Interview with J.R. Farr of MOJO Themes
If you haven’t head of Mojo Themes, it’s time you did. They are one of the top market places out there for buying WordPress themes. They are still relatively new to the industry but definitely growing. We had the pleasure to get co-owner J.R. Farr to answer some questions for us that we are sure you’ll love to read!
1. When and how was MojoThemes created?
Back in 2009 me and Brady started laying the ground work to build our Buy & Sell marketplace. After months of hard work, we finally launched a huge contest called March Padness in March 2010 and opened the door to ONLY sellers. We needed to build up our library of themes before we could open up the marketplace. After a month of getting some awesome items uploaded, we opened the marketplace to buyers in April 2010. Since launching the site, we continue to grow at a rapid rate each month and as of right now, we’ve just passed 100,000 items downloaded and have 50,000+ users.
From the start, we both wanted the marketplace to be built on top of WordPress not just because we love WordPress but we wanted to show others the power behind WordPress. As the marketplace has grown with more items, more users, etc. we’ve obviously had to bend WordPress to our will. As of right now, we’re on version 3.0 of the marketplace. The most recent version is powering both MOJO Themes and MOJO Code on the same code base.
2. How many people currently work at Mojo Themes?
The team currently consists of 7 of us. Myself and Brady as the founders, 3 developers, 1 designer and our support team.
3. I know Mojo Themes runs on WordPress. How has that worked out for you? Do you think its the best solution for your store?
Absolutely it is the best solution but that is not to say we have not had our fair share of issues using it. The biggest one so far has been speed and performance issues. Since WordPress is so database intensive, running queries at the rate we were was not working. With the latest version (v3) of the marketplace, we re-built the marketplace to run much similar to how WordPress.com runs. Things like our new HyperDB setup, caching on the front-end and back-end of the application and of course making sure we’re using the right queries to increase speed.
4. Do you know of any theme authors whom rely on Mojo Themes as their primary source of income?
Yes and on the same note, a lot of sellers have full teams of more than just them to support their items.
5. We’ve noticed you are working on a new site. Any sneak peeks?
Yes! It actually just launched. It’s the 2nd marketplace added to the Mojoness network. Our new marketplace, MOJO-Code.com, is our new Buy & Sell marketplace for Premium Code. You can sell or buy WordPress plugins, Magento extensions, PHP scripts, Java, CSS, etc. It just launched but we’re excited about where this marketplace is already headed and the opportunity it brings for the existing MOJO community.
6. How many items are submitted monthly to your store and on average what percentage are accepted?
Yeah, there’s hundreds of uploads coming through every month and I would say on average only about 10-15% get approved. Most items are denied multiple times before they are approved as our upload requirements have become more strict. For example, WordPress themes that are uploaded are judged on three parts. Items need to have thorough documentation. Design needs to be up to standard. Code is reviewed by uploading the theme on a test WordPress install. We run it through Theme Check, WP Debug and we make sure it installs properly on our setup.
7. There are A LOT of theme stores out there, what makes you stand out?
Great question and that is exactly it. We’re not a theme store where we just sell and support our own products. We’re a marketplace that enables theme designers and developers to sell their work on our marketplace.
Our focus everyday is how can we make a better marketplace, bring more traffic and more value to our sellers to make more and more money.
8. Do you have any tips/advice for other people who want to open their own theme store?
If you’re looking to open your own theme store I would seriously sit down and consider what is really involved. I think most theme designers think all a marketplace brings is traffic and marketing to their items but there’s so many other things we provide value for. For example, most don’t think about what platform they will use to facilitate the sales process and the digital delivery process. What about card processing fees? Chargeback fees? Keep track of your theme change logs? What about your support forum? MOJO Themes handles all of that and so much more. You can learn more about selling on MOJO here.
On top of that, over at MOJO Themes, our support staff handles customers by helping them with simple questions on most sellers items such as, “How do I install this theme?”, “Where can I find the documentation?”, “How do I setup this menu, this portfolio, my images won’t load, etc.?” We help filter easy questions and answer them so sellers can focus on making awesome products!
9. Any other thoughts or things you wish to mention?
Keep up the good work around here and keep pushing out the great content and awesome themes! 😉
Nice interview! Didn’t know that only 10-15% of uploads are accepted. Makes me feel good for having chosen to put my themes up there knowing that the quality standards are being upheld nicely 🙂
Nice to Read your interview ! A lot of information and guidance for as a theme designer.
It is a very nice interview. We really like it and appreciate it.