David Braun about Business, Team Building and Web Development: Interview with TemplateMonster CEO
There are many stories of success in the world. People tell them not because they want to boast their money or statuses. Really successful people always ready to share their experience and lifehacks to help other to grow, develop and reach their own dreams. Our today’s guest for the interview is one of such personalities who creates and inspires others to find their creativity source.
Meet David Braun – CEO of TemplateMonster.com, one of the largest website themes marketplaces on the Internet. He is one of those creative personalities who bring inspiration into everything they do. He’s a founder of a successful business, volunteer for a few social projects, passionate runner, father of three, traveler and drummer. We met David for the interview and asked him about his projects, web development and life goals.
Hi, David! Thank you for meeting our team for the interview. Let’s start with the most popular question you must be get for each meeting. Tell us a bit about your pet project – TemplateMonster.com. How did it all start?
Hi! Thanks for inviting me – it’s a great pleasure. As for TemplateMonster brief history, it all started in 1998 in a small apartment in my native city. Me and a couple of my friends started freelancer studio for web design services. Our first projects were custom website for the friends of our friends and their clients.
We grew little by little, engaged more customers and even got a couple of Fortune 500 companies. That time came to the idea of selling some ready-made product but had no clue what kind of product it would be. Until one of our designers showed me his work with pre-made Photoshop library of design elements. He just dropped necessary elements onto the layout, tweaked them a bit – and got a beautiful design. Later we learned more about website templates and started working towards this trend.
We got only one competitor then. And they offered really ugly designs. So we gained many customers and the TemplateMonster.com project was born.
What a luck, but backed with hard work!
It was not all roses, by the way. At the very beginning, we got our money account blocked because of fraud. There were a few dishonest customers who used stolen credit cards and made huge purchases. There were also a few DDOS-attack threats and blackmail attempts. But we managed to overcome this situation with the help of friends.
And how did you grow up from such a small local project into the large marketplace with templates for any platform and niche?
Oh, it was a thorny path! Or first templates were all based on Flash. But when in 2010 Steve Jobs claimed Flash is no longer in favor, we faced a big problem. Most of our developers were Flash specialists. Discharging up to 200 professionals and hiring new ones seemed too expensive and improper solution. So we decided to rethink all working processes and retrain our developers to HTML-coders.
It was one of the biggest drop-downs in the TemplateMonster.com history. We spend a lot of time for retraining the employees, changing the affiliate program. We faced the loss of efficiency and quality. But we reworked all the processes, changed the focus and strategy, and overcame all the issues.
Did those issues helped you creating one of the coolest team among other companies?
Them too =) We worked on creating a friendly environment for our workers from the very beginning. It shouldn’t have been the ordinary spot where people work. We aimed for a friendly environment where everyone can create things and offer new solutions. During these years we developed a corporate style that makes people working together in TemplateMonster.com a real family.
Let’s see what TemplateMonster.com is for today. Besides the people in your team, what makes your project so peculiar?
I guess, it’s all about versatility and user-friendliness. We started with WordPress templates being its official partner. But they focused only on the providers working under GPL-license. Thus, we started developing templates for other platforms – Magento, OpenCart, PrestaShop, Joomla. Today we provide templates for almost all existing and highly popular platforms. We even launched our own side project MotoCMS that combines a CMS with ready-made themes for any niche.
What are the latest innovations and breakthroughs that help TemplateMonster.com grow?
We totally redesigned our logo, made many changes to the website, template store and many more.
We turned our store into a huge marketplace where any website designer and developer can showcase and sell their products. It significantly broadens the opportunities for us as a template provider, and for developers who can now find more clients with our help.
We boost the range of our templates and try to offer solutions for all business niches or personal projects. Today everyone – from a photographer or a creative writer to a business owner or financial consultant firm – can get a shiny theme that includes all the latest trends in web design.
Half a year ago we focused our efforts on creation of flagship templates for the most renowned platforms. We aim to offer an all-in-one solution for businesses and developers who wish to have all the features of the platform they like along with beautiful design and versatility of options. We already have flagship themes for WordPress, OpenCart, Magento, MotoCMS and others.
Thus, we have launched recently renewed version of Monstroid theme. Monstroid 2 for WordPress is a multipurpose solution that has everything one can wish from a template. its sleek admin panel allows easy management of a layout and content due to drag-and-drop editor. It includes a dozen of pre-made themes for different business niches like cafe & restaurant, Ecommerce, consulting, hotel business etc. With Monstroid to one gets a template with all plugins, options and user-friendly features to create a functional website quick. As far as I know, it’s the unique solution on the template market for now.
But these templates… can they be useful only to advanced users? How an average customer can benefit from your products?
We aim our templates at two groups of users. First of all, an end-user, who may not need a range of child-themes within a template. Such users can benefit from drag-and-drop editor and Novi Builder™ we include into our multipurpose themes. It helps them create a website without coding knowledge. Included plugins will also be a great advantage that help saving time and money.
But we also offer many opportunities for web developers and web studios. They can use those templates as a perfect base for their projects. With multi-purpose themes they don’t have to buy various templates for each customer. They have a handy set of themes for the price of an ordinary template in our marketplace.
The major thing about our product – we offer every customer support and helps in all questions they may have. Our customers get lifetime free support 24/7 and hardly any other company can boast such a generous offer.
Interesting! What else do you offer to your clients?
We aim at providing our customers with all the info they need. For small businesses, we created Startup Hub. It should help startups, local business owners, bloggers and other projects in establishing their online presence, building their brand, engaging clients and boosting traffic.
Another educational project is our recently launched TemplateMonster Certification Center. it allows absolutely any user to undertake courses and get a certification to open their own web studio.This project allows literally everyone to complete a course of website building and get a certificate that may let people open their own web studio.
Our Youtube channel also offers educational videos to help users learn more about popular platforms, hosting and domain selection. It contains lessons that help customise any template and get a nice-looking website.
We also have various side projects that help our customers with their website creation like our Service Center. It is aimed at users who have no time or desire to tweak their themes. Our professional take care of all the processes and build a ready-for-launch website in 24 hours.
TemplateMonster.com also offers an affiliate program and a Social Stock for users who just look for opportunities if earning meny online. Thus, Social Stock is an engaging competition that invites ordinary users to become brand ambassadors and win cool prizes for promoting our templates.
What would you name your biggest achievements recently?
It’s my family and my team, I guess. I love people around me since they always support most of my crazy projects and ideas. We participated in marathon and won the mountain top last year. And I hope there are more cool projects in future.
Thank you, David, for the interview. We also hope that new amazing opportunities await for you in future. Good luck to you!