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What Happens When Dollie Empowers Theme Vendors to Sell Their Own Products [A 7th Queen and Case Study]

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Have you ever wished you could sell your WordPress themes as bundled services, but have no idea how to get started? If you’re done with relying on third-party marketplaces to sell your themes one-by-one, keep reading. Theme developer 7thQueen shares its story. 

Introducing 7thQueen

7thQueen is a well-established WordPress Theme Vendor that specializes in creating high-performance community site themes, like the #1 BuddyPress theme KLEO

“With over a decade of experience in the WordPress and BuddyPress ecosystem, we are experts in building functional themes that you can use right away.”

Having taken their name from Cleopatra, 7thQueen’s themes embody the strength, power, and beauty that the seventh Queen of Egypt was known for. 

As a result, 7thQueen has accomplished a lot over its decade-plus of selling WordPress themes to the community: 

  • Envato Community member for 7+ years 
  • Certified Power Elite Author
  • Certified community superstar
  • Winner of numerous competitions

That said, companies like 7thQueen aren’t built overnight. This is the culmination of years of hard work, investment, and dedication. 

As co-founder, Gabriel Fratica can attest, all great things in life require investment.

Investment Tenet #1: “Sweat fades. Achievements are forever.”

While studying IT at the Bucharest University of Economic Studies, Gabriel decided to develop his entrepreneurial spirit.  He founded a small business in the early ‘00s that would provide fibre optic broadband to the local area. 

In order to get an ISP to bring the infrastructure there, he raised a small fortune. Once in place, he then opened his business and began to connect the local populace, building the infrastructure by connecting equipment, installing switches and routers. 

For Gabriel, it was always about pursuing something that was interesting to him—even if it meant putting up a huge investment of money and time: 

“It was exciting to start a business but, indeed, sometimes hard to keep up with my courses. It involved a lot of nights spent learning for exams.” 

Running a flourishing business along with completing an IT degree is no easy task but, recollecting on the experience, the pains seem small compared to the memories, according to Gabriel. 

Bottom line: investment requires sacrifice, but sacrifice doesn’t take away from the excitement of a new venture. 

Investment Tenet #2: “Always invest in your own development first. This better prepares you for every future opportunity.”

After graduating with a Master’s degree, Gabriel decided to leave his self-made venture to pursue further self-development. So, he began working for News Outdoor Group as a network administrator, which was at one time the largest outdoor advertising agency in Eastern Europe. 

Gabriel knew that if he could get experience working with a large corporate team, he could adapt and apply the experience to his own future ventures. 

Investment Tenet #3: “Never pass on a golden opportunity.”

At the same time, Gabriel was doing freelance web development work with his friend Robert Neacsu. While working together, they discovered Themeforest and realised there was an opportunity for them to do more than just build websites. 

For starters, Robert and Gabriel knew that the quality of their work rivalled the very best Theme Vendors out there. 

Secondly, they noticed a gap in the market and knew that a website they’d recently built could nicely fill that gap as a theme. 

In order to turn their website into a WordPress theme, they rented out an apartment and used it as office space. They then began working on their new business venture — 7thQueen — and got to work on their first theme. 

It took six months to produce their very first theme, Sweet Date. 

“I remember we were so excited and also scared that it might not be approved.” 

It was the moment that they had been working towards and the success of this venture all rested on not getting a hard rejection. In Envato’s selection process, if you get hard rejected, your concept of theme can never be resubmitted. 

“A new theme or a complete redesign just wasn’t an option.”

Thankfully, Sweet Date only required a few revisions and within a few days their theme was accepted. 

“It was the start of a new era for us. Basically, the step from employee to being your own boss.”

And, yet, many questions still remained: 

  • How might their theme be received? 
  • Would it sell at all? 
  • Could it eventually become a success on Themeforest? 

It didn’t take long for them to realize all those concerns were unfounded. The first sale came along on the first day and continued to come in long afterwards. 

