The Pixel Parlor Story
What do BalletX, WXPN’s XPoNential Music Fest, Bright Common Sustainable Architecture, and IFC Films have in common?
They, and many more, have all had the pleasure of working with Pixel Parlor, Philadelphia-based B-Corps design studio, in developing state of the art websites, brands, print and online marketing, and environmental graphics.
And soon, you will be able to add the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia. Pixel Parlor is teaming up with Brio Solutions for the forthcoming SBN Website Redesign.
With a special focus on working with nonprofits and philanthropic organizations, Pixel Parlor has built their brand by helping triple bottom line businesses clarify and convey confident consistent messaging.
“Somehow it seems that the general population doesn’t fully understand how interconnected these three elements — people, planet, profit — are to existence as a whole,” said Jenn Richey Nicholas.
By creating a company built on strong collaborations, husband and wife team, Jenn and Andrew, have seen first-hand the value of building relationships within the community and beyond. The team has rapidly expanded from an in-home startup business to a full team of innovative designers by utilizing these community ties and fostering relationships and collaboration. With big plans to offer even more services and advance their current web-development technology, they have no plan of slowing down anytime soon. We spoke with co-founder, Jenn Richey Nicholas about what is next for the company.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Creating a business that is a force for good is simple; it’s part of our DNA. We don’t know how to function any other way. It is how we live our lives, and as a married couple running a business together, it only makes sense that our personal motivations and values would become inseparable from the business.
We are passionate about trying hard to make our neighborhood, city, country, and the world a better place. So many individuals and businesses spend their time benefiting from destructive practices, and we firmly believe that all of these negative practices will come back full circle. We have the opportunity to do better and it is our experiment to see if we can do it and build a strong business with this as our baseline.
What is a recent challenge that you have overcome, and how did you do it?
We are growing. The word is starting to spread that we are doing our best to do build a better business, and our projects and client relationships are starting to reflect this. We are small, but our alliances are getting bigger. Our clients are willing to take a risk on us which is pushing us to grow in scale and scope. We started as a husband and wife team working out of our spare bedroom with a single client, now we have a few hundred clients, some of which are considered the most positively influential in the world for philanthropy and performing arts.
Being known as a business who does good is contagious. It is incredibly important in this market to be distinctly different, provide a consistently high-quality products, and services, which tie into our mission. We have a wonderful network of clients and friends who believe in us, and go out of their way to connect us with the types of clients and projects that we want to be part of.
Not everyone loves traditional networking functions: What’s your personal networking strategy and what role does your community play in the success of your business?
Traditional networking feels forced, and with two young children, we typically can’t find the time to attend a ton of these events.
Our best networking comes from events where we give back.
We find that casual networking via volunteer events and by getting to know our neighbors is by far the most organic and authentic way to get the word out.
When we volunteer, the community is exposed to our mission and capabilities without saying a word or passing a business card.
Also, making lots of friends, having a beer and talking to our neighbors is invaluable. It pays to be friendly and responsive — people remember these qualities simply because they tend to be rare or undervalued.
Communities are interdependent — we need each other to get things done.
Can you walk us through one of your triple bottom line practices and the impact it has had on your business?
Without people or planet, no one will have any profit. Without the planet, people and profit will cease to exist. Somehow it seems that the general population doesn’t fully understand how interconnected these three elements are to existence as a whole. This applies to everyone, individuals, and businesses.
We do our best to price our services to help encourage engagement with organizations, local, good, and emerging businesses, at a rate that is sustainable and profitable for our business. The more impact our clients can make, and the greater the reach, the greater the direct and indirect benefit for everyone.
Can you tell us about your ideal day off in Philadelphia, and where you would spend it?
Philly is amazing and imperfect. We chose Philadelphia as our home after growing up and living in a number of other cities, and quite a bit of travel. We’ve done our research and Philly has proven to be the best fit for us. It is an incredible mix of art, entrepreneurship, and experimentation that hasn’t been fully stifled by an expensive cost of living.
Our ideal day is to take the kids to a spray park in Center City, wander around the waterfront in Fairmount Park and grab a drink with friends at a beer garden. Or, just spending a day walking around Fishtown, finding a new shop or restaurant that we didn’t know existed.
What is one thing that most people do not know about your business that you would like them to know?
Oh geez. We are growing, and adding new services like more sophisticated in-house web development, and rounding out our environmental graphic design team, and building our focus on design for educational institutions and organizations.
Andrew just completed the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program to help us grow and become a more efficient studio so that we can help increase our impact. (Apply by January 30, 2018 to be part of the next cohort starting in May 2018.)
To learn more Pixel Parlor, their services, and clients, click here.