What a Difference a Decade Makes
A long, long time ago, late in the year of Two Thousand and Two, (and back in the good ol' days when I was in my early 20s) I started a one-woman web design company called Followbright.
Fresh out of graduate school with a newly minted degree in digital media, I knew how to design and build websites, and I was antsy to put my skills to work. Backed by the encouragement and support of a couple dear friends who have since gone on to become serious big shots in the marketing/online worlds (one being Matt Chiabotti, a senior art director at Cactus, and the other being Etsy's current Director of Engineering, Mike Brittain), I opened up shop and immediately set out to find Followbright's first official client.
How it began
I doubt you can remember this far back, but ten years ago some people still didn't even have email, let alone websites. And so the first thing I did as the owner of a new website company was to, of course, do what any other owner of a new web company would do. I snail mailed a batch of postcards out to local businesses. (Right. I was skilled at making websites, not (yet) at online marketing. But that was okay. Everything was so sunny and happy and easy back then.)
I can't remember how many postcards I mailed out, but I do remember the mailing brought in a lead: Mark Sum, a local sign designer/builder who owned Summit Sign Shoppe.
I was over the moon. I'm sure I danced for joy when he first contacted me. And I didn't squander the opportunity: I got right to work and put everything I had into creating a custom website design that matched Mark's business cards (which he'd proudly designed himself). The total cost was less than 1/10th of what our average website runs today.
Fast forward ten years
That was over 10 years ago.
Some things, like Followbright, get better with time. Yet the more some things change, the more (other) things stay the same.
And how fun to find that Followbright's very first website—my very first, official job landed by a glossy postcard I lovingly designed back in 2002—remains totally, unabashedly, 100% the same.
Original splendor and glory still in tact
That's right. Followbright's first site is still there in all its original glory: held up by tables, boasting images for text throughout, and innocently free of things like Google Analytics, ample copy, and alt attributes.
And yet it's still doing its job. It's still serving Mark. Because of this site, his customers can find him online, they can see photos of his work, they can read a few testimonials from delighted clients, and they can call him up to talk about their projects. For Mark, this is exactly why he wanted a site in the first place, and it's what his site has been doing for him for the past 10 years.
So thank you, Mark Sum, for being Followbright's first customer and for being proof that Followbright sites can stand the test of time.
I'm so happy to see your site is still serving you. Cheers.
View the historical, still-live Summit Sign Shoppe website.