Caring is the new marketing

The way we talk says something about the way we think. The way we act reveals our core beliefs. We care for people more than we care for money, and that’s why we decided to give up any exclusivity agreements and bring all of our products in one place.

We’ve always treated our customers as partners. We don’t feel it is true-to-ourselves to act as simply providers, but as long terms collaborators. We believe there’s much more value in developing meaningful relationships than it is in transactional actions.

There are plenty of ways in which we manifest “care” towards our customers, as this is one of our core values at Pixelgrade.


One approach we embraced from the early days is linked to our stubbornness to create solutions for specific niches. Our products are tailored to a particular set of needs, starting from bloggers who use writing to express their vision of the world, to visual creatives who want to showcase their portfolio in style, up to small business owners who are eager to have both a healthy business and an impact within their local community.

Nevertheless, we don’t want to sell a “one size fits all” product that supports all kinds of scenarios but doesn’t really cover any specific requests or pains. And yes, we don’t want to charge more for integrations that you don’t currently need because it does not make any sense for any of us — do you actually want a forum on your blog?

Therefore, we organize all of our themes around a unique visual concept that cannot be replicated among them. Think of an integrated system of multiple layers of services that cover your diverse needs at a specific time of your evolution.

Imagine your career for instance: what you need in your twenties, being single, and right out of college changes quite a lot when you hit the moment when you have kids at home and two jobs to cover the expenses.  

Let me walk you through why caring stays at the forefront of everything we do at Pixelgrade. Ready to know us better?


Creating a layer-by-level experience

We’ve been talking with dozens of our customers and realized that they need to level up their digital game by crafting an online store. Of course, they could have made it happen without our help since there are free and easy-to-use solutions like WooCommerce, but the blunt truth is that they don’t gracefully integrate by-default with your site. So we went the extra mile (again).

As “striving to achieve excellence” is another value we live by at Pixelgrade, we developed an add-on that adapts the visual style of the online store to fit the theme’s look-and-feel flawlessly. This way, people can get this add-on when and only if they really need it. Moreover, we don’t clutter the theme with every possible integration out there and sell something customers don’t plan to use.

↬ I know that this article may already sound like too much self-promo but bear with me because it is not about that. In the end, it is more about how we convey our values and put care at the core of our activity.


Going the extra mile for the right people

Our mission at Pixelgrade is to support people who want to have an impact within their communities, and more than a year ago, we made an ambitious plan to reach a wider audience.

We invested a lot of resources in creating a convenient solution for people who want to start a website and don’t have the necessary technical skills (think Squarespace). We partnered with a top-notch hosting provider (Flywheel), created a simple onboarding process, gave access to all of our themes and tools and provided hands-on support and assistance along the way. We covered them all to give our customers the best chances to stand out.

But it was not enough to make it work. Most of the customers we attracted were not aligned with our mission and didn’t have enough drive and energy to make a strong commitment.

So we took a step back, looked at the evidence with pragmatism and clarity, and realized that we should focus our energy towards improving our current products. All while trying to find ways to better serve our customers, rather than expand our horizons, in the hopes of attracting more and more people.

It’s no surprise that this is the only alternative to offer better experiences. We simply cannot achieve this level of human-touch we are so in love with if we keep directing our attention to creating new products to fit all types of customers.

We switched our attention back to our own shop and due to consistent marketing efforts, we succeeded to double our customers in less than a year. But we felt that, yet again, we were missing something important. It just did not feel quite right.


The need for more design options

At that moment in time, we had a portfolio of fewer than ten themes in our own shop and most of them were targeted to bloggers. While that served them well, it was not enough for their future plans and we wanted to create a gateway to accommodate their long term vision.

From our experience, we were confident that a blogger may want to expand its reach from a certain point by starting a side-project. That meant he would need a different type of website design because the goals wanted to accomplish became different and more challenging.

We noticed that those people already love their experience with our products but somehow chose to put us on hold when they needed to switch up their website to another niche.

The reason? Well, imagine that they couldn’t find a solution to showcase their photography portfolio or make a presentation site for their next online course. So why continue with us, right?

We knew that we could create new products for those needs but at the same time, we were aware we’re a small team and it’s important for us to keep it that way. We’ve truly believed from day one that we can have a closer relationship to assist each of our customers if we keep things on a smaller scale.

Imagine what you get from an intimate 1:1 versus when you talk in front of a big crowd. The level of connection in the first case is hard to beat, and, most of the times, is also far more valuable.

