Happy Birthday to Us

April 5, 2024
By Danielle LaRoy and Jessica Strelioff, Goodside Co-Founders
Company Updates

Well, well, well, would you lookie there—it’s April 5th. A day that, save for a few famous deaths and war battles (RIP Kurt Cobain), is best known as Goodside’s Birthday. Step aside, National Dandelion Day, we are officially O-N-E. 

Having worked together for the better part of a decade, our one year anniversary feels like a funny milestone to celebrate. But it’s one that we’re actually very proud of. We grew a lot this year. We also laughed a lot, cried a little, and mostly, worked really, really hard. And all of that is worth celebrating.  

So join us as we pop the virtual champagne, bring out one great, big candle, and look back on one year in biz through the 10 highs, lows, and learnings that made it.   

10 things that made our year

1. We launched Goodside! 

If you know us, you know Goodside was a literal dream come true and a long time coming. We’d been talking about starting a studio in some form or fashion since we met, and when the stars aligned (aka Danielle moved back to the US), we were ready. We poured a lot of love into the Goodside brand, especially where the name was concerned—if you’ve ever named your own venture or plan to, we tip our hats. It all came together with a fabulous reel from Stina Wahlén and a killer Webflow site developed by Grace Walker, which felt like the perfect reflection of what we’re trying to build with Goodside: a creative collab with talented and kind people doing their best work together.       

2. We created 8 more brands

After we built Goodside, we built 8 more brands. Through our projects, we explored architecture in the mountains of Colorado, financial crime in the dark depths of the internet, small-farm coffee from Colombia, and VR… which is kind of everywhere and nowhere at the same time? It was a wild journey, and there’s a ton of work that went into it—much of which we’ll be sharing over the coming months. Here’s a sneak peek of what we’ve been up to. 

In the interest of transparency, we also lost one—and that was a bummer. We gave it our best shot through 5 or 6 rounds of iteration, but we couldn’t get it over the finish line. Ever reminding us that it’s not all rainbows and butterflies in a service business, and shit does, in fact, happen.


3. We went on a worldwide press tour

*social anxiety has entered the chat*

Mostly kidding. Although we did find ourselves in the midst of a wee Twitter-storm—but hey, no publicity is bad publicity, right? By and large, we had a blast sharing our story and are honestly flattered that folks wanted to hear from us. Here’s a handful of the places we spoke, wrote, and hung out in public.   

  1. Jess was on Adobe Live
  2. We spoke at 10x Conference
  3. We had a featured interview in Creative Boom
  4. We talked about the ROI of Branding with Designer Fund
  5. We made some trend predictions with Creative Boom
  6. And nerded out about typography
  7. We were featured in CommArts Fresh section
  8. We were interviewed for Design by Women
  9. We spoke about branding on the Ecommerce Fuel podcast
  10. We chatted about choosing the right business partner on Webflail
  11. We had a great conversation with two wonderful women on their new podcast (coming soon)!
  12. We had our brand work for Superorganism featured on Off Grid
  13. And on The Design Blog 
  14. Jess talked about finding your brand on The Digital Third
  15. We also had our new site featured on Typewolf, Webflow, Siteinspire, ilovecreatives, MaxiBestOf, Landbook, DoingCoolStuff, Lapa Ninja, and Curated Designs (Wow! Thanks friends!)


4. We reworked our process… a lot

We started Goodside thinking we had it all figured out from a process perspective. We’d worked in-house, agency-side, and independently in all kinds of capacities and formations. But all of that went out the window when our first project stretched out for longer than we would have liked. That set off a cascade of cycles that generally went something like this: tighten timeline → burnout → relax timeline → frustration → tighten timeline → rinse → repeat.   

It was a tough bout of trial and error. Admittedly, not just tough on us but on our clients at times, too. So in the highs, lows, and learnings of the year, this would be the lows-and-learnings part. Our longest brand project spanned 16 weeks, our shortest was just 4, and our most successful was right around 6.5.  

