Orman Clark is a WordPress theme author and the founder of Premium Pixels. Orman got started as a graphic designer in the British Armed Forces and has significant experience in web design, graphic design, and SEO with both large and small companies. Today, Orman is freelancing and creating WordPress awesomeness from the United Kingdom.
Orman’s latest ventures have been huge hits. In October, he launched Premium Pixels, a place to share free resources for designers. His excellent tutorials and freebies have made him quite popular in the design world and he already has over 4,600 followers.
He has also unleashed his design wrath over the last few months with three very successful themes on Theme Forest: Repro, Duplex, and Classica. His latest portfolio theme, Classica, has been wildly popular with nearly 200 sales in only four days.
Orman was kind enough to take a few minutes of his time to answer some of our questions about his recent success.
So, what made you decide to get into the commercial theme business, and how did you get started?
Actually, the commercial theme business was the next logical step for me. For a good few years I had been using WordPress for all of my client projects, many of them requiring custom widgets, options, colour schemes – all the “features” you might find in a commercial theme. During that time I had also started to build myself a theme framework (well, more of a blank theme actually) to speed up the process.
After yet another year of just client work, I had starting to grow a little tired of the process and was looking to try something a little different – themes were an obvious choice considering my experience and the relatively low entry to market (editor’s link).
Do you still do client work? If so, what makes you want to take on a new project?
I still take on the occasional client project yet I prefer to limit myself to just one client at a time. I find this keeps the motivation levels high and ultimately results in a better experience for both the client and myself. The types of project I love to take on are the ones that spark enough excitement and passion to keep me awake at night thinking of ideas – the designer’s dream/curse.
What factors went into your decision to sell themes on ThemeForest versus other marketplaces or setting up your own theme shop?
The main factors that went into the decision were speed and size of audience. Theme marketplaces in general make the entry into selling digital goods very quick and drastically reduce any risks involved. In effect, you can try out your skills on a ready made audience, a large one at that, and gauage the response. This was perfect for me as a starting point as setting up your own theme shop takes much more time to create, manage and promote – something I was short on when working with clients.
Would you ever consider starting up your own shop for direct sales at Premium Pixels, or perhaps joining up with another theme provider?
Direct sales, whether that is via Premium Pixels or a collaboration with another theme provider, is always an option and something that I will be exploring more and more in the coming months 😉
How do you think Premium Pixels (great site by the way) has affected your business? I see you already have well over 4,000 RSS readers – impressive!
I think Premium Pixels has been extremely beneficial despite being only three months old. While it was originally conceived as a design playground of sorts (and still is), it’s almost taken on the role of an evolving personal portfolio. I think those that have wanted to work with me are able to see a variety of work and styles that they may not have been exposed to on a regular portfolio site.
How would you rank the importance of the different aspects for success in the theme making business? Design, functionality, originality, docs, support?
There is no doubt that all of the above are import, yet I personally value design and support as two of the most important factors. If the customer cannot visualise their own content within your design, or the design is generally not the right fit for them, then there will be no sale regardless of the other factors. The after sales care is equally important, if not more, as your customers will end up making recommendations and repeat purchases, or choosing another vendor depending on their overall experience – support can often make or break that experience.
I see you made extra effort to create extensive documentation and setting up your own support forum. What made you want to go this extra mile, and do you think it’s paying off so far?
This really goes hand in hand with the previous question; with support playing such an important role in the theme industry it’s a key piece of the jigsaw to get right. We’re all guilty of being a little impatient at times and when it comes to parting with hard earned cash we expect things to “just work”. When customers are having trouble setting up themes I’d like to think an easy to understand set of docs and the ability to get answers quickly will help to ease any frustration and will ultimately be appreciated.
What advice do you have for other aspiring theme developers and bloggers?
My main advice would be to “just do it”, get yourself out there and make something happen. I myself have been guilty of paralysis-by-analysis with previous projects (which never saw the light of day – surprise!) when I would have been better off releasing and adapting. You can never really get a true sense of what will happen until you actually put the wheels in motion.
Any hints as to what we can expect next?
Absolutely… collaborations, themes, tutorials, products 🙂
I’d like to thank Orman for taking some time to answer our questions and we look forward to seeing what he has in the works going forward! If you’d like to stay in touch with Orman, follow him on Twitter, check out his shots on Dribbble, and stay tuned to both Premium Pixels and his personal website.