on a full time basis after doing it part time for 3 years.

    Your story was inspring to me.

    I hesitated to pay for a PRO membership but seeing as it was life time membership I decided it was worth it, especially if I might use more of your templates to build more client sites. I also wanted to support your cause as I realise that helping others is a great business model. I am also pleased to have automatically been ‘grandfathered’, showing your integrety to your service.

    The Titan theme is really nice and was fairly easy to modify to suit my needs. Anything I had trouble with I took advantage of my membership instead of stressing out about it and simply posted the question in the forum and had it answered promptly. Solved. Too easy. In fact, most of my questions had already been asked previously by other members and a quick serach in the forums answered my question without having to make a post.

    The big lesson I take from your story is that you need jump in the deep end, take the risk, have confidence in your idea and it’s worth and you will succeed.

    Thanks again.

    V.

  28. Niall

    Thanks for sharing Drew – inspirational!!!

    I’m new to wp. While there are lots of great themes out there, when we went looking for one, yours stood head and shoulders above everyone elses. We purchased Traction and are very happy with it. I’m looking forward to the new themes. Keep up the good work!

  29. Shaun Lindbergh

    Congratulations Drew and Jennifer,

    That’s a truly inspiring story. Definitely worth telling. Passion comes up trumps every time!

    I am very happy for the both of you that you took the gap in your 20’s. I hesitated until past 50 and how many never make the leap.

    It says also something about the power of desperation; when all else fails only your passion will see you through. It took a major business reversal in 2008 to get me out of my comfort zone and following my passion.

    I am using your themes for quite a few of my websites now. Traction rocks! Looking forward to the next three years.

    All the best,

    Shaun

    P.S. It’s good to know I am a VIP :) Thanks.

  30. Craig

    Great story. I enjoyed reading it and learning about your background. I love the work you have done, and your fantastic themes. Outstanding. Keep it up. I wish you much success in the future.

  31. Mike Schleif

    Congratulations, Drew! I spend my days shoulder to shoulder with entrepreneurs, and I assure you you stand in good company. I’m a believer in your themes and look forward to great things to come. Keep it up. O, by-the-by, beautiful country you’re living in. I haven’t been there in years …

    Best Regards,

    helices

  32. Scott Dawson

    Drew,

    Its always great to buy products & services from people who are passionate about what they do, and publishing your story has confirmed what I could already see; great quality products.
    I searched for hours before I found a theme that worked, looked great and was affordable.

    Thanks so much.

    Scott

    PS – I’m excited to hear about the development of your photography theme. Please keep me informed.

  33. Keith Jenkins

    Hi Drew
    Congratulations with the Theme Foundry! You’re doing a brilliant job and I know I can always count on your excellent support. Your story is absolutely inspirational – thanks so much for sharing. My hat’s off to you!

    Look forward to meeting you next month.

    Cheers,
    Keith

  34. Jeff Navarro

    Wow, great story, and congratulations! I’m fortunate to be one of your “lifetime” members, and I’m really happy to have found and spent money on your awesome products! I, like many others, spent lots of time looking for a good theme and found it (along with great support) here. Thanks!

  35. Tim Gonzo Gordon

    Love your story – I use your themes for two sites and think they work beautifully. Great for you to share your stories as it really helps humanize a company.

  36. Drew Strojny

    Vonn: Wow! Thanks for sharing some of your story, it sounds like you are on the right track. Keep up the hard work.

    Niall: You’re welcome! Glad you are enjoying Traction so far :)

    Shaun: Right on! Awesome that you finally made the leap. Thanks for being a VIP member and giving us a chance when we were starting out.

    Craig: Thanks! We appreciate the positive feedback :)

    Mike: Thanks for the support!

    Scott: Thanks for giving us a try! It’s awesome to have you as a member :) We will definitely send out an email update to all our members when the new photography theme is released, so stay tuned.

    Keith: Thanks for the support, I appreciate it! Looking forward to meeting you as well :)

    Jeff: Thanks! It’s awesome to hear you have been happy with our products and support.

    Tim: Glad you enjoyed our story and are happy with our themes. Thanks for the support!

  37. David J. Eisenlord

    What a great story, thank’s for sharing, I used your Titan theme for my photography site.
    Wish you a great future with your new focus.
    Dave

  38. Kristy Ewing

    Drew, thank you for sharing your story. Very interesting journey you’ve had so far, and I expect it will continue to be a good one for you and your bride. It’s obvious that you are dedicated to your business. The tech support you provide is top notch, your designs are wonderful, and your upbeat attitude is unrivaled. Best wishes to you on all fronts.