A larger portfolio of products would automatically mean that we will be able to allocate fewer resources and care to each of them. We don’t want to negotiate the quality that we’re accustomed to, so that was not even a solution to consider nor debate.


Caring for people, not for money

We realized that we already have themes in our (extended) portfolio that cover all the three niches we were aiming from the start: bloggers, visual creatives and small business owners.

However, we were unable to make them shine on our terms due to an exclusivity partnership that we had with Envato — the marketplace where they were released initially. Those products were locked-in there, making it impossible to have them part of the overall offer in our shop.

Guess what happened now that you have a feeling about how we make things happen at Pixelgrade?

We decided to give up the exclusivity and bring all of our product in one place. It’s a financial risk as we will have our revenue share cut in half for the products sold on Envato (down to 30%), but we think it’s the right move if we want to provide a great diversity of themes to our customers while keeping our caring team small and lean.

It’s not that we want to keep things simple and drink Piña Colada on a sunny beach. Our biggest goal is to give the best chances to the way we manifest attention and kindness for every single piece of the puzzle: our customers, our partners, our team, and our community.


A complete portfolio for our customers

Since the first day we launched our shop, we made a public promise in front of our current and potential customers: we will add more products to diversify the offer and address all of their digital needs.

We’ve been keeping our word ever since and created five more themes — which are especially useful for those that bought the Themes Bundle package. Today, we sped up the process and doubled the number of themes available on Pixelgrade.com.

We are excited to put at your disposal 21 design-driven WordPress themes awaiting all kinds of creative people to explore and make an impact by using them in bold ways.

We will continue to develop new design solutions, but they might be very well for existing products, giving them more power and flexibility. With other words, we’re not going to run after all kinds of new-sexy-shiny-things but focus on making what we already have better.


Designing an experience beyond themes

Choosing a theme from us is just the first step in building your website and it’s worth mentioning that you will get more than that, as we got you covered throughout the process.

While you may easily switch the theme later on and keep the content, we crafted a whole experience to help you improve your digital game when reaching this tipping point. Below are some of the perks that come together by being one of our customers:

1. A system to build upon in the future

Each of our themes is built on a set of components which are likely to get improvements and new features along the way, keeping them relevant in the long run – even if you take the decision to use another gem from our portfolio.

We will release various add-ons that will take the system capabilities even further: from giving you unique options to use premium fonts to special styling for your online store as mentioned in the beginning of this article.

2. A customization tool that make sense

We’re in the process of rethinking the way you personalize your site and that’s why we created the Style Manager: a highly intuitive system, flexible enough to allow for true personalization, but smart enough to keep the overall look and feel consistent and in line with the design thinking that came with the product.

You gain autonomy and the freedom to make the theme truly yours by adapting it to your branding system, which gives you leverage in front of both your competition and community.

3. Customer support made easy

Every single ticket is resolved by a real person from our team, which means that we treat your problem separately and invest our best time and know-how in finding a reliable solution. Most of the times, we go even further by letting you know about a few tweaks that we can make for you in order to improve the experience for your visitors.

On top of that, if you shoot for the stars, it’s good to know that we are one click away from assisting you on optimizing your website in terms of security and speed performance so you can get the job done in no time.

4. Educational content around your digital pains

We genuinely believe that educational content written from our experience is the best advice we can offer to you. The simple fact that we have skin in the game, determines us to dive after insightful ideas. Plus, we lived everything we write about, giving our content huge value.

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We act like curators who invest all kinds of resources in decluttering all the messy information, to pack it in a way that is easy to understand and that makes perfect sense for you in a certain moment of your digital evolution.

5. Surprises and moments of joy

When we feel it (and you will share this attitude as well), we will reach you for a more real human touch. In the past, we hand-written dozens of letters for our lovely customers, added small goodies inside like t-shirts or pins and we even received something similar in return.

There’s so much joy and connection in the small gestures that is hard to translate into words, but it feels great because it gives a sense of belonging.


Towards a brighter future

Layer by layer, your website gets traction, authority, and increases its chances to be successful while keeping everything you need under the same roof.

And yes, on one hand, Pixelgrade is built to cover your back and join this adventure from top to toe, and on the other hand, it is flexible and open-minded to know that there’s always room for improvement and questioning.

At the end of the day, what can be more beautiful than knowing that we are true-to-ourselves, live our values fully, and are eager to help people make a dent in the universe? We’re here to lend a hand and celebrate together. 🥂

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Oana Filip

Oana Filip is a digital storyteller @Pixelgrade and community builder for creative industries. A true believer in the power of making the world a better place.