chris esplin

Project Summary

My wife Melissa and I began developing in late 2011.

Melissa is a calligrapher and had begun teaching local classes. I was just learning how to develop basic CRUD apps using the Symphony2.0 PHP framework.

I took a month off between jobs and built the first iteration of We launched in early 2012 and I went full-time on the project in the Spring of 2013. I stayed on the project full-time until our sales faltered in 2017. earned our family well over $200k/year through its peak. Unfortunately, market forces and our own waning interest in marketing led to a dramatic loss in revenue from 2016 through 2017. I re-emphasized my consulting business during this time, but that business had its hiccups as well, leading me back to full-time employment with Pluralsight and then Workfront


The latest iteration (v4) of is built on Firebase with React/Next.js for the front-end.

I built it as a distributed system on top of Shopify, GitHub, Vimeo and Firebase Cloud Functions.

Shopify handles all shopping and checkout. GitHub and Vimeo host our content. Firebase Cloud Functions is the glue that connects everything together and provides the APIs that the front-end app needs.

Calligraphy is my first big project in Next.js and it went off without a hitch. I also broke some new ground for myself by building out a CI/CD system within a Docker container. is the proto-project for everything that I've done since. It's stable and I no longer develop on it. I'm crossing my fingers that it'll last a few more years.