  39. Mosey

    I really enjoyed your story, thank you.

    As someone who has used Vigilance (free) to build a website for a small sports club as a hobby, I have found it one of the easiest themes to use and customise, so much so I don’t actually want to change the theme much at all.

    Have still got the return link going to Jestro… which seems to redirect to the Theme Foundry.

  40. Mariano Sabas

    Great story. It’s really something else to read about how someone can really create something so great out of somthing so small. This is really inspiring. I hope to read more on the site and it’s future and I will look forward to the upcoming photography theme.

  41. Bryan

    Drew,

    Awesome story, and I am glad you are sticking with the Theme Foundry! I have been using Titan Pro on my blog for close to a year, and the support, and updates have been outstanding!

    Keep up the great work, and although I may have whined now and then on the help forums, you still have a customer for life.

    Be well my friend,

    Bryan J Zimmerman
    http://www.ldaofr.com

  42. Lance Willett

    Thanks for sharing your story, Drew. It’s essential to combine what you love with what you are working on day in and day out. I’m glad you two found that balance.

    I can’t wait to see what you have coming down the line. Here’s to a bright future!

  43. Barbara Haines

    Very cool learning about the story behind one of our favorite themes, Titan. Take a look at where we went with it at metalifestream.com

    Talk about communication tools changing your life…you and Jennifer have really experienced it! Congratulations.

    Thank you for sharing.

  44. Chad Keck

    Thanks for sharing your success story, I love getting to know more about the people I do business with. I’m glad things worked out as your themes have made a big impact on my work – thanks!

  45. Brandon Dove

    Boy am I glad I met you before you got “Internet famous”! Heh. Keep up the good work dude. Your themes are beautiful and functional. I always show them to my clients for examples of what can be done to make WordPress “not just a blog”. I’m looking forward to seeing what you and Jennifer come up with in the future.

  46. Craig

    That’s an amazing story. I tried playing football myself (from west texas) and yeah ended up falling in love with the arts etc. As well I almost tried being self-employed myself but was just too afraid of making the jump and went to work designing ads/copy/webstuff for a newspaper.

    You should know drew that because of your work and amazing help on this site I’ve been able to grow myself as a designer. Thanks you so much. I really hope you continue to be successful.

  47. Jaki Levy

    Drew – this is an awesome story! I’m a football fan AND a wordpress fan, but most of all admire the entrepreneurship you both have. It’s very inspiring! Keep up the great work – your business is providing great stuff to lots of people (like me) who are supporting other people (clients)!

  48. Gregory Paul Johnson

    Drew,
    Thanks for sharing this story. Like many people with busy schedules, I need to be selective in what I read, but this story kept my interest all the way through. You should consider writing a book. I didn’t realize it, but back in 2008, just when I was really in need of a quality theme with support, you had just released Vigilance. I really liked your business model. It was new to me, the idea of having the theme for free, but paid support. Yet, I really knew it would be worth it. I’m really glad I signed up. The support is really what is of value, almost more than the theme. I’ll do what I can to keep promoting your business. In case you don’t realize it, you are an inspiration in this industry, offering an accessional model for website design, as well as a model for how businesses should be run.

  49. Erik Shultz

    Drew,

    Great story. Side note: You don’t look 6-7 in your gravitar :)

    Looking forward to great things from you and your team! Keep up the great work.

  50. Charley Hays

    As I have said in the forums many times, you are the man Drew! I am honored to be a PRO member when you started the program.

    Thanks for sharing your inspiring story.

    I am starting to do some freelance design work and your themes will always be in my toolbox and this story gives me hope.

    Thanks again for all of your hard work and tremendous support, and most importantly, congratulations on your wedding!

    Blessings to you Drew and Jennifer!

  51. Constantine

    Wonderful story!
    Am just from Boston Globe website, read a sad story of Ray Williams, a former NBA pro who now lives in a car. I wondered why the guy fell so hard? After reading your story I found the answer. Determination + Self Reliance.
    I wish you all the best in business & marriage

  52. Mark Smith

    Drew,

    Thank you for sharing your inspiring story. Until later in life I never appreciated the sheer amount of discipline and hard work it takes to make it into pro football, and I know this is the reason why you and Jennifer were able to persevere through the start-up phase and why The Theme Foundry is where it is today. I encourage you to contact Brett McKay at the Art of Manliness blog (www.artofmanliness.com). Your story would be great for his “So You Want My Job” series of articles.

