About Pixel Garden Studio

Photo of Jeff Sanders
From top left: Regan, my wife Kim, Myself (Jeff Sanders), Ava. With gramma and grandpa this day was our newborn Logan.

1998

In 1998 I created my very first website. It housed a collection of stories I had written some time ago. My ISP allowed us to host a website with our internet connection. With no skills at writing HTML markup, and no other tools at my disposal, I created a website using Microsoft Publisher. It didn't even have a proper domain name at the time.

I bought a copy of Microsoft FrontPage. It was reasonably priced and I still didn't know much other than layout techniques that looked pleasing to me. At the time most everyone was working with tables anyway.

As I used the software more and more, I found that working within the confines of its design view was limited, as was using its form builders and other things., so I committed to write HTML by hand. I still used FrontPage, but I wasn't dragging and dropping elements anymore.

2001

In the year 2000 I met a young woman named Kim. One day I was redesigning my story website for what seemed like the hundredth time and she said to me. “Why don't you make websites for other people?” It's funny how sometimes the most obvious thing is staring at you right in the face and you don't see it.

So that's what we did. Kim and I started a small web design studio, we named RandomActs Design in November 2001. She did the graphics work and I did the markup and coding. The name was a play on my story site which was called Random Acts of Imagination; now my personal site that doesn't see much love these days.

As I can imagine with most new businesses, we were having some trouble getting clients. One day my cousin Matthew Golay asked if we would make him a website because MP3.com was being bought and shutting down services for unsigned artists.

As his popularity grew in the Fox Valley and Oshkosh area so did the questions about who created his site. Kim and I did lots of work for musicians like Copper Box, RPM, Boxkar, Rob Anthony and The Moon Gypsies. We also did some work for Mill Creek, a venue where many of those bands played. Many of those clients are still with me today.

I owe a debt of gratitude to my wife Kim for getting me into the business and Matt for helping Randomacts Design become known in the Fox Valley area among artists and venues. I was even nominated, albeit indirectly, for some WAMI awards for websites I built for those clients.

Things weren't always busy though, so from time to time I did some contract jobs for other area web design and development companies to fill in the gaps.

2009

In 2009 I formed GiantSeed Creative, LLC with a new business partner (Kim decided to pursue nursing in 2003). We met through one of the companies I did contract work for.

Things were good for quite awhile until they weren't. In the end, we had different opinions about which direction to take the company and decided to go our separate ways in 2012.

2012

After leaving Gianteed Creative I took a small vacation at my cottage in the woods. While I was away from television and cellular signals I thought about:

  • What were my life goals as a person.
  • Who I could help with my skills.
  • What those true skills actually are.
  • What kind of business I wanted to create; if I wanted to create a new one at all.

When I returned to civilization I formed Pixel Garden Studio LLC almost the next day with an outline of what I wanted to achieve and a path on how to achieve it. One of those things was to reduce my time committment to updating websites and I continue to develop Pixel Works, which is a content management system that allows anyone to manage their own website with no programming knowledge required.