If you’re into Genesis (and unless you’ve been living under a rock) you won’t have failed to notice a flurry of third party Genesis themes and theme shops launching recently.
Minimal Genesis, new themes from Calvin Makes, plus other planned launches (TimberBit and Genesis The.me), means it’s been a busy time and I’ve been doing my best to speak to everyone involved (see: An interview with Calvin Makes, Meet Ryan Townley).
One name missing from the above list though is Simple PRO Themes, a new theme shop founded by Davinder Singh and Chinmoy Kumar Paul.
And I’m delighted to say that Davinder Singh, one half of the dynamic duo and frequent participant in both the Facebook and Slack Genesis WordPress groups, recently popped up to answer a few questions about the business, Genesis and the bigger question of Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey (or maybe even something else?!).
For those that don’t know, tell us a little bit about yourself, where do you live, what do you do and what makes you tick?
I was born and brought up in Chandigarh (India). I did graduation in Computers and then did MBA in Finance. I worked at a bank for few months and got bored. Then joined DELL as technical expert (loved working there).
From my school days, I was actively blogging and made lot of sense of out Google Adsense (Understand? You bet!). My main tech blog is still there (tothepc.com) and here’s a link to my interview during those days: speakbindas.com/interview-of-davinder-singh-admin-of-tothepccom/
Later I transitioned into web development, SEO and affiliate marketing in search of ‘the’ next creative ‘thing’. During the course of this journey I started a WordPress tips blog (basicwp.com) and my official design / development portfolio site (iguiding.com). My latest venture is a Genesis theme shop “Simple PRO Themes” (simpleprothemes.com).
How did you first get into Genesis website development and how long have you been working with it?
I was using Revolution themes and got hooked to Genesis ever since the Genesis Framework was born. So, it’s been quite a long journey with Genesis so far. All my current web development work (personal and clients) are based on the Genesis Framework.
What are the biggest reasons to work in Genesis for you?
Stability, lean code, developer friendly are few reasons in favour of the Genesis Framework. I still remember, lot of people recommended use of Thesis over the Genesis Framework. However, those very people took the ‘U’ turn when Thesis-1 to Thesis-2 disaster happened. In contrast, the Genesis Framework made smooth transition from XHTML to HTML5. This made my belief stronger in the Genesis Framework and now it features in all my projects.
Away from Genesis and web development, tell us something interesting about yourself that maybe a lot of the people in the Genesis community might not know, like a hidden talent, something crazy that you’ve done or a (previously secret) superhuman ability maybe?
I wish I had some super human abilities. As boring it may sound, I haven’t done any crazy stuff (yet!).
What’s it like working with Chinmoy [Davinder’s partner in Simple Pro Themes]? 🙂
Awesome! He has a calm personality and is real good at the code play.
Firstly, huge congrats on the launch of Simple Pro Themes. I know how stressful it can be launching something new. How did it all go? Any last minute freak outs, surprises (good or bad) or stories you can share?
Thanks Nick. Launch went real smooth, though we did jump the launch date by two weeks! There were last minute website fixes but nothing serious. I guess our previous client work experience came handy in launching Simple PRO Themes website without too many surprises.
For people that don’t know, what’s the backstory to Simple Pro Themes, what made you decide to do it and why now?
Simple Pro Themes plan started almost an year ago, but it did not materialize as I was looking for the right partner. I knew Chinmoy from his work profile but never interacted with him. One fine day I shared my plans with him on genesiswp slack group. He was more excited that me and Simple PRO Themes became reality in about 3 months time.
How is your time split at the moment between Simple Pro Themes and other work? Do you plan shift more of your time to Simple Pro Themes if things go well or do you see it strictly as a side project?
I don’t consider Simple PRO Themes as a side project. Infact, it is a seamless extension of what I already do: designing themes, coding Genesis themes, answering client questions and helping new users on Studiopress Forums.
Considering the blockbuster debut of Simple PRO Themes, it for sure will get more attention in the near future.
Have you set targets for the project (financial or otherwise)? (Will you still speak to me when it makes you rich and (Internet) famous?)
Richness is all in the mind and not in the bank balance. As such, “If you have little more than what you need” – you are “rich”. I am already rich in that sense and talking to you – Happy Joe?
It has been just one month since the launch of Simple PRO Themes, all our projected targets are already broken by a long way. So, now we are not focussing on that part. Our main focus is on providing the best theme support and developing even better Genesis themes.
Have you given much thought about how you’ll distinguish what you’re doing from other offerings? If so, how do you plan to do so?
Yes, that’s the main reason of starting Simple PRO Themes – to fill the gap for certain type of themes in the Genesis ecosystem.
With Flex Pro we tried to offer users more than what a standard Genesis theme would offer without any code bloat. Like: custom widgets to easily display content, smart widget positioning to allow setup of different homepage layout without touching the theme code.
What do you think of the current state of the Genesis theme market?
What are your thoughts on marketing Simple Pro Themes and who do you expect your typical customer to be (e.g. fellow developers, ‘regular’ website users, etc.)?
As of now marketing efforts have been mild and only restricted to connecting with potential users on the GenesisWP Slack and Facebook Groups.
Although, Flex Pro theme was built for end users but to our surprise we have sold lot more developer licenses. This probably can be anticipated with the flexible homepage layout of the theme. Many developers could be using Flex as their base theme for custom development because in Flex theme you only need to remove or not use specific features as against adding them.
We all *heart* Genesis, but did you give any consideration to releasing non-Genesis versions of your themes? What made up your mind for you (if it is made up)?
As of now my heart and mind is with Genesis. So, only Genesis themes unless Studiopress does something ridiculous like Thesis did few years ago.
Are there any other WordPress businesses you particularly look up to, either inside or outside of the Genesis community to copy get inspiration from (and why)?
Yes, a theme shop – which I already started. I also have an eye on ‘learning and training’ space, there is a huge opportunity for quality Genesis training from the ground up.
Having launched, what’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other creators in the Genesis space that are thinking of launching their own projects?
Have a proper mix of: creativity, inspiration and usability. If you are launching something on a bigger scale, look for a partner. With another set of eyes, building and refining product(s) is so much easier.
What’s next for Simple Pro Themes?
Lot of awesome Genesis themes. At present, two themes are in works: one is at the mock-up stage while the other theme has hit the development stage.
What’s the best way for people to get in touch with you if they want to learn more?
I’m on Twitter @idavinder or my contact page at iguiding.com I’m also on GenesisWP Facebook and Slack groups.
Game of Thrones or Downton Abbey?
Neither. Anything on National Geographic Channel!
Giveaway: Win a copy of Flex Pro!
For your chance of winning a personal license (worth $79) for Davinder’s Flex Pro Genesis theme just enter your email address below.
(Competition closes 11:59pm CET, 01 June 2015)
This giveaway has now finished *sad face*, but look out for new chances to win cool stuff in future articles *happy clap*.