Aeolidia: an Anniversary Celebration

When I was a teenager, I asked my mom what age had been her favorite age. If she could go back to any age to stay that age forever, what would her pick be? We were always into existential discussions as a family, and I suspect I was hoping that my teen years weren’t (horribly) meant to be the best years of my life.

I was quite pleased that her answer was thirty-six, and not a younger age. It told me that there were a lot of years ahead of me that would be fun and worthwhile, and plenty of time to screw up in between. I’ve remembered that conversation, and think about it often, particularly around birthdays.

This year I’m 36, and I’ve been kind of looking forward to it my whole adult life.

This year, Aeolidia is 10, and I’m proud of what I have built.

This year, I am 36 and Aeolidia is 10 and I have put much expense and care into branding Aeolidia and redesigning the website, as well as polishing up our client communication, presentation, internal teamwork, and overall experience.

I have never in my life felt more confident and comfortable than I do now, at age 36, and a lot of that is due to captaining the Aeolidia ship, earning the trust and respect of my mighty crew, and absorbing knowledge and gaining experience from working with hundreds of creative clients on hundreds of creative projects, all the while honing our process until it’s razor sharp. I am very glad that Aeolidia has been catching up to me and today, with the redesign, is feeling confident and comfortable herself (I know!) as a business.

We have been hard at work behind the scenes for a very long time rebranding Aeolidia. I say, “rebranding,” but to me it feels more like, “branding,” because this is the first time that we have been intentional with our brand, and we finally have a real, professional logo. I am so proud I could burst!

Welcome to the new Aeolidia website! If you visited the site recently, back when it had a pink octopus, you may need to clear your browser cache for aeolidia.com by holding down the shift or control key as you refresh the page (or cmd R on a Mac), to be sure you don’t have any old ghost files lurking around making it look funny.

Aeolidia Website Redesign

What’s happening around here? It’s all new! I built it all with you in mind, considering what you would be looking for, what you wanted help with, and what would help our business make sense to you, and make you see that we would be the perfect match to help you set sail on your journey.

Aeolidia home page redesign

The new home page brings our work front and center, and the menu on the left allows you to explore more and also makes it easy to understand at a quick glance what services we offer. The blog was added to our old site as an afterthought, and wasn’t featured on the home page. Now it has a prominent place with some recent articles and a list of categories, so people can see what topics they can learn more about.

An important part of Aeolidia’s awesomeness is our big friendly team, so we got those faces right there on the home page, and we’re now showing off our street cred in the form of logos of the places where we’ve spoken, taught, written articles for, and been featured on.

I understand that our services are not in the “impulse buy” category, so my main goal for the website is not to have people contact me to have us work on their website. That is my ultimate goal, but when someone new hops onto our site for the first time, I am hoping they will sign up for my newsletter. I share a lot of good stuff in the newsletter, and it’s a great way for someone new to get to know more about us, and for me to know more about them, if they reply to my emails, which I encourage everyone to do. “Subscribe” is now a page on our site that explains what you’ll be getting, and there is a bouncy little newsletter bar at the top of the site, which you can hush up by clicking the X.

Aeolidia portfolio redesign

A biggie was the portfolio! I have put a lot of work into stocking it up, and I will keep adding old and new projects as time allows. Since the new site allows for bigger images, I started from scratch and created all new graphics for old projects. Now all the images are big and beautiful (and retina-ready), and you can see them all on one page without all the crazy click-click-clicking you had to do before. There are many ways to filter the portfolio – by project type, by business type, by what the shop sells, by who on our team worked on it. This way, if you sell jewelry, you can browse all the sites we’ve made for fellow jewelers. If you’re interested in how we treat sites for communities, we have that, too. If you want to browse through our designers to see who best matches your sensibilities, well, you can! We had most of this functionality before, but it was a lot clunkier.

And the dear old blog! When I started the blog, I was faced with a website design that had never considered a blog, and I had to find a way to wedge it in. I ended up changing how the navigation worked and coming up with a sidebar, but I have never been terribly proud of it. When deciding what to do for the new blog, we kept paring and paring the sidebar of clutter until we finally decided to ditch the sidebar completely! This was freeing and different and gave our words and pictures the stage.

I am very happy with it. A website is never done, and I will continue to tinker away at it forever, but gosh, it looks fantastic, and is now telling the story I want creative business owners to hear about us.

Responsive Website Design

Oh, and the new site is responsive, too! Our previous site was terrible on a smartphone. I have more to say about responsive design in a future post, but for today, ooh, aah:

aeolidia-portfolio-design

The Astonishing Team Aeolidia

Thank you, Mariah, who has tirelessly been creating and refining the Aeolidia brand from day one and on into the future. Thank you, Sarah, who worked with me through ideas until we found one that felt like home. Thank you, Shoshanna, who massaged WordPress into doing all the things we had dreamed up, and made editing the site a breeze. Thank you, Natalia, for taking my words and making them shine.

