Interview with Nick Roach of Elegant Themes
Premium WordPress themes are obviously very popular right now. One of the premium theme marketplaces that is very interesting to me is Elegant Themes. With Elegant Themes you can purchase a one year theme club membership and get access to all of their themes for less than $20 per year.
Elegant Themes currently offers more than 20 different themes, and many have multiple color schemes or styles to choose from. With the club membership you also get access to the support forum and theme upgrades.
I recently had the opportunity to interview Nick Roach, the man behind Elegant Themes. Nick has sponsored some giveaways here in the past, and people really love his themes. Hopefully if you’re already familiar with Nick and Elegant Themes this will give you a little insight into his life and his business, and if you’re not familiar with Elegant Themes, please take a minute to see what Nick has to offer.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background in web design and how you got started?
I first entered the world of design in 7th grade (~8 years ago) when I decided that my band needed its own website. I slapped together something as best I could at the time – just copying and pasting code from various sites. I can still remember that terrible design. Its black background, scrolling red text, tables with large beveled borders, some frames and animated gifs all hosted for free on Angelfire.com.
Suffice it to say my band didn’t top the charts and as my musical determinations faded I was left with a new found interest in design. It didn’t take long for me to become fascinated with the Internet, and soon I found myself scouring the web for tutorials on my new favorite toy: Photoshop.
At the time, and to this day, everything I know has been learned online, and as I continued to learn from various tutorials sites I decided to make my own to share my discoveries. That is when I started Voidix.com, which is still online today, though I haven’t touched it for quite some time. It’s amusing to look at those tutorials as some of them are pretty bad, and you can tell that they were written by a newbie 8th grader (me) so long ago! Eventually I started creating designs professionally which has lead to several different sites over the years, the most recent one being ElegantThemes.com.
What was your motivation for starting Elegant Themes?
ElegantThemes started as just a place for me to experiment with WordPress and expand my knowledge. A digital playground if you will, in which I now invite people to dabble. I am a full time college student majoring in Graphic Design, however, I am also intrigued by the coding aspect of web development. ElegantThemes provides me a medium to grow as a developer alongside my education in design. I also simply enjoy doing it, which is, undoubtedly, my major underlying motivation.
Do you have anyone helping you with theme development and customer service at this point?
No, it’s just me at the moment, but I don’t play on it being that way forever. I just need to find the right people to work with. I look forward to when that day comes, as I thoroughly enjoy collaboration.
Your membership system is a little different than most premium theme sellers that offer licenses of individual themes. What was your reasoning behind that decision, and how have customers responded to this business model?
I enjoy the community aspect of the blogsphere and felt that creating a membership-based system would be most effective. I also wanted to set myself apart from other paid-theme developers by providing the best deal possible. I feel that my customers have responded well to this model, and I plan on continuing with the “theme club” system into the future.
At less than $20 per year, Elegant Themes is priced very low compared to other premium theme marketplaces. Why did you decide to price it this way?
I just wanted to make the themes accessible to as many people as possible. I also felt that the WordPress theme market was not over-saturated yet and that creating an affordable business model would be possible due to the large WordPress user base.
Do you have any future plans for Elegant Themes that you’re able to share with us?
My only real plan is continue along the path that I have started. That means continued theme releases/theme updates and improved customer support. The path is inclined, which means I don’t plan to simply maintain the state ElegantThemes, but improve it. Only time will tell what will happen, but I am always open to new opportunities and I feel like this is only the beginning. Stay tuned!
Do you have plans to release any themes for specific purposes (such as for real estate agents, portfolio sites, gallery sites, job boards, etc.), or primarily general themes?
Definitely. I wouldn’t say I have any “specific” plans, but I certainly see niche themes being important in the future. As WordPress to continues to grow and the use of WordPress continues to expand beyond the blogsphere niche themes that cater to sites using WordPress as a CMS will be in high demand. I think theme designers have an opportunity to change/expand the way WordPress is used, so I am excited to see what people come up with in the future!