2023 is the year we celebrate Shift turning ten! Ten years go by in a blink of an eye and also feels like a pretty long time. Two things can be true at once, yes?
Nostalgia is settling over us like party confetti that we are choosing not to brush away. The Shift team is feeling reflective and we want to revel at this moment — we’re like someone who celebrates their birthday for an entire month. Come skip with us down memory lane, or at least the bits we can remember.
Where It Started
The Beauty Shoppe co-working space was our home base for the first two years in operation. Those were the early days of co-working in Pittsburgh. It felt like being a part of something new when we were new too. There was a synergy between our disparate co-working neighbors with whom we shared a vibe and a strong smell of roasting coffee from Zeke’s, the first-floor tenant. The funky space fit our company’s mood and budget. Plus, it gave us a little street cred. People were keen to meet at our space to see what the co-working fuss was all about.
As the operators of the Beauty Shoppe expanded and modernized the co-working locations, we followed. We moved from the original location on Penn Avenue to the Liberty Bank Building space. The extra perks of more meeting rooms, bright light, high ceilings, and well-designed spaces suited where we were heading at that time. In the first two years of the business, we were very much figuring things out and working to define our brand. The Beauty Shoppe was the backdrop to our early exploration.
The Two Year Mark
Most small businesses don’t make it past the two-year mark. We were determined to buck that trend and boldly look fate in the eye by throwing a party for turning two. A lot of good happened in those first two years that felt worth celebrating. We worked on our first web and branding projects, we experienced our fair share of hearing ‘no,’ we honed our proposal and business development processes, we developed our signature brainstorming activity exerciseSHIFT, and we welcomed a new partner in Cynthia Closkey. The outlook was bright. So, sure why not raise a glass and toast to it all?
Shift is founded on the principle that change is inevitable. The trick to dealing with change is to face it, not ignore it. In our industry, change is such a sure thing we can plan for it (sort of). We expect a certain amount of change. Our team might change, new projects and clients find us, tools and software emerge, we explore different approaches to similar problems, and the list keeps growing. So, we embrace change. We shift with it, gain new perspectives, and help our clients do the same. Historically no change, not even a pandemic, can throw us completely off course. And in retrospect, the change we fear often turns out to be less scary than we thought.
We’re getting philosophical. Let’s get back on the reality bus.
Like most brands, our brand mark changed over the years…
That squishy part of a jelly doughnut. The middle years for Shift were less squishy and more elastic — expand, contract, expand again. From 2015 to 2019, we grew from partners and a handful of freelancers to a company with part- and full-time employees. We went through a lot of sticky notes. There were many projects and a growing list of clients. For a time, there were fewer projects and clients. Thankfully, the time of fewer projects was brief. Shift sailed through choppy waters and came out the other side stronger. We earned our sea legs.
You might be asking yourself at this junction, did they sum up five years in one paragraph? We did.
No matter what period we go back to, there’s a constant that stands out — our shared love of the work and the clients. We are privileged to collaborate with clients on work that drives us, inspires us, challenges us, and fills us with pride. In these last ten years, we’ve collaborated with local government, social services, and economic development nonprofits, small businesses, large businesses, and start-ups, on brand identities, website renovations, impact reports, advertising campaigns, and brand-building strategies. We hope that our passion for designing solutions and systems that meet the mark shines through in all we do.
Here’s a look at some of our greatest hits.
Do you think it’s excessive to celebrate a birthday all month long? Wait’ll you get a load of us! We’re going to revel in this milestone for all of 2023. You’ll see our anniversary logo and our fearless mascot, Charlotte, gracing our website pages, appearing on social media, and romping through our email newsletter. Plus, we plan to create content all year long around the theme of TEN, which we will share on social media and in our blog. And certainly, a celebration is on the horizon. Stay tuned.