Lifted is a new WordPress theme and plugin company founded by Drew Poland that caters to the marijuana industry. I reached out to Poland to learn more about his company, his pricing model, and get his perspective on this space in the WordPress ecosystem.
Why did you decide to get into the marijuana industry with WordPress plugins and themes?
Two primary reasons. The first is that, I truly believe in its medicinal use and there’s more than enough research out to support its effectiveness.
Documentaries like Weed from CNN and Dr.Sanjay Gupta will bring you to tears watching children like Charlotte Figi, who suffer from extreme epilepsy, almost instantly stop the seizures and become functional with the things most of us take for granted like talking and walking.
It’s tough to watch at times but there are a lot of cases from the extreme ones like end of life and debilitating issues, to everyday pain, stress, and PTSD management that make it a valuable alternative to harder, more addictive prescription drugs like Opioids, that are most commonly thrown at these as a solution.
The second reason is less inspiring. It’s simply a budding industry with massive room for growth. It’s really just now coming around and I think will accelerate as it matures and the path will become clearer in terms of what clients need and want. An entire new industry has opened.
What are some of the technologies used to power your themes?
Everything is built the WordPress way so everyday users can for the most part, activate a theme and go. For the most part, its page templates, widgets, and some custom fields. If a user is comfortable with those than they can easily use a theme from Lifted.
Are your themes and plugins GPL licensed or GPL compatible?
Absolutely! Everything is 100% GPL licensed.
How did you determine the price range for Grape Ape $129.99-$379.99 and can you provide an ETA on when it might be released? (I don’t think I’ve ever seen pre-orders for a theme before)
I simply wanted to come in with a product priced on the higher end because I’m a firm believer that most WordPress products are priced entirely too low.
I value my time on the highest level since I can’t make more of it, so a sell low and at volume approach just doesn’t work for me. I don’t want to support a $50 theme and the reality is that if this were a custom project for a client, the budget needs to be $10k minimum.
The estimated release date for Grape Ape is the end of July.
The pre-order was a result of simply wanting to force myself to get the actual Lifted Themes site up. Otherwise, I would have waited until Grape Ape was complete and then spent entirely too much time on the Lifted site.
So I had to settle in with a good-looking theme I could live with and later work with my designer to develop something more custom. Had I really wanted to push the pre-order more I would have ramped up marketing months in advance to build up the anticipation and desire for it.
Based on your research, how crowded is this space when it comes to WordPress themes and plugins?
I would say it’s a clear lane and you can drive as fast or as slow as you like. I have been slow-moving up until this point and had the first marijuana plugin on WordPress.org, so there’s a lot of room.
The marijuana industry is also not what I would call mature and at the end of the day there is still a stigma in professional settings. So if you are someone building products on the side or have a lot of clients in a specific industry that isn’t so receptive, you might not feel comfortable broadcasting that you are working in this space.
Are there any legalities customers should be aware of before using your products?
If used as intended, no. At its core, Grape Ape is fitted for your typical run of the mill business website, that’s no different from a coffee shop.
At the moment, plugins are also in a clear zone. In the future, that may become more of a concern as services and tools are opening their APIs to connect dispensary back office systems with their web presence. That’s where things start to get tricky, more from a potential patient data view than anything else.