Aeolidians around the world

Thank you, all of the beautiful Team Aeolidia, for your feedback, ideas, and support on this project. Thank you to my team as well for being so creative, diligent, curious, independent, cooperative, persistent, and friendly. You make it easy for me to promise our clients what they’re looking for and more, and easy for me to toot our horn out there on the web. I am so proud of you guys!

A Week of Giveaways!

To celebrate our new look, and ten years of creating beautiful things for inspiring businesses, we are having a week of giveaways here on the blog. Please come back each day this week for a chance to win something excellent from Aeolidia.

We will be giving away our services for free – we will be reviewing websites, making “next step” plans for businesses, and setting up new Shopify sites, all for free, and as many as we can possibly fit in. I hope we can help you with your creative business.

P.S. I would be over the moon if you’d share our giveaway with your followers (particularly if you suspect your followers have small businesses of their own), by blogging, tweeting, or otherwise chatting about what we’re up to. We will be sharing some “pin-able” content and downloads – I’d love to have your help spreading these all over Pinterest and Instagram!

Today’s Giveaway

This giveaway is now over!

We’ve been creating some delightful gifts for our clients, and we’d like to send out a few to you for following along! I just got back from the Nearly Impossible conference, and have some unclaimed Aeolidia “swag” remaining. Please comment on this blog post to share your favorite age, let us know how old your business is, or just report on how you and your business are growing together. I will randomly choose four winners to receive an Aeolidia merman post-it book and a merman lapel pin. I’ll email you to get your address!

The post-it books are super cute, will be quite handy for you note-crazy types, and seem to be refillable. With the lapel pin, you can pretend to be part of a secret society. The funny part of the lapel pin is that without the context of him being a merman, he can be mistaken for a lumberjack king.

Aeolidia giveaway swag

Please join me the rest of the week with your silly party hat on as I give you some valuable help or insight into your next steps as a business. Stick around! If you sign up for our mailing list, below, you’ll get all the giveaway posts in your email, and (as they say), MORE.

I’m feeling happy,

Arianne Foulks

Arianne Foulks
Owner, Aeolidia

P.S. I’m glad to report that 36 doesn’t feel like a peak, and it’s all downhill from here. Rather it feels like a beginning, and I am looking forward to what’s still to come.

Other launch posts

Monday: A celebration of the new site, and an adorable merman swag giveaway.
That’s this post!

Tuesday: A celebration of our clients, and free wallpapers and a manifesto you can print out and put on your desk.
Make your computer or phone pretty »

Wednesday: huge list of tips for improving sales on your website, and info about our website evaluations.
Improve your site »

Thursday: We help as many businesses as we can plan their next best step. This one’s still active!
Ask us your burning questions »

Friday: We help as many business as we can set up a Shopify website. We’ve added a special offer!
Learn more about Shopify and let us do the setup »

About the Author

Hello, I'm Arianne! I am the head storyteller, idea hatcher, and yaysayer here at Aeolidia. I started making websites for friends in 1997, and never lost interest in building online homes for fascinating people. I have a great boss (me!) and I'm unafraid to play hooky to head out on an adventure. Some day I'll tell you about the time when, as a marine biology student, I was bitten by a baby elephant seal.

View more articles written by Arianne >

47 comments
  1. Everything looks so absolutely beautiful! What a wonderful overhaul! I can’t wait to dive deeper into your site and see everything and be even more inspired than before. Great work, Team Aeolidia!

    My favorite age is 29. I say this at age 28, because 29 holds some huge life steps for me: I have always wanted to move away from “home” and explore what my life looks like in a new setting and finally, at 29, I will be moving from the safe midwest to Portland. I couldn’t be more excited about the prospect (though anxious about the logistics!) and what new adventures my life has in store for me. New design, new connections, new food (I mean, that’s the important part, right?!), new goals for my freelancing, and hopefully lots and lots and lots of life lessons. It’s going to be great.

    • Wonderful, Mikaela! You are going to love Portland. :)

  2. Congratulations on your ‘new’ site! I love the background color as it feels very easy on my eyes and everything that rests on top of the pretty background is gorgeous! Easy to move from page to page, subject to subject. I am soooo jealous:) I need my own site so badly. My favorite age was somewhere in my 30’s as well. I don’t think I can pick one year. At times it seems like the older we get, the more cares we collect. My 30’s were pretty carefree:)

  3. First of all, I want to say how incredibly impressed I am with the redesign. WOW!!! It’s so beautiful and I’m looking forward to taking in the loveliness of every single page. Oh and the merman…*swoon*. I’ve been following Aeolidia for quite a while and hope to work with you when I’m finally ready to take my business to the next level.

