Recently, we spotted an unusual, creative WordPress theme shop which piqued our curiosity. It’s called PixelGrade and it consists of a small team of dreamers, passionate about web design and cutting-edge technologies.
They create beautiful WordPress themes and don’t spend a lot on their promotion. They respect their customers and think that a great support is equally important as web development. They share their progress and try to infuse everything they know into high quality products.
We reached Vlad – one of the founders of PixelGrade and asked him a couple of questions, to find out more about their story and future plans.
Here are the answers, have a look:
What is the brief story of PixelGrade, how did you start?
PixelGrade started with me and my brother George when we felt the need of some structure in our lives, after years of freelancing. We gradually moved from client work to being completely product based (WordPress themes nowadays). We couldn’t be happier for this path as it allowed us to experience both sides of the fence. Both have their pros and cons, but we truly treasure the current creative freedom and constant struggle to outdo ourselves.
Tell us a few words about your team. How do you keep your colleagues motivated?
The Team (with a capital T ). We are very fortunate to have a good mix of personalities and different passions among our team members. We cherish each individual as a whole and try to do the work that favours each one’s strong points. So I guess motivation comes naturally when you do the things you love. Also we try to support and appreciate the hobbies and passions that are not work related. It is our belief that this will keep us fresh (both in body and mind) for the future.
Regarding the team structure, we are pretty much satisfied with the current state of affairs. 50% design and development (1 designer, 2 frontend devs and 2 backend devs) and 50% support (5 Happiness Heroes). We strive to offer a great experience to our customers (as a big part of the whole product) and I believe that this should be reflected by our team structure. So one less thing on our checklist
What are the tools (used in your team) you can’t work without?
Where should I start?
Our Macs for freeing us from the constant nagging of our Windows machines.
GitHub for being… GitHub. Worth it’s bytes in gold.
Slack for keeping us engaged and accountable (via the GitHub link)
GMail (and recently the Inbox app) for keeping email worry free… and fast.
AMPPS for making local development less painful.
I could go on and on, but I think these are the main ones.
In your transparency report you stated that you don’t spend money on marketing. Do you think a quality product is the best marketing?
Yes, a quality product that must be backed by a superb customer support experience. I believe we are not quite there, at the “superb” level but I would love to hear people saying that one day.
So I wouldn’t say it is fair to say we are not spending money on marketing, we are just spending them on our support team and tools and let the satisfied customers do the marketing for us. It surely isn’t cheaper than buying ads, but certainly more rewarding.
WordPress theme industry is over saturated. There are thousands of themes and premium theme shops. Knowing all these, how do you position yourself?
Who cares about market saturation? Does a tree care if the land is overly saturated with leaves or grasses? No. It will do it’s own thing because it knows it has the drive to out do them. That is our overall attitude. We are not cocky or lacking modesty, but we know ourselves and what we are capable of. This gives us a certain sense of security and healthy relaxation.
What is your favorite WordPress theme (not yours) and why?
Honestly I don’t have a certain theme that I can call my favorite (besides ours of course ). I do have some authors or theme shops that I respect and appreciate due to their overall culture and attitude towards design (people with strong believes ). The Theme Foundry comes to mind, ElmaStudio, Codestag, VanKarVai, and the list could go on.
What is the future of WordPress theme market and web design particularly?
Well this is the Holy Grail. Who wouldn’t like to know for sure? In fact it would be quite dull to know. We really enjoy the unpredictable nature of the Web. This has allowed us to stay lean and mean so we can adapt easily to anything the future throws at us.
But to the point, I hope (I don’t know but hope) that customers will learn (the hard way unfortunately) that more is less and (apparent) simplicity costs but it is well worth it. I think at some point there will be a dissolution of the classic marketplace due to too much noise (i.e. number of items with huge variations in attitude towards design and development), too many authors, too many layers, too much of everything. And then the market will split (evenly I think) between niche shops and the “bazaar” marketplace (characterized by a single thing: everybody is in a race to the lowest price).
Anything else to add?
Just, thank you for this interview and keep it up.
Keep an eye on these talented guys and tell us what you think.