When I discovered TeslaThemes last year, their unique looking designs really impressed me. Since so many other theme shops have tried the theme club model and failed, I didn’t have much hope for them. However, the company is celebrating their first year of being in business.
The theme club model typically fails because it over promises and under delivers. The model is especially difficult for small 1-3 person businesses. While time is devoted to churning out new products, there also needs to be support in place for previously released items.
TeslaThemes co-founder, Marcel Sobieski, told me they have released two new themes per month since launching the business while maintaining a customer satisfaction rating of 98% based on their monthly surveys. Sobieski says one of the greatest challenges the company faced is their rapid growth. “The greatest challenge TeslaThemes overcame in the first year is the fact that we are one of the fastest growing and healthy Premium WP Theme Clubs with a very strong community and stable workflow.”
The company is part of the Red Sky group, a Polish investment firm. “The financial perspective wasn’t the most important concern. This gave us the opportunity to focus purely on quality and roll out. At the moment, we are financially independent and have great plans ahead” Sobieski said. This is a luxury not many theme shops get to take advantage of.
When asked what pivotal lessons were learned during the first year of business, Sobieski replied:
Quality. This is the essence of this business. There are thousands of WP themes on the market, many of them are free, many are ripped, many are stolen, but what a simple user or advanced design studio needs is actual quality. Before going live, every developer or designer must be sure they provide what the market needs plus something special, and not just duplicate existing and successful WP themes.
With some WordPress commercial theme business owners discussing whether WordPress themes have become a commodity, there is also the advice of concentrating on a specific niche. TeslaThemes plans on creating more themes to expand their catalog to cover more niches. If Chris Lema is right about theme purchasing patterns, it will end up being a good strategy.
For year number two, Sobieski says they’ll focus on co-operation with their customers while creating a 24/7 dedicated support channel. They’re also working on a new project called TeslaLab. TeslaLab is a dedicated paid customization center where customers can receive professional help with customizing their theme.
So far, the company has proven that the club model can work but is it a sustainable model for long-term success? Only time will tell.
Have you done business with TeslaThemes? If so, please share your experience in the comments.
So on the same day this gets published, TeslaThemes (who I’ve never heard of) also gets a free theme that hasn’t been updated in 6-months promoted to be a featured theme on WordPress.org. Hmm.
Oh look, a Sarah Gooding theme has also now been featured.
What exactly is going on here?