No process is perfect, but we’ve worked and reworked ours to find one that works for us. And we’re pretty pleased with it, so we wanted to share! In short, we’ve settled on a weekly schedule where each week is tied to a core deliverable. It’s tight and requires a lot of trust, but it’s also resulted in some of the best work we’ve done to date. So we hope this helps offer a model of how it *can* be done if ever you find yourself in the throes of a process spiral.  

Week 1: Discovery / Workshop 1
Week 2:
Brand Positioning / Workshop 2
Week 3:
Brand Concept 
Week 4:
Brand Identity (visual & verbal)
Week 5:
Revisions and refinement
Week 6:
Revisions and refinement
Week 7:
Brand guidelines
Week 8+:
Launch assets (eg. packaging, website, marketing templates)

5. We took three offsites  

We love being a remote studio, but nothing beats the feeling of being in person after a long stretch away. Our Goodside get-togethers give us the much-needed opportunity to dream together every few months, and we took full advantage with 3 trips this year—two to Austin and one to San Francisco. 

A big highlight was our photoshoot with Paige Newton where we put on our Sunday best and got some great glamor shots for the gram. We also got inspired by Ellsworth Kelly’s chapel of colored light, thrifted our way through Austin, and ate some of the best croissants of our lives in SF. Sometimes the best thing we can do for our work is put our pencils down and go outside—and these offsites were all great reminders.

6. We worked with amazing collaborators

One of our big goals with Goodside is to bring together talented artists and makers, and this year we were lucky to work with some of the best! We loved working with Grace Walker and Hunter Thompson of Kinetic on some stunning builds in Webflow, turned to Stina Wahlén to set so many of our brands in motion, partnered on a logo with the legendary Jessica Hische, and tapped Gina Rosas Moncada for a gorgeous illustration suite. We also jammed with our friends at Upstatement, who continually inspire and teach us at the same time.  


7. We did an AMA with Designer Fund 

What happens when you put a writer and a perfectionist together on a Q&A? You get looooong answers, that’s for sure. We had such a blast clacking away at our keyboards for the Designer Fund AMA and we got a ton of great questions. While we had every intention of turning our answers into more content at some point, we haven’t yet. So rather than let all of that good stuff go stale, we’ll start the sharing back up here. This question has been at the top of our to-do list, so consider this our lazy half-step share before turning it into the proper blog post it deserves.  



8. We deepened our design community 

When we ask ourselves what the most surprising part of starting a studio has been, our answer is almost nauseatingly upbeat—the design community has shown us a lot of love. We had prepared ourselves for the growing pains of running a studio, the lulls of building 0-1, and the challenges of getting the right work, but we truly didn’t anticipate the level of encouragement and support we’d get from our internet friends, clients, and collaborators. If you’ve read Bowling Alone (great non-branding book for branding), moved to a new city, or tried to do something hard like, say, start a business, you know how deeply important community is. It all takes a village, and we feel very grateful for ours.    

9. We learned that manifesting really works

But only if you have time when the good guys come knocking. This year has undoubtedly been a year of Yes for us, but punctuated by some increasingly strategic no’s. As a small studio, we have limited bandwidth and as people pleasers, we tend to fill it up. But we’ve learned that holding space for the right projects means balancing those people-pleasing instincts with our own creative aspirations. In other words, saying no when things aren’t quite the right fit. As uncomfy as that can be, we’ve found increasing success in openly telling the universe (and the Twittersphere) what we want, and saying not-right-now to the rest. And while that latter camp can be tough, we’ve gotten some really lovely responses that give us confidence we’re on the right track. This was a recent one that felt pretty great. 

10. We lived our lives!  

Our last work highlight? Not working. Yep, we said it. Working is amazing, but not working is also pretty amazing! We took a whopping 6 weeks off last year, with a nice big break over the summer in true European fashion. We both spent some time in Italy getting our fill of limoncello and pasta, we spent time outside with friends and family, and appreciated what this is really all about. 

So there you have it. A nice soft segue into a very big thank you. If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably one of those wonderful people we talked about in numbers 1, 2, 6 or 8. As we look ahead to next year, we have some big plans, both personal and professional, to share very soon! In the meantime, thanks for looking back with us and for sticking with us on our journey. Goodside has been the absolute highlight of our careers already, and it just keeps getting better.   

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