Before there was a Headway Themes

Where did it all begin?

Where did Headway Themes get its start is one of the most asked questions we get when we are talking to people.  Or when either or both Clay and I are being interviewed about Headway.

The genesis of Headway really started with our other business we use to do at G2WebMedia.  Prior to Headway Themes, I was writing about blogging on Blog For Profit.  But before that, i was using a blog to market and promote my own professional service firm.

I started blogging in February 2005 as a way to market and promote my own firm.  We were doing this really before using a blog as a marketing tool was cool.

Before I started to blog in 2005, I had spent the previous 6 months researching and trying to learn as much as I could about blogging and how one could use it to gain a strong and solid presence online.  I needed to find a way I could compete with the big dogs and not break the bank.

I had always liked to write and writing a blog and posting to it as often as I could was a natural fit.  Where this led was to a place where I was getting emails and even phone calls from others in my field asking me how in the world I was getting such great placement in the search engines.  I soon discovered the information I had and what I was learning myself by blogging was a commodity I could sell.

So, just prior to 2009, the birth year of Headway Themes, I started to do consulting and coaching for others who were interested in using a blog to market and promote their own business.  Charging by the hour was something I was use to. But, another need from my consulting and coaching clients became very clear.  They were starting to ask me to build their blogs and what I like to call, Blogsites for them.

Let me be very clear here.  And I know Clay and others will completely agree, I could not code myself out of a wet paper sack if my life depended on it.  Thank god I have people around me who can.

G2WebMedia, the beginning

Since I knew nothing about coding, I started to look around for someone who I could work with where I brought in the new design/development clients and they would build the site.  I needed someone who was good and reliable.  The problem I faced was also finding someone who I could work with and who I knew would get the work done.

In comes Clay, my 15 year old son at the time telling me he could do it.

Right, I was going to hang my hat on the back of a 15 year old to get sites built and launched. I don’t think so.  What I forgot was the fact he had been messing around with this stuff since he was 11.

When Clay was 11 and even a bit younger, we use to go into book stores when shopping with his mom.  Seemed like the logical place to go when she is in Old Navy buying clothes for him and his older brothers.  Instead of heading to the children’s books which most children do, Clay would head to the computer book section.

I never will forget when he grabbed a book off the shelf, which if my memory serves me, was on php and javascript. Of course I did not want to admit to my 11 year old I had no idea what he was wanting or what php and javascript were. Being dad, I asked him if I buy you that twenty dollar book, are you going to read it?  His answer was always, “yes dad I will read it.”  And he usually followed that up with, “I have to have it.”

Seriously people, how do you tell an 11 year old he can’t have a computer or programing book in 2004?  You don’t. You get out the wallet and buy the freaking book.

The book buying continued.  When ever we went to the local mall, we headed to the bookstore and bought more books on Java, php and other programing languages.  Clay continued to bring them home and yes he did read them.  He had his own computer at this point and he would take the code he was reading in these books and use it to build things.  He would build things, break things and fix them.  If there was a different way to do it, he would.  It is easy for me to brag and say how freaking amazing all this was to watch since he is my son. But, it really was.  I have never seen a child’s mind work the way his did and continues to today.

The last book I remember buying him before he was an official teenager was a book which cost $85.  I almost lost it when he pulled that one off the store shelf and told me he had to have this one. No if, ands or buts about it.  This one was a must have.

“Are you serious, eighty freaking dollars for a book with crap in it I have no clue what it is.”  ”You are seriously going to read it and use it” I asked him.

With no hesitation in his voice at all, “yes dad I have to have this one.”  ”I have already figured out the stuff in the other books I have.”  ”And this one has some new stuff I need to learn.”

Right, you need to learn this crap at 13.

So, what did I do?  I bought the damn book.

By the way, I still have all of those books on a shelf in our basement office. Including the bookmarks made from tissue paper and sticky notes Clay used to mark the important stuff he was referring back to.

Where am I going with all of this you ask.

Back to my problem of not having someone who could build the sites I was selling to clients.  Clay came to me and said, “Dad, I can build those sites.”  He was around 14 I think.  Most likely closer to 15 at the time.  And you know what, I didn’t even question him. I knew he could.

So, I contacted that first client and told them we could build their site and here was the price.  Needless to say, I did not tell them my 14 to 15 year old son was my designer and developer at the time.  Which by the way reminds me, Clay also had his own copy of Photoshop and had been playing with it and designing stuff.  So not only was he learning code, he was teaching himself how to use Photoshop.

This was where G2WebMedia got its start. A company started by a father and son team with a son that was only 15 at the time.

More of the story in a day or so as I don’t want each post to get too long.  Comments are open if you want to join in on the conversation.

About The Author
Grant Griffiths is founder of Blog For Profit and co-founder of Headway, the first Drag and Drop WordPress Theme Framework. You can follow Grant on twitter at @grantgriffiths
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