“It is very satisfying to watch sales coming in. The best are the ones that come at night since you wake up to discover you just earned some money. Productive sleep!”

Happy with what they’d accomplished so far, they decided to double down on community themes and built KLEO, currently the most popular community theme on Themeforest. With advanced functionality, developer-friendly features, and massive customizability, KLEO was a massive success and earned them the title of Elite Power Author.

A Greater Opportunity Emerges with Dollie

Along with their huge success came an increase in support tickets. Gabriel and the team began to notice a particular trend with these support questions: 

“Hosting is a frequent problem because most users get shared hosting and expect to have a super-fast website, but that’s not the case. Performance is usually pretty low and when you keep adding plugins and integrations, a community site on shared hosting will eventually fail.” 

The increase in workload in tandem with a global trend of declining sales across the Envato market forced Gabriel, as well as many of Themeforest vendors, to rethink their relationship. 

“One time payments aren’t enough to support your business in the long run. I mean, of course, you get sales each month, but it’s not that stable, which can make it hard to trust that it’s safe to do more.” 

Gabriel began to wonder if there might be a way of selling their themes as bundled services to develop a recurring revenue stream. While vendors can generate recurring revenue through a Themeforest support add-on, there’s no guarantee that users will renew their support. What’s more, vendors like 7thQueen only get paid biannually (if that) for support services they’ve provided. 

So, Gabriel began looking for a solution that would: 
  • Automate signups of their existing themes. 
  • Enable them to manage hundreds to thousands of WordPress installs from a single access point. 
  • Allow them to sell their themes as hosted subscriptions, but wouldn’t require them to manage the hosting piece. 
The 7thQueen team figured something like this couldn’t possibly exist and was planning to develop it on their own. 
However, on January 17, Gabriel came across an article on WPTavern about Dollie. He learned about a platform that promised to automate the deployment of lightning-fast, pre-configured WordPress installations in seconds and to do so on enterprise-grade infrastructure as an infinitely horizontally scalable solution. 
In other words, he could turn his company into a Wix-like subscription service, but for his WordPress themes. Gabriel immediately signed up for the free trial.

A Partnership Forms

It didn’t take long for Gabriel to realise this was the solution that he had been looking for. So, he connected with Bowe, Dollie’s inventor and Head of Product, who had a grand vision for revolutionising the WordPress space.

Having previously used KLEO for his own BuddyPress needs, Bowe invited Gabriel to be part of the team. Gabriel realised that this would be the perfect time to invest in the exact solution he was working for. Solidifying the Dollie platform and making it more developer-friendly would allow him (and other Theme Vendors) to launch their latest venture.

You might say this was the second time Gabriel observed the fourth tenet of investing: 

“Whenever it feels right, execute on it in canon”.

Welcome to

Users launch new websites based on 7thQueen themes without having to worry about the usual headaches of launching a site. They simply follow a signup flow and a hosted WordPress install instantly becomes ready to go.

Each install comes with: 

  1. A beautiful client dashboard
  2. Unlimited traffic
  3. Security features
  4. Free SSL certificate
  5. Guaranteed enterprise-level performance
  6. Automated backups
  7. Automated updates

With their latest offering — powered-by-Dollie — 7thQueen now has direct contact with their entire user base for more direct customer service along with a stabilized recurring revenue stream that they fully own. 

Get in Touch with Dollie

Long gone are the days where you have to live by the whim and directives of a third-party marketplace. You now have the ability to control everything on your own branded platform and away from the restrictive collaborations that Themeforest has to offer.

If you’re in a similar spot as Gabriel and 7thQueen, we’d love to talk to you and answer any remaining questions you may have about what it’s like to work with Dollie. 

Dollie will change Your WordPress business

The Cloud Automation Platform to build, launch and sell WordPress services under your own brand & domain.
Dollie lets you convert one-time customers into recurring revenue machines, all managed through your WordPress install.
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