A Short History of the Berry
We began humbly, in 2006, just after founder D’nelle Dowis had finished college and was casting about Nashville, TN, trying to figure out how to start a career in journalism.
As the daughter of two very tenacious business owners, she understood from a young age what it took to run an independent business. Building trust with clients while simultaneously forging strong bonds with other professionals and specialists was as paramount to her parents’ work in home improvement as it is to BIPi’s success today.
D’nelle’s family name, Throneberry, along with a childhood love of re-runs of Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, inspired the name Berry Interesting and the acronym BIPi (for those of you old enough to remember, or geeky enough to enjoy mischievous linguistic tricks, here’s some info on the origin of “bippy”).
In 2005, D’nelle snagged her first job at The Williamson Herald — a newly-founded local newspaper in Franklin, TN — as their youngest reporter. She almost immediately found herself thrown head-first into the digital end of the journalism pool. In addition to beat reporting and assisting with typesetting the print publication, her internet savvy (an inborn talent amongst all millennials) meant that she was the only person on staff prepared to manage the website and email newsletters. Thanks to the mentorship of the paper’s website developer, along with the support of their production manager, she gained her first true digital skillset, and the rest was history.
Our First Project
The first project under the Berry Interesting Productions, Inc. name truly set the tone for what BIPi would become. The Sherraden family (made famous by Jim Sherraden, the brilliant mind who brought Nashville’s Hatch Showprint into the modern era) needed help turning their patriarch’s hand-written World War II memoir into a Word document that could be printed and shared with the entire family.
D’nelle saw more than just black and white; what started out as transcription quickly became a full-color book design and typesetting adventure that resulted in a bulk order of perfect-bound books shipped to four generations of family. The galley of “World War II Remembered” by Edward Sherraden sits on the shelf above D’nelle’s desk today.
Building in WordPress
After the printing of “World War II Remembered”, D’nelle began experimenting with building her own websites, curious to see if she could mimic the work done by the Herald’s developer. It was at this time that WordPress, just three years old at the time, was beginning to be used as more than just a blogging platform. D’nelle built BIPi’s first WordPress client site (an eCommerce site – an undertaking that only someone green, innocent, and self-taught would presume to take on for their first build!) for her favorite local soapmaker. After that harrowing experience, it was off to the WordPress races.
For the next 10 years, D’nelle built WordPress sites for entrepreneurs and small businesses looking for a developer they could trust. BIPi grew up alongside WordPress core, and we still today owe our success to the intrepid band of volunteers who support the codebase that runs on over 60% of websites on the internet.
The Berry, Today
By 2017, BIPi was clearly outgrowing its original roots as a one-woman show. But as luck would have it, D’nelle had a secret weapon tucked away just outside her office door; her partner Chris, was making a career change, allowing him to seamlessly transition into her business sidekick. With Chris expertly handling the operational stuff and back office shenanigans, D’nelle was free to get down to what she does best – serving clients.
And boy, did those clients start to change! As our long-standing customers began to expand their ventures, we simultaneously started attracting larger clients, complete with their own in-house marketing and IT departments. This was the proverbial lightbulb moment: our dedication to nurturing long-term client relationships not only catered to our existing clientele as they grew, but was also a perfect match for the internal marketing teams within mid-sized businesses.
In light of this expansion, in early 2023, we were thrilled to welcome our Senior Developer, Marissa, to the team. Her entrance not only doubled our capacity to provide exceptional technical website support, but she also brought with her a wealth of expertise in automations and integrations. This broadened our scope, enabling us to offer elevated digital marketing support, further enriching the service experience for our clients.
Our ethos remains the same – we’re at our absolute best when we’re knee-deep in understanding a business, knowing not just their growth ambitions, but the reasoning behind decisions made over the years. Today, and while our small business origins will always be a part of our narrative, we’re focusing primarily on serving organizations boasting their own internal marketing teams (even teams of one). We’re the techy yin to their creative yang, and there’s nothing we love more than bolstering brilliant marketing strategies, helping companies generate leads, and amplify their brand. The Berry has truly flourished, and we’re excited for what’s to come.