2015 has been a year of growth at Callia Web – from essentially just me, Jo Waltham, to small WordPress agency with an office in Marlborough, Wiltshire.
This process started in February when Ben Furfie joined Callia Web as a regular contractor. Ben worked on projects such as Priors Flour, House of Elliot, Jackie Dyble, and Lurcher SOS. Sadly, Ben left in the summer to join a much larger agency. We wish you well Ben!
In July Leeann Stevenson joined us and works in the office in Marlborough, with me. Leeann is a designer, developer and generally second-in-command in all things. Leeann has worked on projects such as Perla Development, Silkin Tan Creative Design and LoveBeer Brewery.
Since 2014 I’ve worked with James Roberts on a few projects as, and when, I needed his additional skills or simply extra manpower! In October James became self employed so I was delighted to secure his services on a regular basis. As James is based in Preston, he works remotely with Leeann and I – thank goodness for Slack! James has worked on Lurcher SOS, a number of support projects and quite a few projects we can’t wait to launch, hopefully later this month.
Even with this extra man power we have retained our relationships with other contractors for specialist services such as graphic design.
For over a year Gary Jones and I have talked about doing something around promoting a community of Genesis developers in the UK. January 2015 saw this finally result in some action with the launch of the UK Genesis website (thank you Tomos Jones for designing and developing the site).
We had the first UK Genesis meet up at WordCamp Birmingham in February. I was particularly happy that six people came to their first ever WordCamp because of our meet up. You can read more about their first WordCamp impressions here.
February also saw the start of the UK Genesis podcast hosted by Gary Jones and Ben Furfie and I was the
guinea pig first guest.
Another month and another WordCamp – this time in London where I presented a talk on Going Freelance. I was so nervous but the organisers, volunteers and other attendees were so welcoming. I was quite overwhelmed by the number of questions but I loved how so many people came to talk to me afterwards and the following day. Ben also gave a talk on How to Value Price Websites.
We also had another UK Genesis meet up just before WordCamp London too.
Not exactly a highlight but April saw us submit our first VAT return after becoming VAT registered in February.
In May I met Nicole at House of Elliot and she commissioned Callia Web to design and build a custom Woocommerce website. Whilst we have implemented WooCommerce websites before using existing Genesis themes this was the first time we had the opportunity to design and develop a custom WooCommerce Genesis theme. You can see the results on the new House of Elliot website.
I had been mulling over renting office space for many months. I wanted to be able to meet clients in our office rather than in coffee shops all over Wiltshire. Finally we selected a space in Marlborough but it needed building first!
In June I also attended WordCamp Europe in Seville, Spain. My main memory is how hot it was and forgoing sight seeing on the last day to just chill out by the pool. As always the talks were very informative and it was great to meet in person many people I communicate with on a regular basis.
We couldn’t let the opportunity go and held a EU Genesis meet up whilst we were in Seville too… yes by the pool!
It may be summer but July was a busy month with checking that progress was being made at the new office.
With Ben’s new full time job he was unable to continue to host the UK Genesis podcast so I took over as co-host with Gary Jones.
July also saw the worldwide virtual Genesis Camp. This was an amazing weekend event where contributors across the globe gave talks on various topics related to Genesis and running a web development business. I gave a technical talk giving an introduction to the hooks and filters used in Genesis. You can watch my Genesis Hooks and Filters talk here.
James also gave a presentation at Genesis Camp on accessibility – a very important topic for anyone with a website. You can watch James’ Accessibility talk here.
The move into the office got delayed until August but eventually we got all settled in. I underestimated the work involved in setting up an office! Furniture, chairs, computers, broadband, kettle, etc!
The biggest highlight of our year came when StudioPress (the makers of the Genesis Framework) added Callia Web to their Genesis Recommended Developer list and added some of the sites we have built to their showcase. This has massively increased enquiries from overseas for us and we now can work with clients around the world.
After having Genesis meet ups in Birmingham, London and Seville, a request was made to have a meet up in the South West of England. It was the first meet up we organised not around a WordCamp and I was really impressed with the number of developers who came, not only those in the South West!
As a co-host of the UK Genesis podcast I had the honour of interviewing Mike Little, co-founder of WordPress. We talked about the birth of WordPress, when he realised how big it had become, what he does now and what he’d like to see develop in the future. Like always the podcast listeners had the opportunity to ask questions too and of course it wouldn’t be the UK Genesis podcast if we didn’t mention Genesis too!
This year, at home, we adopted a rescued Lurcher puppy. This is our second rescued Lurcher, so when Lurcher SOS put a request out to have some help with the redevelopment of their website I felt compelled to offer our services. As we were donating our time we had to squeeze the work in around other projects so it took a little longer than most sites but in November we finally launched the new look site – if you can offer one of these gorgeous, sofa-loving, dogs a home then do get in touch with them.
Earlier on in the year I heard that WordCamp London were considering having a creche at the next event. With two children and my husband already having booked to be away the weekend in April when the next WordCamp London is scheduled for, I enquired if this was going ahead. To cut a long story short, I now find myself on the WordCamp London organising committee… If you are thinking of attending do let us know if a creche will be useful to you. If you’re thinking of submitting a talk for WordCamp London the call for submissions is now out.
A few statistics
In 2015 we worked with over 50 different people and companies:
- launching 21 new sites such as Discover Yoga and S&T Interiors (UK),
- refreshing 7 blogs such as Feeding Boys and Fuss Free Flavours,
- providing ad-hoc support to 10 clients – from theme tweaks to development of custom plugins,
- sub contracting for 3 agencies when they needed additional Genesis expertise,
- 4 tutoring and training clients,
- providing ongoing support and maintenance to 17 clients.
What’s in store in 2016?
If 2015 has been a year of growth, 2016 will be focussed on consolidating that growth. We suffered a few growing pains towards the end of 2015 and so we’re kick starting 2016 by firming up some of our processes.
We’ve got WordCamp London in April to look forward to and we’re pretty excited about going to Vienna in June for WordCamp Europe.