Hi there, my name is Ian. I run Gardener NYC, a small technology studio that works primarily in the eCommerce space. This is the second yearly review of the business (first 6 months here).

The goal of these reviews remains the same: share as much of the inner workings of the studio as I can, barring anything that would be an infringement. I'm still only aware of a handful of studios that open up their books like this - read up on Sanctuary Computer if you haven't already - but my hope is that more small businesses share these kinds of resources.

Questions about timelines, pricing, bidding, etc. are what I was most curious about when I started working for myself, and those are still the questions I get asked the most frequently. It's still an industry black box, and I've yet to see a strategic advantage to holding these cards.


What is Gardener?

Gardener is a technology studio run by me, Ian. In the last year we've grown to a team of three - including Lucas Vocos and Patrick McCarthy - each running their own technology practices while they're not helping me: Estudio Buena Suerte and Gone Fishing.

We offer a series of services centered around mid-to-large scale eCommerce builds. The most common shape that takes:

  1. Technical discovery with a design partner and client
  2. Full build out of the tech stack, seen through from design hand off to launch
  3. Scoping out and building versioned improvements post launch
  4. Acting as a resource to the client as they build out their internal tech team.

Year Background

Let me pause here for a second. At the time of writing this I'm fully vaccinated with trips on the calendar to see my family and friends. Not one of my closest loved ones have passed away from the disease. We didn't acquire debt from being out of work - in fact more the opposite. I'm extremely lucky. I could gloss over this last year and talk about these figures in the abstract, talk about successes and learnings, but there is a steady hum of anxiety and sorrow that can be paired with this writing.

In March 2020, my partner Elizabeth lost her job in New York and we headed back to Virginia to be with and take care of our families. Like many, we quarantined in a hotel room with our cats, and stayed with my family for a little under two months. 5 out of 7 people staying in that house were working from home at the time. We had no idea how long we were going to be there and started mentally preparing to end our New York lease in the fall and not return.