    Also, I love Vigilance and need to tell you that by studying your code and following your tips in the support forums (thank you for the grandfathering in, by the way), I’ve been able to learn PHP and CSS far, far faster than with from a reference guide. My first Vigilance site is up and running (www.ladiesfitnessdewitt.com) and I’m looking forward to your new theme for a buddy of mine who is a pro photographer.

  53. Margaret Ryan

    Hi Drew,

    fascinating story you tell. I have just one comment: I could not work with your support system – it was over my head. I was wishing you guys had someone who could explain in plain English the steps to changing themes on a WordPress site. The current theme is not Theme Foundry, but I was hoping to adopt one of your themes, possibly. Found it impossible to do, even with your support.

    If you are reallly hoping to build community, you need to reach out to us computer iliterates who have a little savvy, but not enough. Thanks for listening.

  54. rg21

    Never knew I was part of such a cool story. Love Themes by Jestro, now The Theme Foundry!

  55. Jani Bryson

    I’m new to blogging and themes, and never read random emails from suppliers. I started reading yours and couldn’t stop. It makes me want to know even more about you! I’m glad for your success. Congratulations! Looking forward to your new photography theme.

  56. Justin

    Nice post Drew. It’s good to hear your story and I’m glad to be a VIP.

    Thanks for grandfathering us old timers ;-)

  57. Keith Riley

    Drew, you are an inspiring story..

    I also was sidelined from my normal career of plant equipment/trucks/building industry by a freak accident.. I studied at Uni (AUS) online (Internet Comms with a major in Design) whilst caring for my father (Alzhiemer’s, and more) he has now passed..

    but I was drawn to your themes and am a Pro member.. after reading your story, I now see the connection I wasn’t until now aware of..

    I wish you continued success, and best of luck.. Keith.

  58. Drew Strojny

    Dave: You’re welcome. Glad you are enjoying Titan :)

    Kristy: Thanks so much Kristy! We really appreciate the kind words.

    Jake: Thanks!

    Mosey: Thanks! Glad to hear Vigilance was easy to use and customize. Thanks for keeping the link :)

    Mariano: Thanks! We should have the new photography theme ready this month.

    Bryan: Thanks! Don’t worry about it, we all get frustrated from time to time :) I appreciate the kind words and are glad to hear you have been happy with the support.

    Lance: I appreciate it. Stay tuned :)

    Barbara: Site looks awesome, nice work! Glad you enjoyed the story :)

    Chad: You’re welcome, glad you enjoyed the story. It is great to hear our themes have had an impact on your work, thanks for sharing.

    Brandon: WordCamp SF 2009! Thanks for always helping us out with development. Without you, we wouldn’t be where we are today :)

    Craig: Wow! Thanks for sharing some of your story, I appreciate it.

    Jaki: Thanks! Really appreciate the kind words.

    Gregory: Glad you enjoyed the story. Not sure about a book, maybe someday :) Thanks so much for all of the support, I really appreciate it. So glad to hear Vigilance was able to help you out when you needed it.

    Erik: It’s tough to convey height through a Gravatar :) I appreciate the support!

    Charley: Thanks so much! It is awesome to have you as a VIP founding member :) I wish you the best on your freelance design work.

    Constantine: That is a sad story. Thanks so much for you support, I appreciate it.

    Mark: Glad you enjoyed the story. Thanks for the link, I will get in touch with Brett McKay and see what he thinks :) It’s great to hear you have been learning PHP and CSS through Vigilance, thanks for sharing!

    Margaret: Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate. I would encourage you to drop us another line in the support forums and we will do our best to walk you through any issues or concerns you have. I know sometimes the forums can be a bit overwhelming, but I promise you we will do our best to help you out :)

    rg21: Thanks!

    Jani: Thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed reading the story :)

    Justin: No problem, thanks for giving us a chance when we were starting out!

    Keith: Thanks for sharing your story. Sorry to hear about your accident and your father. Great to hear our story was inspiring to you.

  59. Aaron Klein

    I’ve been a big fan since you started! I used Titan when I first relaunched my site as a blog in 2009, and just switched to Traction a few months ago to create a fresher look for readers. Your company has always been great to work with and we look forward to seeing more!

  60. Daniel

    God bless you guys, this is a … you guessed it .. a GREAT STORY!!! Really great, and it’s backed by your really beautiful design work.

  61. Radek

    I just wanted to say big thank you! I have still a few small issues to solve but otherwise, the Photography template is amazing!

