I had the chance to interview the masterminds of WooThemes (formerly Premium News) to find out more about the guys and what they do. I hope you enjoy it! We are actually celebrating two things today so at the end of the post you can find out how to enter and win one of your own premium wordpress themes! I also want to thanks all of the guys at WooThemes for their hard work and putting some themes up for the contest!
Adii: How did Premium News evolve? Was it your love for wordpress and rockstar designs? :)
A: I think it all just started during the last part of 2007, when I realized that I could make a bit of extra cash from releasing paid WordPress themes. My initial idea was just to release some experimental designs (where I could improve my design & WP skills) and if I could earn some additional income from this, then I’d be happy.
The business has however become a very mature venture, as I now have 2 full-time, equal partners in Mark & Magnus; and the 3 of us have a whole bunch of users that needs our time and attention. To some extent I see WooThemes as a fully-fledged online business and even though we’re still juggling client work with WooThemes tasks, all 3 of us could commit to WooThemes full-time at this stage and just push out a theme every couple weeks.
Please tell us about your name, where did WooThemes come from?
A: I think I’ll leave this one to Magnus to explain… :)
Magnus: The WooThemes name came from a brainstorming session between me and Adii. I wanted it to have something to do with WordPress, but was tired of the usual ways to tie it in eg. by using WordPress or part of WordPress in the name. We knew we needed Themes as part of the name, so we wanted the rest to be short and catchy, so I suggested WooThemes since w00t is internet slang for “hooray”. This was catchy and had W from WordPress so we settled for that. The name has really grown on us and we are really happy with it.
I understand that you, Magnus Jepson, Mark Forrester and Elliot Jay Stocks were all part of the team on launch. How do you all become Woo Partners?
A: Magnus joined me after the very first theme that I did alone and thereafter I approached Mark – who is from Cape Town, SA as well – to join the two of us. When the three of us started to work on WooThemes in March of this year, we decided to offer Elliot a spot on our roster, since he was in the process of leaving Carsonified at that time. So it is very much an invite-only strategic partnership program…
Now that Elliot has branched off and doing more consulting for you is that going to help or hurt the Team?
A: We wish Elliot wasn’t so in demand… :) Having someone of Elliot’s calibre involved in WooThemes is obviously a great honour and adds some real value to what we do. Even though Elliot is not a full-time partner anymore, he’ll still be dishing out some amazing themes for us in the near future.
Are you branching out with WooThemes and bringing more options to the table? I see that Liam designed the newest theme for WooThemes called Papercut – which is a great design for WooThemes and Liam McKay is a great designer and asset to have.
A: From a business perspective, diversification is always important and we approached Liam about working on a few themes for us because we felt that his distinctive design style would compliment our own. So yes – we are looking to add a mix of themes, designs etc to WooThemes and if we can find the right people to work with us, we’ll negotiate a deal with them.
Adii: What is your favorite part about starting a new concept or theme, where do you begin?
A: Well, at this stage I’m taking a bit of a backstage in the design department itself, as I think both Magnus & Mark are better designers than I am. I am however heavily involved in brainstorming new concepts and then pulling them off in WordPress. At the moment, we’re trying to release more niche-type themes targeted at specific users / industries. So we’re doing a whole bunch of research on what kind of blogs, news sites, corporate sites etc are popular, as we’ll use those trends as the basis for our future themes.
Magnus: What role do you play in these themes or is it different for each theme? Which theme is your personal favorite?
Magnus: Right now I feel as though I’m the “potato”, meaning I can be used for just about everything. I’ve been involved in most of the code in the themes, but it does vary for each theme. I’ve been appointed code master and chief, since I come from a 7 year coding background, and I am really picky about being organized. The best looking theme is Paper Cut, but my favorite theme has to be Fresh News, since it has been our most popular theme and it has been modified by other people to look incredible.
Adii: Yeah, you’ll always find that Magnus is extremely proud of his little Fresh News theme… :)
Mark: what role do you play in these themes or is it different for each theme? Which theme is your personal favorite?
Mark: We all bring unique skills to the WooThemes table and we find they all compliment each others very well. I’m more a photoshop pixel pusher and css/html guy. On a lot of the themes I’m the one styling the wireframes and branding them all uniquely, fine tuning stylesheets and making sure everything looks neat and tidy.
We are often helping each other out with various personal tasks before the launch of a theme though so every theme brings you new challenges.
My favourite theme: On attention to detail I would have to say Papercut, on ability to adapt and personalise I would say VibrantCMS. (Aren’t I humble not picking any of my own themes? ;) )
I think it’s amazing what you guys have put in place, the marketing and especially your great teamwork you have going. Do the WooPartners have any big projects coming up and/or new things to bring to the community in the works?
A: Thanks for the kind words – we’ve worked pretty hard to get here… :) We definitely have some new things that we’ll be adding to the mix pretty soon. Except for new groundbreaking themes, we’re adding more functionality & value for our users specifically, whilst we will also be getting more & more involved in the community. I don’t want to give away too much here, but I can assure you that some of the plans we have are really exciting and will be a first from premium WP developers.
We are celebrating two things today. First I want to thank all of my readers for standing by as FYC continues to grow and grow. With only about 7 months in we have some solid articles, great advertising & over 2,500 subscribers!
And secondly, since WooThemes has been one of my advertisers from the very beginning FYC and WooThemes wants to give you the readers a chance to win the NEW Papercut theme (concept design by the brilliant Liam McKay – fine tuned by the WooThemes Team! 3 Lucky winners will receive the theme packed full of amazing features!
All you have to do is comment below the post with 2 answers.
1. Why you want to win the Papercut Theme.
2. Give us a creative idea of what you *could* or would do with the Papercut Theme.
The contest will end next Wednesday, August 27th (9:00pm EST).
Winners will be chosen within a few days after the close of the contest and will be posted on Fuel Your Creativity!
Keep in mind *The top 3 Creative answers or the ones we think most deserve it will win! We hope this contest sparks some ideas and who knows – if you win – you may start your own blog or company from these creative ideas! Good luck!