Thad Allender is a design and product entrepreneur based in New York. He specializes in e-commerce development for community-driven companies.
Thad was born in western Kansas and spent most of his youth in a town oddly named Protection, population 547. He developed a strong interest in the arts, nature and learning about the first Americans and their cultures that preceded his existence on The Great Plains.
He graduated with a journalism degree from Kansas University in the winter of 2002. After graduation, he loaded into a 1986 Chevrolet cargo van and drove to Chiapas, Mexico where he lived and worked with a Zapatista community deep in the Lacandona Jungle.
BMX & commuting by bike are also passions of his. Documenting BMX during his teenage years ultimately led him to photography and helped shape his direction in life as a visual communicator.
In 2007, Thad founded Graph Paper Press, a web development company focused on creating tools and designs for creatives using WordPress, an open-source web publishing system. The products he created solved a big problem for photographers online: they all needed a simple, easy way to make photography websites. The solutions at the time involved Flash, a clunky, insecure piece of web software. Thad started tinkering with a new piece of blogging software called WordPress, and soon created a handful of theme designs that thousands of photographers quickly started using to power their photography websites. By 2010, Graph Paper Press had grown substantially, serving nearly 100,000 users world-wide and grossing over $1M in revenue. Ten years later, Graph Paper Press is still growing with over 500,000 users.
In 2017, Thad launched his second company, Visual Society, to help photographers and artists sell online. Visual Society makes it dead simple for photographers to sell photos online with drop-shipping print products, self-fulfilled products, and marketing automation. The platform solves common pain points that photographers and artists experience when trying to use generic e-commerce platforms.
Prior to founding his companies, Thad worked as a multimedia producer at USA TODAY where he created online interactive stories on a wide-range of topics, including President Barack Obama’s inauguration, religion, and health care.
Thad was the director of photography for the Lawrence Journal-World from 2005-2008, where he directed a team of photographers and visual journalists responsible for all the photographic content for “the newspaper of the future” (as described by The New York Times, 2005).
Clients & Awards
His photographic and multimedia work has been commissioned by USA TODAY, NPR, National Geographic Traveler and The New York Times. A few of his projects won national awards, including the Associate Press Managing Editors Award for Online Convergence – Mining’s Legacy: A scar on Kansas and NPPA Best of Photojournalism – First Place, In-depth Web – 24 Hours in the E.R.
Thad lives with his wife Abby in the Catskills in upstate NY where they work remotely from the woods, enjoy gardening, raising chickens, hiking, biking, cooking and swimming.
- Change is inevitable. Adapt.
- Demos, not memos.
- Don’t forget the neediest.
- Well done is better than well said.