The Ostroms started a food blog as a hobby. They ended up with a suite of brands employing 20 people.
Lindsay Ostrom, then a fourth-grade teacher, created her blog, Pinch of Yum, in 2010. Within a year, she and her husband, Bjork Ostrom, decided to try monetizing it. So Bjork, who worked at a nonprofit leading retreats for students, started studying WordPress web development.
“I think that maybe one of our greatest advantages has been our ignorance in thinking we can do all this stuff – and then you get in and then you just have to do it,” Bjork said on the “In the Trenches” podcast.
Over the next decade, they left their day jobs and went all in on blogging and creating tools for fellow food bloggers to set up, optimize and monetize their websites. Bloggers flocked to them as the Ostroms offered easier ways to do things, specializing in WordPress plug-ins.
In 2022, they sold one of their companies, WP Tasty, for an undisclosed sum to Strategy11. The Ostroms declined to comment for this story, but they’ve released a lot of information over the years, including publishing monthly income reports for more than five years.
Building products to solve their own challenges — then sharing them
The Minnesota couple released their first tool in 2012. It was Food Blogger Pro, a membership program for food bloggers to learn how to set up, optimize and monetize their websites. Then they noticed another need among food bloggers and added a nutrition label generator in 2014.
By fall of 2015, Food Blogger Pro on its own was bringing in $300,000 per year, Bjork Ostrom said on the “In The Trenches” podcast.
Then in 2016, WP Tasty was born, offering the first of several products: the Tasty Recipes plugin to help WordPress food bloggers format their recipes. They tested the concept with a waitlist model and released the plugin to the public in 2017.
Then they increased their product offerings by developing Tasty Pins, which lets bloggers add Pinterest pin descriptions to images, and Tasty Links, which facilitates affiliate links in blog posts.
By early 2020, the team had nearly 1,000 active subscriptions across Tasty Recipes and Tasty Pins. At the time, Tasty Recipes cost $79 per year and Tasty Pins cost $29 per year.
Bjork Ostrom said in a 2019 episode of the Food Blogger Pro podcast that a major indicator of success for WP Tasty plugins was a low churn rate. “That means people aren’t canceling once they sign up,” he explained. “These are our sticky products, meaning once people use them, they want to continue to use them.”
A factor in keeping users once they subscribed was a commitment to ongoing support.
“That’s one of the most important things with software, especially with WordPress, that you have incredible support available,” he said, specifically mentioning three team members who handled the support side of the WP Tasty products at the time.
WP Tasty has experience on both sides of the negotiating table
The Ostroms didn’t build this set of products by themselves. The Food Blogger Pro and WP Tasty teams grew over the years, hiring remotely to bring on candidates with the skills they needed.
Along the way, WP Tasty acquired Simple Recipe Pro, another recipe plugin that wanted to hand off operations to a company with similar expertise. That 2019 acquisition allowed Simple Recipe Pro plugin users to transfer their license to Tasty Recipes for a limited time period before ending support for the old plugin.
In 2019, they launched a blog management system called Clariti, and in 2021, they acquired Curbly, a DIY design community.
In spring of 2022, TinyBit — the umbrella over Pinch of Yum, Food Blogger Pro, WP Tasty, Clariti and Curbly — had about 20 employees.
But as that umbrella has gotten larger, the team has also recognized when to let some pieces go.
Bjork said TinyBit used Quiet Light brokerage to connect with Awesome Motive, which had previously invested in Strategy11 through its M&A program. Awesome Motive made the introduction to Strategy 11, another small company specializing in WordPress plugins for content creators. Strategy11’s other products include AWP Classifieds, Formidable Forms and Business Directory Plugin.
(For more businesses that worked with Quiet Light brokerage to sell, check out Soap Hub, Software4Nonprofits, Locker Lifestyle and Elementary Librarian.)
In November 2022, TinyBit sold WP Tasty and Nutrifox, its nutrition label creator, to Strategy11.
“As these businesses and products have grown, we came to realize that the best home for these products would be with a company that focuses entirely on WordPress plug-ins and software development,” Bjork Ostrom said in the announcement. “So we started to look for potential acquirers who could dedicate the time and resources needed to continue developing and evolving the products.”
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