Designblendz has made the 2020 Philadelphia100®, marking the third time in a row the architecture, visualization, and development company has been recognized among the fastest-growing companies in the region. Here’s how we got here.
2011: A new blog launches
Before Designblendz CEO Brian Corcodilos was managing the Manayunk-based company, he was an architecture student at Philadelphia University (now Jefferson University). One night in early 2011, he got an idea: why not start a blog about the innovation that happens when architecture and other design disciplines— such as fashion design, industrial design, and graphic design—start overlapping? He ran the idea by a few classmates, and they got to work launching the new blog, appropriately named “Designblendz.”
Before long, they noticed hundreds of people were tuning in per week.
At a school event, an alum approached Brian and asked if the team could make a 3D rendering that they talked about on their blog. “At this point, we didn’t realize what this could become. We just realized we could also do services, and it was fun to do,” he said.
Other work started to trickle in—and then, in Brian’s fifth year of school, a phone call came in from an intern at a New Jersey-based company, who had found them by conducting a Google search for architectural models. The company’s leadership invited the team into their office and asked for proof of insurance, liability insurance, and so forth. They left that day with their first five-figure job.
It was a pivotal moment: Brian realized it was time to make this an official business and start an LLC.
As school continued, the newly founded Designblendz LLC was gaining momentum. Upon graduation in 2013, however, Designblendz was still only a secondary focus for the team. The early founders had started full-time jobs, and would complete client work after hours. “I was working from 6:00pm to 2:00am every day on Designblendz work. I was doing the writing, marketing, client work, and talking to clients—everything. It was nonstop,” Brian shared.
The Designblendz team in 2016
2014: The side hustle turns full-time
In February 2014, Brian's employer offered him a buyout for Designblendz. It was a compelling offer, but he respectfully declined—he had decided to take a leap of faith and dedicate 100% of his time to this venture. “That was the first time I had no idea where my next paycheck was going to come, and my student loans were kicking in," he said. Fortunately, some projects were underway to keep him going.
Working out of a row home on Ripka Street with a few full-time employees and occasional interns, the company’s business development, client acquisition, and production ramped up. Their three pillar divisions were also established: Architecture, Visualization, and Construction.
With all of this growth, they were quickly running out of space. In November 2014, the team moved into an office building on Main Street in Manayunk, where they are based today—and continue to expand in.
"People have fun here and want to come to work. I've had employees tell me they used to make excuses at their old job, and now they're telling me they are excited to come to work.”
Brian Corcodilos, CEO of Designblendz
2020: The company continues to grow amid a pandemic
Over the past several years, the company has grown at a rapid rate—even during the pandemic. Staying true to the original vision, they hire professionals from design disciplines who overlap with architecture, including software developers, 3D animators, interior designers, and construction managers.
The team can't hire fast enough, and they win over new employees with their supportive culture and core values: passion, quality, transparency, honesty and integrity, leading by example, and never settling.
What else contributes to their success? “Most architectural firms aren't taking a big enough part in the real estate process, and it is costing people money,” Brian explained. Because Designblendz’s architecture, visualization, and construction teams work closely together, real estate developers save significant time and expense. "For too long, the building process has been backwards. Now we're helping these businesses streamline the whole process, while continuing to raise the standard of how physical and virtual environments get built."