My name is Nando Pappalardo, founder of YITH (YIThemes). I was born in Acireale, a town in the province of Catania (Sicily), the first of the three children of my parents, Rosario and Carmela. As a boy, I loved computers and ventured into it with my Commodore 64.
The Journey Began
I started as a fish seller together with my dad when we opened a market stall. However, I continued studying my computer skills. In 2002 I left my families’ business to continue my studies and got a job as a certified Microsoft Trainer and Project manager.
When I met my future wife, Sara, we were both completely emerged in web design. But first I started my entrepreneurship building an IT and Consulting company, called EdiGroup.
It was in 2009 we developed the first WordPress theme. This was the first building stone of what later became YITH.
Later that year, we started a blog called Your Inspiration, a community blog that deals with topics related to graphic design, development, and WordPress.
Many of the themes became no1 seller on ThemeForest earning the company millions of dollars in the years to follow.
Responding to the many requests of YIW readers, in 2011, we organized a dedicated wed design event in Milan. The event was very successful and for this reason, it was repeated in Rome in 2013 and 2015.
The Need for Your Inspiration Themes (YIThemes)
In 2012 Your Inspiration Themes was born with the logo as it is now. The focus was very much on themes, as WooCommerce was hardly known by then. We slowly developed themes for e-commerce using the Woothemes’ plugin WooCommerce.
Some of the themes came loaded with additional functionality like the Ajax search and Ajax filter. These plugins became much in demand and around 2015 we made the shift to focus on developing WooCommerce Plugins.
In the last 5 years, this has grown to over 100 plugins. Each plugin was developed in house and most of them by developers that still work with us. This makes YITH so unique as each developer knows the plugin inside out and makes sure we have 100% compatibility using our own framework.
The company was started in Sicily and almost half of the staff still work from there. I moved with my family to Santa Cruz in Tenerife and we soon opened another office here, which is now filling up with another 20 staff.
Quite a few of the teamwork remotely in different cities and countries. We get together at least twice a year if the conditions let us, and when we are together, we work, eat, and have a brilliantly good time as a family.
Myself with my Brilliant Team
Nando Pappalardo Workplace
Advice for Business Owners
Always do your research and calculations, then stick to your instinct and dedicate your focus to making it happen.
If you want to be successful as an entrepreneur, you must work mainly on your constant personal improvements. Not only the technical notion but mainly focus on your personal attitudes, such as communication, leadership, security, ability to make decisions, control of fear, management of emotions, etc…
WordPress & Beyond
We plan to grow the business by offering more and making each product the best in the market. Some of the recent releases of plugins were designed from the ground up with a strong focus on UX and using new coding standards.
The POS, Catalog mode and Subscription plugins are some prime examples of what we are capable of.
The key is that WooCommerce remains the most popular open-source e-commerce platform out there. We plan to focus more on getting involved and dedicate time to the community and some code too.
With many free plugins and a new theme on wordpress.org, we want to give users the option to use WooCommerce for free. Or as Matt Mullenweg often mentions to ‘democratize e-commerce’.
Of course, we feel we have competition, but this makes us stronger and better too and for a consumer, it gives them a choice. If I was the consumer, I would prefer a platform with choices and the freedom to create as I liked.
My Love for the WordPress Community
We are actively involved in the WordCamps and Meetups. Last year we sponsored and attended over 20 WordCamps from Bristol to New York and Catania to Zaragoza. 2 of which had one or more of us on the organizing team. Also, we spoke at countless of Meetups or were co-hosted by our team, from London to Madrid. We also have someone co-organizing the WooCommerce Meetup in London not to forget. So you could safely say that we love the community and take every opportunity to be part of this phenomenal community.
How I Keep Myself Updated
Lately, I’ve been devoting more and more to reading that has to do with understanding the hidden side of the human mind. Often our choices, even the banalest, are influenced by factors that we don’t even realize. Understanding these mechanisms today I think is of fundamental importance.
Among the latest books read:
- Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations by Dan Ariely.
- Hostage at the Table: How Leaders Can Overcome Conflict, Influence Others, and Raise Performance by George Kohlrieser.
I Have a Life Other Than the Work
I love to read, watch TV series and play with my beautiful children. Usually, I spend holidays by living abroad, we have our families far away, so we often take advantage of them to visit our dearest relatives and spend time with them. At other times, we take our children and start to know and explore a new country.
In these last few years traveling so much, I fell in love with many places, amongst the most beautiful are surely Paris, New York, Barcelona, Madrid, and especially Seville which I was enchanted by.
I Reward Myself by
There are many ways in which we like to reward ourselves and celebrate our work successes: from traveling and getting to know new places, to spending more and more time with the family, rewarding employees, and helping people in all the ways we can, who are around us.