On January 1st, 2014 a brand new theme shop called AcademiaThemes opened its doors for business. The new theme shop is operated by Dumitru Brinzan who also co-founded WPZoom.com. This isn’t the first niche theme shop that he’s launched. He’s also the man behind HermesThemes, a theme shop dedicated to hotels. I reached out to Dumitru to find out more information about his latest business venture.
What inspired you to create a theme company squarely aimed at the academia sector?
In the past I have designed a couple of education WordPress themes, which customers enjoyed. This made me think that my design and development style could be a good fit for this sector.
What lessons have you learned through the launch of HermesThemes that you’ll apply to AcademiaThemes?
HermesThemes taught me a couple of things. The most important one is probably the difference in a customer’s psychology. The attitude towards a $199 product is much more respectful than towards a $50 product.
Why have you decided to do everything on your own instead of tapping into ThemeForest to sell niche themes?
ThemeForest doesn’t let you set your own price, which devalues an individual’s work. If the creator can’t price his own merchandise, then you are just an employee. I have added one theme to CreativeMarket though.
How did you create the Staff Directory and Course areas found within AcademiaThemes?
Those blocks are created using custom page templates combined with custom post types. All of our themes include about 8-10 custom page templates each.
Why did you decide to license AcademiaThemes under the GPL?
Are there any other license options? :)
What sets your themes apart from your competition?
My focus is on fast and clear customer support. Just like HermesThemes, support is provided not just via a forum, but by email and Skype as well.
During regular hours most questions and emails are answered in 5-15 minutes, not many can beat that. Also, I want to try something new with AcademiaThemes: each theme purchase includes one hour of free customization services. So if a customer likes the theme but requires just some minor styling changes, there is no need to hire someone else to do it, everything will be done in-house.
How did you come to the fixed price of $199 per theme?
The price is the same as at HermesThemes. It is not something that will fit everybody, but that is not the objective. With such a price, the themes will remain somewhat exclusive, and you can be sure that they won’t be used on other 10.000 websites.
If there is ONE selling point you’d like everyone to know about AcademiaThemes, what would it be?
I know how important customer support is, so I’m making sure that it is quick and reliable.
What Do You Think Of His Themes?
Looking at how Dumitru has set up his theme business, is there anything you see that he could improve upon to help him succeed? What do you think of the three themes available for AcademiaThemes?