Giant Themes closed its doors after one year and three themes

6 Comments

Mike Smith launched his own WordPress theme shop called Giant Themes in February of 2010. He then closed it down on the last day of 2010, citing low sales and an overall lack of motivation as reasons for moving on to other endeavors. Smith released three themes through Giant Themes during the nine months it was active: two for free and one paid called iSocialize. While the free themes saw nearly 5,000 downloads between them, the paid theme saw only three total purchases. Smith said that after the poor sales of iSocialize he couldn’t bring himself to put in the hours to create another theme, only to potentially have it sell so few again.

Smith says that in the end his heart just wasn’t in it:

When the premium theme market opened up, I was around and designing WordPress themes for clients. I watched as Adii blogged about starting WooThemes and never really thought twice about it. I then seen the flood of “Premium” theme sites pop up and knew that I had the skills to make killer WordPress themes (I was already doing it for clients) and that I would be able to compete. That was just not enough motivation for me to keep pushing the themes out and trying to make money selling premium WordPress themes.

The released themes have been discontinued and the Giant Themes domain now redirects to Smith’s own portfolio site. Smith has moved on to other entreprenuerial efforts he enjoys more, like his blog Guerilla Freelancing. You can follow him on Twitter at @gfreelancing.

With so many theme shops on the market competing can be tough. Is there enough room for independent or solo theme developers to sell their work? How can an independent best flourish in the current theme marketplace?

6 thoughts on “Giant Themes closed its doors after one year and three themes

  1. I can fully sympathize with Mike. It’s virtually impossible to keep count of how many commercial wordpress theme suppliers there are in the market. The market is flooded with suppliers at the moment and competition is cut throat. While theres a lot of average commercial themes are also some stunning designs popping up from new entrants. WooThemes, StudioPress and a few others have definitely benefited in a big way from first mover advantage. If they were starting now I’m not sure if they’d grow so quickly. It would be really difficult for new entrants at this point given the amount of competition. I think new entrants have to box really really cleverly to get ahead in this WordPress themes market. Pick a niche, make really useful themes that serve that niche better than anyone else and innovate like hell. Appthemes (I don’t work for them!) is probably a good example of niche focus.

  2. I agreed with Ed. There’s a lot of WordPress theme shop out there and it’s growing day by day. So, its becoming too hard to survive this, however, we can do something out of the box for the theme shop. Something that can give impact and people will continuously return to our theme shop.

  3. That’s sad to hear, but I guess if he wasn’t motivated enough to do it, then he did what he had to do. I do think that he still could’ve made money though by making some really killer themes and releasing them for free and relying on ad revenue or donations.

  4. It’s a real shame when business ventures fail, but unfortunately Mike was entering a crowded and saturated marketplace.

    I’ve lost count of the number of “premium” theme shops and stores I’ve seen created over the last couple of years. The ones that are successful are those that have dedicated business & marketing people driving them forward. If you’re a good theme designer/developer but lack business savvy, it doesn’t really make sense to set up your own shop. You’d be better of using one of the existing marketplaces such as ThemeForest in that case.

  5. Thanks for the write up and thanks to everyone for the comments.

    Yeah, I entered a market that was severely saturated and although I know that every market is profitable (ie: adult websites, for one) I just didn’t have the drive to continue pushing forward and felt like I was just going through the motions.

    Lesson learned: Do what you love and nothing else 🙂

  6. Just further to what Matt mentioned about using a marketplace like ThemeForest, it’s instructional to note that of the 888 themes on ThemeForest at this moment, the lowest sales count is 4 sales:
    http://themeforest.net/category/wordpress?x=20&y=5&order=asc&sort_by=sales_count&type=files&categories=wordpress&page=1

    And those are very much the exception. Putting a theme on Themeforest means exposing it to a very large pool of people who actively *buy* themes.

    Anyhow I’m completely biased since I work at ThemeForest/Envato, but still 🙂

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