Interview with Zack Smith from Allur.co
I recently came across a theme company on themeforest called Allur and was immediately impressed with their high quality, minmal looking themes. They currently have 3 themes up for sale and on their corporate website they offer a whole host of freebies, in the way of .PSD files, for you to download. I contacted the owner Zack Smith for an interview and he kindly accepted, so here it is …
It says on your site, you have 3 founders – could you give us some background on who works at Allur?
Yes, there are indeed three of us. Rogers is the man behind all of the back-end development and the serious tech support. He builds all of our frameworks and is responsible for the development of all of our custom scripts from the ground up. Rogers has mad experience building robots and handling small electronics. He also has a vast amount of programming knowledge and knows how to get our themes up and running.
Jeff is our resident photographer who also gained a background in electronics while serving in the Marines. He handles our business matters and takes care of our theme support and documentation.
As for me, I have been big into illustration since I was very young. I moved over to the digital world about 4 years ago. I have been on a never ending quest to conquer Photoshop ever since.
Could you tell us how you got started with WordPress?
We got started with WordPress for our client projects as far back as 2007, working with customers on an individual basis. When we became a collective unit, WordPress was the most ideal choice for our clients. We loved being able to use “in-house content management” as a selling point. We have also found WordPress to be incredibly useful and seemingly hassle-free, however at this point, we are just a little biased. =)
You give away lots of freebie PSDs on your site,
Do you find this helps bring in traffic and drive sales of your themes?
The freebies most definitely bring traffic to our site and we have noted many specific searches in our analytics. It seems that one of the most important elements of “theming” is maintaining a presence on a regular basis. If you are consistently producing, people see that you are keeping your finger on the pulse and participating as an active member of the community. A fail safe way to increase traffic is to build a following and continue providing visitors with quality content.
Your themes look very neat and well coded,
Could you recommend any online sources for learning to code WordPress themes well?
Some sites that we highly recommend for tutorials would have to be lynda.com, wp.tutsplus.com, stackoverflow.com and of course, wordpress.org. Learning to code takes a lot of hard work and dedication but it is a very rewarding skill set to possess. There are certainly not enough great developers in the world so, by all means, go out there and learn all of the programming you want!
What sites do you visit to keep up to date with the web design world?
Where do you get inspiration for designing your themes?
Design inspiration comes from many different places, not the least of which are Themeforest greats such as Brandon Jones, Kriesi, Orman Clark and Mike Mcalister. I also like to browse Dribbble and check out all of the latest submissions to Creattica.
At the moment you sell through Themeforest – any plans to sell on your own ?
As of right now we have no plans to sell on our own. We will go out on a limb and say that it will not likely happen in the future either. Themeforest is a great place for designers/developers who are not fans of dealing with large scale client projects. It is rather refreshing to put in all of the hard work then let auto pilot take over. Handling customer support and updating themes is far more enjoyable (for us) than client meetings and sales pitches.
I saw on your twitter feed you have 3 themes in the pipeline – could we get a sneak preview of any of those ?
Well, yes…disclosing shots of what we are working on is something that we hope to start doing more often. Having just launched our third theme on Themeforest, we are now starting to find our groove. Our process is finally beginning to fall into place and we are hoping to implement many more methods of sharing our projects. We will be posting some previews for our upcoming themes on dribbble.com/allur in the near future.
Who do you admire in the WordPress world?
The community in general. How strong and big it is, how the software was engineered and how simple it is to use. Something that can empower and employ thousands of people around the world. If you really look at it, it is just amazing.
Do you have any advice for people wanting to sell their own premium themes?
Just do it! Of course you have to be good at what you do, exceptional is even better. Then, there is certainly a need for passion. A lot of hard work goes into ALL that we do, as I am sure that many in the community would agree. If you don’t love what you are doing or strive to achieve something better and better each time…you might be better off elsewhere. We are definitely still new to the game but, for us, this is something that we love to do.