When Vanessa Kreckel started Two Paperdolls (now known as TPD Design House) at the kitchen table of her home in 2001, she didn’t imagine her business would grow into a full-service design agency in Wayne, Pennsylvania with 35 full time employees.
“What began as a one-person, then two-person design shop was built through a passion to design and produce cool things,” said Vanessa. “I didn’t really have a plan, but I knew that doing this on the side while working full time was not sustainable. So, I struck out on my own.”
Instead of replacing Vanessa, her employer at the time, the University of Pennsylvania Athletic Department, became her first client, which helped her get started as she built a presence in the wedding industry.
“I started out designing invitation suites for weddings with the goal of portraying couples’ real-life love stories,” said Vanessa. “Each of my clients’ stories were unique, but the wedding invitation industry was limited in creating custom designs on a mass scale.”
Vanessa’s work quickly garnered acclaim from national wedding magazines, and as the business grew TPD Design House began bringing in new types of work, and some high-profile clients like CBS/Paramount, Google, and Facebook.
And when the COVID-19 pandemic changed the events business, Vanessa and her team quickly pivoted to creating packaging designs, with items being delivered to homes for virtual events.
“I’m so proud of our team. We rallied together and by the time 2020 wrapped up, we had matched our 2019 revenues. We couldn’t have done it without our strong culture and love for what we do, and for each other. We’re like family.”
The TPD Design House culture is grounded in respect and maximizing employees’ talents that complement one another.
“People are heard and respected for who they are and for their talents,” said Vanessa. “We are a diverse group of people. We have great times and we have hard times. But we appreciate what we have and support each other, and that makes people want to stay. These relationships really drive our culture and our business.”
When some hard times hit at the beginning of the pandemic, Vanessa leaned on her relationship with WSFS Bank’s Small Business Team Leader, Jennifer Sandner. Having worked with Jennifer and the WSFS team for more than three years, Vanessa knew where to turn when she needed to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
“I feel it’s important to surround myself with people who know what they are doing in areas of the business that are not my strengths, and that includes business partnerships” said Vanessa. “When I first met Jennifer, she opened my eyes to new funding strategies to grow the business. In a very short time, we grew exponentially. And I knew I could count on WSFS during tough times, just as I have during the good times.”
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