For the TL;DR crew, here’s the deal: as of today, November 8th, 2013, Full Stop is no longer accepting new projects. We’re leaving the world of client services, and from this point forward, focusing our attention on Cotton Bureau and United Pixelworkers full-time.
Wanna read a little more? Good, because we wrote another thousand words.
Since the beginning, our web design business at Full Stop has been forced to compete with our internal projects (namely, United Pixelworkers and now, Cotton Bureau). When we walked away from our previous jobs, we wanted to start a company that did things the right way, and by things we meant everything from code to design to the client relationship to a well-structured business in a great office. We’re happy to say “mission accomplished” on that front without a trace of irony. We may not have loved every minute of it, but ask anyone we worked for or with and they’ll tell you we did things the right way. The results are there to prove it.
After four years of juggling clients and internal projects, though, we’re exhausted. If we’re honest with ourselves, our client work suffered because we were always more interested in working on our internal products, and our products suffered because of our client responsibilities. We’re thrilled we got to do both for as long as we did, but the time has come for us to make a decision.
As of today, November 8th, 2013, Full Stop is no longer accepting new client projects. We’ve got a few loose ends to tie up—and we’re not ruling out the occasional consulting gig under the right circumstances—but we’re moving on. From this point forward, we’re focusing all of our attention on Cotton Bureau and United Pixelworkers.
We’re going out at the top of our game—the leads are still rushing in (three we had to turn down just this week), and we’re about to launch our final two sites for some amazing clients. Truthfully, it’s difficult to say goodbye. We almost pulled the trigger on this a year ago but instead got sucked back in by the siren song of steady client money. We’re extremely fortunate to be in the position to walk away on our own terms. The good news for the clients of the world is that some of the all-time best are still active.
Going full-time on products may have been inevitable for us. From the earliest days of Full Stop, we were constantly referencing 37signals and Coudal Partners and Aaron Draplin and many, many others that have come before us. The writing may have been on the wall when, well, we stopped writing on the wall. While we think the world of colleagues and friends like SuperFriendly, Paravel, Weightshift, Happy Cog, our hometown pals Bearded, and hundreds of others, something had to give for us to make United Pixelworkers and Cotton Bureau all that they can be. We officially made the decision just a few days ago, and we’ve already felt an incredible amount of relief and renewed energy.
That said, we’re not swimming in money. The decision to walk away from lucrative client work is difficult, to say the least. Our products don’t make enough to completely support us. We think they can, but the only way to know is to try. In many ways, we’re right back where we were four years ago when we started the company: jumping from a precipice, hoping we sprout wings before we hit the ground. It’s thrilling, but we know that there’s a fine line between thrill and abject terror.
We’ve heard from a few of our friends over the years that they didn’t know how serious we were about United Pixelworkers and Cotton Bureau. Well, we’re pretty serious. We hope this is proof.
On the Cotton Bureau side, we’ve got a feature list a mile long we can’t wait to get busy building. No promises, but we know you want to back multiple shirts at one time. We know there are untold thousands of amazing designers outside the U.S. just waiting to submit tees. We know you deserve the conveniences of a great checkout and ordering experience. And we think you might just like a peek at what goes on here behind the scenes.
As far as United Pixelworkers is concerned, you should have a pretty good idea by now of our commitment to making an awesome modern website. We’ve re-built that thing from the ground up almost half-a-dozen times over the past few years. What we’d like to do going forward is bring the same attention and care we’ve put into the website and the t-shirts to a wider range of products and content. We’re not ready to announce any plans yet, but United Pixelworkers always deserved to be more than just an online t-shirt shop.
One more thing. For too long, United Pixelworkers and Cotton Bureau have been essentially faceless. Maybe you already knew the people behind the scenes answering support emails, designing t-shirts, packing boxes, and writing blog posts, but we didn’t do a very good job of telling everyone else. That’s about to change.
Ready? Let’s go.
Here’s where you come in. We think United Pixelworkers is pretty great. Our experience suggests that you do too. The thing is, it can be even greater. And Cotton Bureau? We think Cotton Bureau might just end up being Threadless-big. You know how that happens? With your help and only with your help.
Buy some stuff. We’ve got a loads of shirts, hats, jackets, and plenty more coming. If you haven’t had a chance to check out Cotton Bureau yet, you should. There are new shirts every day from amazing designers. (And we’re always looking for more. Show us what you got.)
There’s something even more important we need you to do though. You can probably guess, but if you haven’t, what we need you to do is: tell somebody, preferably lots of somebodies. We intend to do this full-time, for a long time. With your help, we think we can.
Last thing. If United Pixelworkers and Cotton Bureau are ideas you can get behind, we need a way to reach you when we’re launching new stuff. Click these here links to make sure you always know what’s up:
While we didn’t set out back in 2009 to become design t-shirt kingpins, here we are. We’ve embraced our fate. Wish us luck.