ThemeForest dev opens own theme shop

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Matt Alexander has sold themes on ThemeForest for 2 years now, under the username digitonik. He’s ready to break free and start out on his own.

Matt decided to focus on the business side of themes, and offer them in a bundled fashion just like Elegant Themes is doing.

Matt’s new WordPress theme shop is called the “WP Business Bundle.” Props to Matt for being mindful and not violating the registered WordPress trademark owned by the WordPress Foundation.

I caught up with Matt and asked him why he made the move.

I can’t say it any better than he can, so here’s what he had to say.

  1. Older themes that do not sell thousands in the first few weeks do not really get the exposure I feel they deserve. I hate putting in hours or months of work on a theme only to see it barely being used. Creating my own store allows me to highlight older themes and bring them back to life. I never liked the fact that a beautiful theme barely gets used after a few weeks once it is bumped off the first or second page.
  2. With so many people joining in on the TF bandwagon it’s harder to compete with some of the ones who really have big exposure. I did fairly well on TF but I though I just could do better on my own.
  3. I do not like how they pay affiliates. A one time payment only on the first deposit is great for TF but not that great for the affiliate. I chose a subscription model. This way affiliates will get paid for the initial signup and also every month for the life of that customer. This I feel rewards the affiliate more and also keeps them promoting my theme shop for the long term. My affiliate program is not live but will be soon.
  4. Financially it was not making sense. Some people don’t mind it but I feel providing lifetime support for a $35 theme was just not a viable option and is kind of crazy. With a subscription model I only provide support to members who have an active subscription. I believe Elegant Themes does this as well. It is also kind of annoying to deal with support on TF. You have to deal with emails, a different thread for each theme, do I have a support forum or not? Just a lot of ways for support questions to fall through the cracks. With one focused support area I rarely miss a thing. Currently using TenderApp and it rocks!
  5. Back to the old debate from a few months back on theme prices. I like having the option to control the prices and also keep my themes and plugins all in one store. Just being able to control that aspect and also change things from customer feedback is great!
  6. One more thing to add. I think they (TF) completely under value the price of a great and functional plugin. With standalone plugin shops like Gravity Forms selling licenses anywhere from $39-$199. Authors could totally make sites for their plugins alone and do 10 times more sales with the higher prices.
  7. Overall my reason was just the entrepreneurial drive to try new things. I also like building a brand up from nothing and the excitement of growing it and having loyal customers is a great feeling.

All that to say, he is still likes ThemeForest and thinks they have a great service, but he had outgrown the need for the service. In fact, his website actually uses a theme purchased from ThemeForest, at least until he gets off the ground running and has time to develop his own theme for the shop.

11 thoughts on “ThemeForest dev opens own theme shop

  1. Wishing you the best luck, Matt! Hope it goes really well, and looking forward to seeing what new themes you have in the works 🙂

    Also, thanks for the feedback on your ThemeForest experience. You’re more than welcome to contact me if you have any more feedback, I’d love to hear from you.

    • Thanks Japh. I actually released my first responsive theme today! That was a lot of fun.

      You are also welcome for the feedback on my experience. I do still ThemeForest is a great option, just not a route I want to take at this time. Going at it in my own shop is part of the fun of entrepreneurship.

      Hopefully I can come up with some unique things to contribute the the community as a whole.

  2. Awesome – good for him.

    Well, I do somewhat feel for him too, as he’s using Wishlist Member for his membership signups. Ouch.

  3. Great to see your thoughts on all of this Matt. I am a HUGE fan of your themes and love how the theme store is going so far. Like anyone I’ve found some great stuff on Themeforest here and there. But it takes time to sift through them, and you it’s hit and miss. Your designs are consistent, so it’s win/win with this idea for everyone.

    Go get ’em Matt!

    Ben

  4. I wish Matt the best luck with the new shop! I fully agree with his reasons.

    Also for customers the ThemeForest marketplace (and the other ones from Envato) are very unfriendly: their “comment system” seems to be from the middle ages and the overall comment/faq/email system is not very effective in my opinion. It only some kind of works because most devs there are awesome guys taking the pressure of this environment and still offering awesome customer support.

    I’ve bought some plugins at CodeCanyon – of which the most are really great! – most devs react super fast on comments and emails!

    But the whole Envato system sucks a bit: handling of the zip archive files, the whole update system (non-existent, except the dev implements his own…), the changelogs (non existent, except the dev includes one…) and so on…

    Also the licenses and the affiliate system sucks! The licensing is un-transparent and the only real winner with that is Envato…

  5. I bought into Matt’s Theme Shop and have been very impressed so far. I also have Elegant Themes and the pricing model is very different, but the support from Matt has been amazing. The themes he is providing are perfect for what I do as well and just fit the sites that I build for my clients. I am very excited to see what he has coming out in the future. Great job Matt.

  6. The user experience for support on TF sucks for customers too. Lot of good stuff on there though.

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