This is the start of a new series of interviews that I will be conducting with theme and plugin providers over the coming weeks to help us get a better insight in to the running of such companies.
A relatively new Premium WordPress theme company that I came across recently, is Jakarta (Indonesia) based, Theme Warrior - I was struck by the nice design of their website and I liked the two premium themes they currently have an offer so I contacted the owner, Andra Yogi to see if he would be interested in doing an interview and he was happy to oblige.
How long have you been working with wordpress?
I've used WordPress since v1.3. At that time, I used it to build my personal blog. From there, I started to know more about WordPress.
What is it that first attracted you to it?
At that time, WordPress was still in it's early stages, and what first attracted me to it was how easy it was to install and configure.
What is your background? How did you come to owning a premium theme company?
I graduated in 2004 from a local university with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information System.
After graduating, I worked for several companies as a web designer. But then in late 2007, I decided to quit my daily job and become a full time freelance web designer.
During my time as a freelance web designer, I became more interested in several open source CMS', including WordPress. My passion for WordPress was getting stronger, so then I decided I should give the WordPress community something in return, and launched ThemeWarrior in mid 2008.
At first, ThemeWarrior only released 2 free WordPress themes and 1 free Joomla template, with great responses from people who were using it.
In April 2010, I started making plans to develop ThemeWarrior even more, create more amazing themes that will be easy to use and install and also provide premium support for the themes.
Finally in July 2010, I re-launched ThemeWarrior, together with a friend of mine who has years of experience in PHP.
How many themes did you launch with?
Currently, the newly re-launched ThemeWarrior has 2 themes available; HardWork and BreakingNewz, and we plan to release more themes in the future. Right now, there's one theme that is still in the development process and hopefully it could be released sometime this month. BreakingNewz theme was released for free, which means anyone can download it without having to pay a penny, except when they need support for the theme.
We plan to continue to release free themes in the future as our contribution to the WordPress community.
How do you see the current state of the premium themes market?
I think the current premium themes market is still large, but the competition is getting tighter.
There are tons of commercial WordPress themes providers out there, but only several who provide great support and have excellent designs. I also noticed the recent trend of several premium themes companies merging or collaborating with other theme companies.
What do you think about the recent GPL discussions? Do you release your themes under the GPL?
I saw the tension rising on both sides (GPL and non GPL supporters), but I'm glad that in the end, it came to a happy ending.
We release all of our themes 100% GPL including the artworks.
A designer wants to start supplementing his income by selling wordpress themes,
Would you recommend they start their own theme company or sell via a middleman such as ThemeForest?
I think both are good plans. When selling via marketplace like ThemeForest, you'll only receive 50%-70% of your earnings, but you barely have to do anything to promote your themes because ThemeForest will take care of that for you.
On the other hands, setting up a theme company will make you get 100% of your sales money, but you'll also have to spend some of your earnings to promote your themes and drive targeted traffic to your site.
Any more tips for budding theme designers?
Keep on innovating!
How do you keep support requests to a minimum?
Create a support forum! That way, your customers can search to find out if their issues or problems have already been solved. Using a forum will also make your member-based community grow, don't be surprised if someday you see members help each other in the support forum.
Where do you see the premium theme industry in 12 months?
With WordPress 3.x being released several months ago, I see many commercial theme developers try to extend their themes, and to build almost anything with WordPress. I also think there will be a lot more players in the premium theme industry, making the competition a lot tighter next year.
Thanks a lot for your time :)
You're welcome Oliver. Thanks for having us on WPLift!