Note: This is a scan of a newspaper article clipping. The article has disappeared off of the web and the original publication, LNK News, is now defunct. We pulled a copy from our records and created a high-resolution scan for historical and archival purposes. The original article is dated March 1, 2018 and appeared in LNK News. The author is Stefania Lewicki. The original transcript was pulled from Lewicki's clippings.me profile. All transcription remains true to the original article. It has been preserved for journalistic integrity and transparency. As such, grammatical mistakes and formating errors may exist. The original article can be downloaded in PDF format here.
Pixel Bakery Motion Studio is not what it sounds like. Jordan Lambrecht, co-founder and creative, laughed when saying there are a lot of sad and confused secretaries when they realize Pixel Bakery is not bringing baked goods to their business.
Instead, what they bring is unique and personalized animation, videography, motion graphics, and a basket of other creative goodies for your business. Their work ensures that they adhere to the brand of a business while adding their own splash of creativity.
Interestingly, the name emerged from a typo in a text message Jordan was sending to the group. They were throwing out ideas back and forth and he texted out “Pixel” and then another word that started with a “B”, which was autocorrected to “Bakery.” They decided to just go with it and of course, were able to take that autocorrection and add their own creative spin to it.
Jordan and his two co-founders Karley Johnson and Tony Bertino met at Jacht, which is the College of Journalism and Mass Communication’s student-run advertising agency. Nearing graduation, they grew frustrated with minimal job prospects, despite holding college degrees. There were a few interviews here and there, but nothing really stuck.
Jordan became involved with motion design animation towards the end of Jacht and they worked together on a project for a client. With educations in advertising, art, and journalism, they casually began discussing starting a creative shop but were unsure of what the ultimate goal would be.
Looking around Lincoln and Omaha, it was apparent that there were a lot of very talented freelance animators out there. The idea of opening their own company sounded appealing, but they knew it would have to be different enough and not in direct competition with other small agencies.
Tony said there appeared to be a market opening for an animation-focused creative shop. He realized there were not many companies where this was their main focus, so they decided to go for it. Jordan admits it was scary at the beginning. “My mother said you’re single, not married, no kids, young, so you have literally nothing to lose,” he laughed. Once their niche was established and the confidence to go forward emerged, they went all in. Pixel Bakery has been successful, and they are doing great. On February 17th, they attended the American Advertising Awards for Nebraska (also called the ADDY awards). They were awarded two golds and three silvers in five different categories. Being up against some rather large and experienced advertising agencies is quite an accomplishment.
Winning these awards has given them validation in their work which is helpful when competing against agencies like Swanson Russell. The three of them understand that they are young and do not have as much experience, but they will not let that stop them. They use their age and youthfulness to their advantage and admit that it makes them scrappier and more thorough in their work.
The award for the ADDYs was a plaque that hangs proudly in their sunlit open space at Turbine Flats. Pixel Bakery moved into this office area in May of last year and the new space has re-energized them. “You are a victim of your environment with creativity. If you feel stifled, your work becomes stifled,” Jordan said.
Being surrounded by other creatives at Turbine Flats keeps their motivation going. “When we see other people excited about their work, it helps us get excited about our work as well,” Karley said.
As far as roles go, they all identify as co-founders. On top of that, Tony is the account director. Jordan and Karley go by the title “Creatives” because they wanted to keep it as simple as possible.
Jordan does most of the animation and design work, while Karley handles the print, spread design, and post-production work. As the account manager, Tony manages the projects and acts as the liaison between the creatives and the clients.
Pixel Bakery has gone through some part-time employees and interns and hopes to hire three more people at the end of the year. They would like to expand and 2018 will be a big year for them. You hear about scalability often with Lincoln’s growing start-up community. This year will be big in terms of scaling for Pixel Bakery. However, they are not in a big rush. What is important to them right now is producing good work and the rest will come over time.
Being young entrepreneurs, they have some advice for anyone wanting to start a business. Karley said that you need to be confident in yourself. “There will be a lot of rough patches. You have to persevere and get through it,” she said. You also need to be extremely passionate about what you are doing. If you do not have the passion, then you are going to get lost.
Jordan said it is easy to just give up. “You have to have a certain level of stubbornness and extreme drive,” he said.
Tony said, “If you are going to start a company, make sure you know why and what you are wanting to do. There are a lot of creative shops in the 1-10 employee size. You are not going to be a giant ad agency in the beginning of your first year.”
The three co-founders admit that there have been times where they felt like giving up. This is true of nearly any business though, and they say you have to just know that better weeks are coming. Tony explained that there will be weeks that are slower than others, but what makes it okay is that you know better weeks are ahead.
Karley, Jordan and Tony also continued to stress that you need to be different enough in your company because there is an incredible number of good designers in Nebraska. What sets Pixel Bakery apart is that they are not out there trying to undermine or compete with other agencies. Karley explains that they see themselves as an asset to other agencies. “We’re not necessarily competing. We like to work with them.” Uniqueness to the brand of a company is something that also makes Pixel Bakery stand out. There are many websites available that will put together an animation for you for an inexpensive fee, but you are left with stale and unoriginal content. It takes one look at Pixel Bakery’s website to know that there is a sprinkle of uniqueness thrown into the mix. What is even more impressive is the bootstrap way the three of them funded their company. Working second jobs, they were able to self-fund their business. On top of running Pixel Bakery, Jordan and Karley teach at the University of Nebraska. Jordan teaches Interactive Story Telling 425 and Karley teaches Introduction to Graphic Design.
Karley’s favorite part so far has been to see the impact of what their finished work can do. She loves seeing the creativity leave their hands and impact businesses. Tony enjoys the ongoing relationship with their clients. They worked with the Child Advocacy Center and their creative production helped them raise more money than the year before. “When you see the real impact of the work, especially with non-profits and the tangible results, it is really rewarding,” Tony said. 30% of the clients Pixel Bakery works with are nonprofit organizations, and this is intentional.
Pixel Bakery Motion Studios is a company that was founded on hard work, creativity and self-confidence. Being young business owners can be overwhelming and intimidating, but Jordan, Tony and Karley take it all in stride and roll with whatever comes their way. The creativity and uniqueness of their designs and productions are getting noticed, and rightfully so.