    As for my favorite age, I don’t know it yet =) Every year seems to be getting better and better and with all my plans for the upcoming future, it’s hard to think what my favorite age will be. I’m going to be 25 in 4 days, 25 should be pretty cool. I’m also looking forward to 30. I’ll be moving to Maine next year (from Florida) and am looking forward to finally settling down, purchasing our first home and really going 100% with my business.

    My business is still a baby, only 2 years old. I’m a freelance web designer & developer and am still trying to decide on which one I focus on. I’m leaning more towards design, I’ve been learning Illustrator and want to eventually make physical products…stationary, prints, etc. I want to teach others. I want to do lots haha. I have many, many ideas. But at the moment, I’m just focusing on my current projects and the big move to a brand new state.

    • Congratulations to your entire group that worked tiredlessly to get your new site and the ‘Loot’ just right. It’s the little things that make the biggest impressions. Hopefully someday my dream is to be a client of Aeolidia. Everything is thought out, your group makes up quite the team.

  4. Thanks for sharing, Andrea! It sounds like you are in a great place with more to come. Take care of that baby business! :)

  5. Congratulations Arianne & the rest of the Aeolidia team! superbuzzy just turned 8, and I know Arianne will remember having been with us in those early days… It hasn’t gotten any easier, but every day is different and each challenge a new one! Love the new look and all of the new branding goodies… here’s to many more years!

    • Thank you, Kelly! Yes, I think of our first great group of clients in the early years (you included) as kind of “sibling businesses” as we grew up together. I love keeping an eye on what Superbuzzy is up to – and your bee and our merman make a great pair! :)

  6. What a gorgeous new website! I especially love your script font and the adorable little merman :) I still have a lot of life to live (I’m only 17!), so I’ll say for now that my favorite age was 16. It’s when I started my graphic design business, gained self-acceptance, and learned a lot about who I am and what I want to do with my life.

    • It sounds like you’re ahead of most of us, Sierra! Thanks so much!

  7. Arianne, your new site looks GORGEOUS! Congratulations! It’s a clean, grown-up design, just like you & your business. And Happy Birthday to both of you! Wishing you all the best!

    • Always great to hear from you, Jill, and thank you!

  8. Just discovered the little crown when I mouse over “Aeolidia”–terrific!

  9. I would have to say that right now the best year is last year. I have started to find my own (33) I have my wonderful kids (3 of them) but I was starting to loose myself in being a mom and wife. I have a book blog and although I am a little behind on it since the summer I LOVE to read and with that I decided to try my hand at writing. I am still working on my book and hopefully will be able to get it done soon.
    So last year when I started writing, and read so many books…It helped me to just find something in me.

    Mariah is awesome. I have followed her for a while, I love her work. :)

    • That is great! Finding time to do your own thing once your kids get out of that super needy phase is a wonderful feeling.

  10. Loving life right now at 32! Have a little blog & digital paper shop that is about 2 1/2 years old – started as a fun outlet when I’m not running after my 3 precious girls. It’s awesome to watch a passion slowly turn into a little reality – a work in progress, but a great one :) Beautiful new (clean) design, always love your work – thanks for inspiring!

  11. The new site is beyond gorgeous! Thanks for taking us along for the ride on this one. It’s always great seeing the process. Loving that merman. :)

    • Thank you, Niki! We had to keep a bit of silliness around.

  12. Happiest of birthdays to your baby! I found your blog about 7 years ago when my oldest was born & I realized every cute baby store I drooled over was designed by Aeolidia. It’s been a delight to follow along all these years.

    My favorite age has yet to come, I’m sure of it. There are some top contenders but getting divorced this year made me realize there’s a whole lot of life left ahead of me & surely the best is still to come ;)

    • Wow, thank you, Carla! Yes, we love working on creative baby and kids’ shops. It seems odd to say “congratulations” about a divorce, but it sounds like you have a great mindset about moving forward.

  13. Big congrats to you! The site is beautiful and your passion shows through. I’m a new reader but I really enjoy getting your e-mails. I appreciate your laid-back, friendly “voice” and I feel like your work and information is top-notch. Favorite age… I loved the freedom of my early twenties. But I gave birth to my first daughter two years ago and will welcome my second daughter this week so you know, my thirties have been pretty great, too. :) Keep up the good work!

    • Congratulations on the new little one, and thank you so much for your kind words, Jamie!

  14. Wendy Schoeman says,

    Congratulations and Happy Birthday! I love the site especially how easy it is to move around. I appreciate how open you are about the process and your own learning.

