About Us

Our story, and reason for being.

The Beginning

Escape Creative was formed in May 2009 by two friends & former colleagues, Dave Warfel & Joanna Weber, in Richmond, Virginia. The idea was simple: create beautiful, affordable websites for small business owners, and provide exceptional service whenever they needed it. At the time, it was our honest belief that very few companies were delivering the high-quality product that they promised (and were charging for).

Design. Performance. SEO. Analytics. Certain aspects of web design are non-negotiable. And so we began delivering on all fronts.

Discovering WordPress

Shortly after the journey began, we discovered WordPress. Many of our clients wanted to manage their own website, and WordPress allowed us to build on top of a platform that put the power back into the hands of small business owners. Not only that, it opened a world of possibility for us to deliver more advanced features through the use of plugins.

We wasted no time in teaching ourselves how to build custom themes with the world’s greatest CMS. We had the pleasure of working with some amazing clients over the next several years, and building some really awesome stuff.

Giving Back

We amassed a wealth of knowledge over the years, and in 2013, decided it was time to start giving back to the WordPress community. We launched WP Smackdown to teach others about WordPress, and help small business owners make informed decisions about WordPress hosting, themes & plugins.

The goal was also to make a little money in doing so, but I’ll be the first to admit, we didn’t have a real plan. Advertising revenue was almost non-existent. We were able to generate some affiliate sales, but our commitment to our readers (over offering paid/sponsored reviews) wasn’t enough for us to quit our day jobs.

One Man Show

During this time, Joanna moved on to designing products and user experiences with another company in Richmond.

I moved on as well. My journey brought me to Boulder, Colorado in February of 2017, where I did exactly what I said I couldn’t afford to do…

Quit My Day Job

That’s right. I did it anyway.

I believe in the future WP Smackdown. I believe in my ability to create unique & truly helpful content. And there are no shortage of wonderfully-developed, human-supported WordPress themes & plugins to share with the community (and make a few bucks in the process of recommending them).


You know when your computer or smartphone starts running slow or freezing up? You don’t need to run off and buy a new one. It just needs a reboot and it’s as good as new.

The new escapecreative.com is just that—a reboot.

WP Smackdown began as a side project, and despite my effort to turn it into something more, it wasn’t working. Publishing free content with no real strategy to make money is not a business.

WP Smackdown began to freeze up on me. I began to freeze up. We both needed a reboot.

What’s Now

In some ways, not much is changing. My commitment to design, performance, SEO, analytics & WordPress is stronger than ever. My desire to provide an authentic, remarkable customer experience will always lay the groundwork for everything I do.

But Escape Creative is now more than just a web design company. We offer…

  • online courses, to help you expand your skillset
  • WordPress plugins, to enhance your website
  • custom solutions, when you’re ready to take it to the next level

What’s Next

I’m a teacher at my core. I love sharing my knowledge & experience, helping people learn new things. And I have much more to give.

For the remainder of 2018, I’m dedicated to producing educational content and sharing it with as many people who are willing to listen.

If you made it this far, I really appreciate you taking the time. Thank you for your support. And if there’s anything I can do for you, please get in touch.