When I first started checking and curating the data that we had gathered through several months in order to prepare our new Top WordPress Themes reports feature, one theme that quickly caught my attention was Avada by ThemeFusion.
I took a look at this theme and it sure looked outstanding. When I checked it out at Themeforest I also saw that Avada was the best selling WordPress theme at that marketplace (with over 28,000 customers now). ThemeFusion had been the top seller author for May (3,349 sales) and June (3,584 sales), and it looks like it is going to be #1 for July as well.
What really amazed me was the fact that so far ThemeFusion had released only this one theme!
Another very important score from my point of view is that Avada is getting an average Buyer Rating of 4.64 over 5 (based on 2,281 buyer opinions), which is a very good indicator of their customer satisfaction level.
So, after witnessing the huge success achieved by this WordPress theme, I thought that it would be a good idea to interview the people behind ThemeFusion, Muhammad Haris and Luke Beck. When I first contacted them about this interview, I told them that Avada had been climbing up positions in our Top WordPress Themes reports and that it was ranking #16 at that moment. Well, less than three weeks after that, it is ranking even higher, and it is #13 at the time of writing this post!
Luke and Muhammad were very kind to accept my invitation to share their success story on our blog, so here you have the interview:
1- How and when did you meet each other and decided to work together developing a WordPress theme?
Themefusion consists of myself (Luke) and Muhammad Haris. It´s a born and raised Themeforest partnership that has been an amazing experience.
After a few years of freelancing I discovered the Envato marketplaces and decided to signup and submit a few files to the Graphic River marketplace in December of 2011. Over the next year I submitted several files and was amazed at the opportunity the marketplaces provided. Eventually I started to create PSD’s of fully designed websites to sell on Themeforest.
That’s when everything changed with one email from Muhammad. He viewed one of my PSDs on Themeforest and contacted me with the idea of forming a partnership, I would design and he would develop. It was a bit unfamiliar at first since we did not know each other but very quickly we realized how well we worked together and knew that we had something special. We were both committed to our work 100% and worked very hard to keep up with the amazing standard here on Themeforest.
Eventually Avada was born in August of 2012 and as they say, the rest is history.
We truly love this work and are so thankful for Envato and our amazing users who support us. We both work full time for Themefusion and cannot imagine anything better.
2 – When did you start the ThemeFusion project?
We started Themefusion in March of 2012, but did not release Avada until August of 2012, we took our time at first and made sure we were doing things right.
3 – For how long has Avada been out there in the WordPress theme market?
Avada was released on August 16th, 2012. It’s coming up on its first birthday!
4 – Why do you think Avada has become such a successful theme?
Many people have asked us this and there is really not a definitive answer. What we can tell you is that it pays off to build a solid theme from top to bottom, and above all else provide the best support you can to your users. We work day in and out helping our users, and developing new updates for Avada, which our users love. Muhammad and I are humbled at the success, it´s been an amazing experience.
5 – I more or less can guess what your answer will be but I have to ask you this: Did you expect this huge success or you were surprised by it?
You guessed right, we certainly did not expect it to be this big. I think every person who creates something expects it to be successful; you have to have that confidence in your work from the start. But no, we did not expect it to this successful; it’s been very cool to watch its popularity rise week after week.
6 – What Avada features would you like to emphasize or highlight over the rest?
Hmmm, that’s a hard question. We feel the flexibility of the theme is its biggest asset. Users can control each and every element of the site from our theme options panel and customize it for their needs. We’ve built it thinking about usability from the start and wanted to make it as user-friendly as we possibly could.
7 – With so many sales, it must be quite difficult to cope with your theme support. How do you handle it?
We feel that support is best managed by ensuring that any bugs or usability issues are taken care of on our end before we release an update.
Taking our time to test every aspect allows us to cut down on issues users will have.
And we also have a dedicated support forum for our users that we work on daily. We also have an amazing support staff to help us, John and Mark as well as Umair who is a brand new hire.
Very interesting fact, each of our staff members were regular users on our forum who bought Avada and showed a love of helping others and bettering our overall support community. When we realized that about them, and have had continued growth, we offered them a job and they love doing it as much as we do.
Our support forum is the place to be if you use our theme, our staff and users are all wonderful to be around and love to help each other.
8 – Do you have any plans for new theme releases in the short term or are you more involved into further improving Avada?
Yes to both questions :). We will always be adding new features and improving Avada for our current 28,000 users, that is something we love to do and it´s very cool to watch Avada continue to evolve. In addition to that, we are working on a new theme that we are very excited about. It will be done sometime this year.
9 – How do you both work as a team, being located at different places? Do you split your job in different areas or are you both responsible for all of them at the same time?
Being in two totally different places can be a challenge, but we’ve been very disciplined in our daily work. We split up the work and use Basecamp to stay organized and track features or issues that need to be taken care of. We use Skype on a daily basis to communicate and even though we’ve never officially met in person, we are great friends as well as business partners.
10 – Based on your success, what would you recommend to people who want to get into the WordPress theme market from scratch?
First and foremost, always be committed to your work. Take the extra time to ensure the work is done right, and that you’ve given it your best effort. Secondly, always make sure you are staying up to date with the latest standards and techniques, as it will benefit your theme in the long run. Lastly, make sure you are taking care of your users by providing the support that they need.
I want to thank Luke and Muhammad for taking their time to answer this interview and wish them another great success with their next theme release.