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?