    I need to have a professional photo portfolio, detached from my flickr account, and trust me if I say that I have spent weeks (weeks!) looking for the WordPress theme that would satisfy me. And I am one of those, very picky and grumpy ones … you know. Middle age .. :)

    And then I saw a friend of mine’s tweet about Theme Foundry’s new template, and I loved it! And I have bought it right away and even though I have always been so much behind with WordPress (shame), I managed to figure out everything within a few hours. Amazing! :)

    Soon it will all be ready.

    It’s great! Thank you all!

  62. Phil

    Drew,
    It was great reading your success story since I live here in St. Louis and am a life long fan of STL Rams win or loose. GO Rams. Perhaps you could come up with of a sports theme. Much success to the rest of 2010 and beyond.

  63. Travis Whitmore

    Finally had a chance to read your story Drew -so awesome bro! I’m certainly glad I stumbled upon your products and am even more inspired because of your story. Keep up the great work!

  64. Drew Strojny

    Aaron: Thanks! Glad you have enjoyed working with us!

    Joachim: You’re welcome!

    Daniel: Thanks! Really appreciate the positive feedback :)

    Radek: That’s awesome! Glad to hear you were able to get up and running so fast, nice work!

    Phil: Thanks Phil! Good idea for a sports theme :)

    Travis: Thanks man! Really appreciate it!

  65. jeff

    Love Titan 1.25 and have a feeling I’ll be going pro before too long. I also enjoyed reading the back story and watching the video on Traction. That seems like a sweet theme too.

    Good for you and congratulations on your marriage.

  66. Krishna

    Hey Drew,

    Great story and might I say quite inspiring. Football to theme designing — must have been quite a journey. Your themes really rock and I use Vigilance on my blog which I consider to be really really great !! Hope to see a few more awesome designs from the Theme Foundry!

    All the best !

  67. Pen Hunt

    Your story really touched me! I can totally empathise with your journey. Being a ‘tiny team’ like yours means we are pulled and stretched in so many different directions. Wish I had taken the WordPress route years ago, but at the time I thought updating client sites would be guarantee of a regular income. But times change and now more and more clients expect to be able to update their websites themselves and even with the recession we have had to turn more and more work away.

    Thanks for sharing your fascinating journey… and by the way I simply love your designs!

  68. Melynda

    Dear Drew & Wife,

    This post has resulted in a conversion for you today. Why?

    One reason (but certainly not the most important) is that you know how to use English grammar correctly. Seriously! I’m an ex-English teacher (and a novelist and a graphic designer, a mama and lots of other things), and I don’t just notice errors; no, they reach out, grab me by the throat, and shake me. :-D I can’t miss ’em even if I wish to. There’s not a single error on this page–a rarity.

    The second reason is that you’re obviously very bright. (And persistent. And multi-dimensional. And focused. And creative.) Unpretentious about it, too, which makes the intellect thing even better.

    The most important reason is that you’re clearly a good person. The integrity you show by having honored your commitment to your original members is laudable. You also give credit where it’s due. Good for you! I’d put up with any number of pesky grammar errors for this reason alone. The rest are icing on the cake.

    And finally…well…your themes are just plain freaking gorgeous! Beautiful design. Technically elegant. I’m really impressed (and so, SO glad I don’t have to do the work myself! ;-) ).

    What more can I say? I’m hooked by this little bio of yours. I was vacillating between several themes–but I’ll buy yours because of who you are. I’m glad to support The Theme Foundry; it’s a company owned by good people.

    Ooo…and Boise looks lovely in that mountain pic. I’m sighing with longing. I live in sprawling Orlando, which has gotten to be “LA Lite.” My husband and I will be moving to the Pac Northwest in a little under 5 years, and Boise is definitely on our shortlist! Enjoy!

    Yours,
    –Melynda

  69. Drew Strojny

    Aaron: Thanks! Glad you have enjoyed working with us!

    Jeff: Thanks! Glad you’re enjoying Titan :)

    Krishna: Thanks Krishna! Appreciate the support :)

    Boomboom: Thanks!

    Pen: WordPress certainly has revolutionized the way clients update sites. Really glad you enjoyed the story and thanks for the compliments on our designs :)

    Melynda:

    Wow! Thanks so much for the kind words!

    I am thrilled the post successfully passed by your scrutinizing eyes. My high school English teacher would be proud :-)

    Jennifer and I are familiar with Orlando and can guarantee you’ll appreciate the Pacific Northwest. Say goodbye to humidity!

    Last but not least, thanks for becoming a customer. It means the world to us and as a small business we really do appreciate it.

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