    I think the best age is the age you are. We need to live in the moment, trust ourselves and not have any regrets. You are doing this and helping others be the best they can be. Age is only a number. I will be 62 in the next week and my life has been filled with special moments, days and years that I think about, smile about, cry about and laugh about.

    Wendy

    • Oh, Wendy – your comment gave me pause. Of course the best age is the age you are. I’ll keep that in mind at each birthday. Thank you so much!

  15. Moose + I could be your youngest + oldest fans!! Every birthday year is the best, since they each hold special adventures in life. We wish you the very best of the best year ahead too!! Thanks for all your fantastic posts + business insight. Our little Bespoke Letterpress printing Studio, where we “love to make things” was born in 2008. Tail wags ~moose

    • Thank you Denise (and Moose!). Hey, CabinPress is as old as my 1st grader.

  16. Karla Marie says,

    Although, I am a new reader I have spent many days and hours reading every each of your blog and have found many resources that will help the many ideas running through my head blossom and produce a small handmade jewelry business. Hopefully in the future I can work with your team to produce a name and logo! Anyhow, Congratulations to you and your success! As far as the favorite age, well despite being only 20 (21, November 2) I wouldn’t be able to give you a favorite age. Why? Because I haven’t lived through many years to know whats my favorite. I also feel that every age can be your favorite because every year something major and different and exciting happens. So its best to just love every year of life you have been given!

    Happy Birthday!!

  17. I’m just ahead of you, at 37, and it’s a fine age, too. Congratulations on the new site, I arrived on this page via the newsletter, on my kindle, and so far it’s looking great. I am looking forward to browsing in more depth throughout the week.

  18. I would have to say that last year was pretty incredible – making 31 a good number. Also I started the company back in 3-2011 so maybe the number 3 and 1 are strong for my business.

    Positively love reading your newsletter posts and visiting your site – great job on the new design!

  19. The redesign looks fabulous! My business Catshy Crafts started in 2011. It is through my business that I’ve been chipping away at my shyness and fears. It’s been incredible to see how far I’ve come – not measured in sales per se – but in my own personal growth. I love my creative business. I am inspired by you, Arianne. From one “reformed shy child” to one shy adult still in recovery, congratulation on your success!

    • Thank you, Cathy! When thinking about business success, I don’t think people pay enough attention to their own personal growth. Even if the business ultimately doesn’t work out in the long run, or if plans change, the experience of running a business can be a real character builder! P.S. I think you’ve been doing great being bold! The couple of times I’ve run into you at craft fairs and such, you’ve been calm and friendly (I personally am usually all a-twitter on the inside when I’m working on remaining confident on the outside, but being able to project calm when you feel anything but is a great skill!).

  20. mithraballesteros says,

    Congrats to all of you! Everything is so shiny and pretty and perfect! About your question on age, I heard someone say this about her favorite milestone: “Thirty! Yes! A real adult finally! People will actually take me seriously now. Then forty. Woo-hoo! I am an adult with significant experiences! At fifty, I am an adult to be reckoned with. And sixty? Oh sixty! I’ve earned the right to be and do whatever I wish. I can barely wait to hit seventy!”

  21. Arianne, you are constantly blowing my mind with webdesign and branding! Congratulations and happy anniversary. I am grateful for the swag giveaway but mostly for you! your hard work! your team! and your passion for turning our businesses into bright burning flames if they aren’t already! (if they are- you make them burn even brighter!) Thank you for always being available to share your wisdom and inspiration.

    • Thank you, Jenelle, that is so kind of you to say!

  22. This is amazing! Happy anniversary! I’m so stoked for what you have accomplished! My business is just under 2 years old. We’re still experiencing growing pains and I’m eager to see where I can take it. Thank you so much for your newsletter and for being you! :D

    • Growing pains can be the start of something good! Thank you, Toni!

  23. Gorgeous new site and Happy Anniversary! I have been eagerly following the progress of your new design and love seeing it all come together! I also love your newsletter and share it with all of my creative biz friends; your articles are such gems! Anyway, on to your question: There’s a chance that I could currently be in my favorite age (32)! Finally starting to feel like a legit adult without feeling too old at the same time! (Thanks for all of the giveaways!!!)

    • Ah, thank you, Miranda! Yes, 32 is totally legit. :)

  24. Yay! Happy Birthday! Double digits is a milestone – congratulations! I can’t wait to see what the Aeolidia teams comes out with next! I often asked my mother the same question – and she always came back with whatever age she currently was, and I sort of always loved that outlook. I’m 31 this year, and it feels pretty fabulous – I have never felt so sure of myself, my intentions, and my ability, and at the same time have never been so willing to let go a little and let things be. It’s proving to be a magical combination :) xo

    • I just love it, Melissa! Especially the “letting go a little” part – that can be very important.

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