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Why Brian Gardner left his solo gig to form Copyblogger Media

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Brian Gardner shares thoughts and feelings that any solo entrepreneur can relate to:

As owner (and every other position) of StudioPress at the time, I was in charge of all aspects of the business. Customer service and pre-sales questions were for me to attend to. In addition to accounting, product development, support, et all.

The appeal of joining forces with others and deflecting that correspondance was something I couldn’t deny.

PageLines Store and version 2.0 of theme to launch in December

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In just about a month, PageLines has announced, they will launch what they are calling The PageLines Store. The store is intended to lessen the need for PageLines users to create their own custom add-ons by providing a store for draggable “apps,”, as they’re calling them, to be purchased within the WordPress Dashboard itself. The apps are draggable add-ons for the PageLines framework as well as themes and plugins, they say. It will launch the same day version 2.0 of their drag and drop theme framework becomes available.

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StudioPress introduces their own marketplace to the community

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Earlier today Brian Gardner announced the StudioPress Marketplace, a new section of their site where developers from their community building on the Genesis framework can sell their child themes.

Before today there was no official place to sell Genesis child themes. In fact, Gardner would typically direct anyone interested in selling their Genesis child themes over to Jason Schuller’s ThemeGarden, where the Genesis category was growing strong with more than two dozen themes for sale.

Today’s is a soft launch, which means only hand picked developers and a handful of four themes are starting out in the StudioPress Marketplace. The developers currently listed are Dre Armeda, Lauren Mancke, Brad Potter, and Lauren Gaige. Instructions for submitting themes for consideration will come in time.

Today is a busy day, with quite a few folks traveling to WordCamp San Francisco (see our ongoing coverage), but you can be sure we’ll be connecting with Brian Gardner next week to talk about what this means for the future of StudioPress.

What do you think? Is this the right direction for StudioPress to go? And how many internet points do I get awarded for guessing pretty well a few months ago?

StudioPress was nearly sold two years ago

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In a blog post titled How I Lost Millions and Lived to Tell About It, StudioPress founder Brian Gardner described how he nearly sold StudioPress to an unnamed company just two years ago. The amount StudioPress would have sold for isn’t mentioned either, though Gardner refers to it as “a pay day that many dream about.”

In regards to how close it came to a sale, Gardner said pretty close:

I visited their office twice, and got to know some of the employees – whom I really liked and knew I’d work well with.

Everything during the due diligence round checked out – but the bottom line was the investors weren’t completely onboard. And I respected that, even though it was really difficult to hear.

Some time after the unsuccessful sale StudioPress became a part of Copyblogger Media. Since then, a period of around nine months, Gardner says StudioPress sales have doubled and the Genesis framework is now used on over 300,000 websites.

How long have you been following StudioPress? Do you remember the shift to Copyblogger Media? Would you stick with StudioPress, or another theme company, if it was purchased and had new ownership?

Brian Gardner hints at something new for StudioPress

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Last week on Twitter Brian Gardner of StudioPress pinged two designers/developers who pretty regularly work with StudioPress’ Genesis theme framework. He said basically the same thing to each of them:

@BillErickson Hey – are you around on Skype right now? Want to talk about something *really* interesting.

Normally this wouldn’t raise a collective eyebrow at WPCandy. But on the same day (May 27th) Gardner commented on this very blog in response to a member of our community named Donnacha:

Donnacha, I just want to thank you for this comment. You’ll know why at some point in the relatively near future, but in the meantime wanted to say how much I appreciate you leaving this.

You can read Donnacha’s in full to put Gardner’s comment in perspective, but the part we believe is most relevant here is when Donnacha said:

There was a stage, last year, when the Genesis framework by StudioPress seemed to be well-ahead of the pack but I think they dropped the ball when they cancelled plans to launch a Genesis-based marketplace for third-party designers – obviously, StudioPress had a lot of other things going on, other projects that needed those resources, but I suspect, in the longterm, that establishing their framework as the standard is an opportunity they will regret not grabbing when they had the chance.

It seems StudioPress has something up their sleeve, and coming relatively soon. If we’re correct in pulling out this piece of Donnacha’s comment, it would seem Gardner was speaking about a future Genesis child theme marketplace.

What do you think? Does StudioPress have something like this up their sleeve or around the corner (depending on the metaphor you prefer)? Are we picking up the right thread here, or do they have something else planned? Drop your predictions in the comments below.

StudioPress launches site redesign, ditches orange for blue

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The folks at StudioPress, the theme shop responsible for the Genesis theme framework, launched a new site design this week. StudioPress lead designer Rafal Tomal was behind the new design, which Brian Gardner explained is a part of their brand’s new transition:

Every once in a while brands go through transitions which can certainly warrant a color change, and for StudioPress this was the perfect time.

It’s been nearly 9 months since StudioPress came together with a few others to form Copyblogger Media – a development company which provides a suite of tools to help publishers succeed online.

As we have slowly worked our development into the trinity of essential software products, we wanted the StudioPress brand to represent a vibrant and professional movement within WordPress – focused on design optimization alongside the Genesis Framework.

You might remember that StudioPress merged into Copyblogger Media last fall. They also launched their first theme on the WordPress.com marketplace as well, joining the initial launch group.

As we try to do, just after the jump you’ll see a comparison image, with their old site on the right and their new design on the left.

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StudioPress releases Tapestry, its first Child Theme with Post Format support

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After the long-awaited release of WordPress 3.1 that introduced the much talked about Post Formats, StudioPress announced Tapestry last week, their latest Child Theme for Genesis. Tapestry adds support for all the available post formats, which will be ideal for anyone wanting to do down the Tumblr-style of blog, and comes in a nice blue-ish colour. From the announcement post:

We’re also pleased to announce that this is the first of what will be many Tumblog-style child themes for Genesis. With the release of WordPress 3.1 which includes post formats, we want to take full advantage of the awesomeness that WordPress provides.

Says Brian Gardner, who also goes on to mention in the comments:

Believe it or not, this theme has been done for a few months now – was waiting for WP 3.1 to come out and the right time to launch.

If you are interested in Tapestry and already a StudioPress customer, then you can grab a copy for just $24.95 or $79.95 if you need access to the Genesis Framework too. Take a look at the live demo, or you can visit the release post for more info.

This is one of only a few post format enabled themes to come out since the functionality was introduced in WordPress verison 3.1. What do you think of their implementation, and do you think we’ll see more post format-enabled themes soon?

Socialize with Social Eyes, the latest Genesis child theme

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Social Eyes Genesis child theme

Last week, StudioPress introduced the newest Genesis child theme, Social Eyes 1.0. Social Eyes comes in two colors, light blue and pink, and looks like a fitting theme for “mommybloggers” and will surely be welcome in a commercial theme market that is dominated by more masculine designs.

Brian Gardner had this to say about the theme’s design:

We’re also pleased to announce that Social Eyes is the third theme (with slightly modified design) to be created by Roderick Sauskojus, who was the lead designer at ModThemes. Many of his designs will be developed into Genesis child themes and made available here.

You can pick up Social Eyes for $24.95 if you are already a StudioPress customer, and $79.95 if you need the Genesis framework too. Hop on over to view all of the theme’s features or check out the live demo.