Happy Sara_p Day – Marketplace Author Sells $1,000,000 Worth of Items

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Note: This post hasn't been updated in over 2 years.


Join me in congratulating team Sara_p, who have reached Power Elite status by selling an amazing one million dollars worth of items. Since joining ThemeForest in January 2009 they have amassed over 25,000 sales and 1,514 followers. They achieved this recognising ThemeForest as a great business opportunity, learning from feedback, and rising above distractions. Awesome work!

Happy Sara_p Day!

We asked the Sara_p team a few questions about the journey to the $1,000,000 milestone. Read on to find out where they find their design inspiration, what it’s like working with a baby in the house, and how it feels to reach a million dollars worth of sales!


Congratulations on becoming Power Elite authors. Can you tell us a little bit about the history of Sara_p?

Thanks, it’s a real honor for us to have reached this milestone. In just a few years we’ve been able to become the first Italians among the top sellers of ThemeForest, and obviously this makes us really proud.

We would like to introduce ourselves. We’re Nando Pappalardo and Sara Presenti, partners at work and in life, parents of Noemi (a small pest of nine months), web designers, and founders of Your Inspiration Web, a blog/community for many Italian web designers.

We started this adventure just for fun. We landed on ThemeForest by clicking on a banner and smelling a good business opportunity. We decided to make the big jump. We had no idea where to begin, and we had never worked with WordPress before. But we said, “Why not?”

In early 2011 we transformed our blog theme development activity into a  company, Your Inspiration. Things have been changing ever since. We’ve grown a lot in two years. We hired and trained new collaborators to help us with the activities necessary to further improve the quality of our work, from the development phase to after-sale support.

In June 2012 we signed for a partnership with an international company that now manages all the commercial/marketing aspects of the company. We want to avoid this kind of management ourselves—it would get in the way of our growth as designers and developers.

How does it feel to have sold over $1,000,000 of items?

OMG! A milion dollars? How come we haven’t moved to a tropical island yet?

Seriously, we feel blessed. With the global economic crisis of recent years—and we live in a country deeply affected by the crisis—only a few have the privilege of achieving numbers like this. Ours is not a job, it’s a visceral passion, a way of life. And when you can earn more than you could ever imagine by doing something that you deeply love, it makes you proud of what you’ve achieved.


What does this milestone mean for you as authors and designers?

It’s an incredible milestone, and we’re extremely grateful for all those small “coincidences” that led us to where we are today. We often like to quote the words of a book that has, for many reasons, changed our lives:

Nothing happens by chance. Everyone is the reverberation of the other in the flow of the universe.

We strongly believe that we should thank someone, or something, that has made all this possible, giving us the right intuition, and guiding us along the path.

How many hours do you spend on the themes that you sell on the Envato Marketplaces?

As we said, we started this adventure just for fun. But when we realized the volume of business possible to generate with ThemeForest, we decided to roll up our sleeve and improve ourselves in terms of graphics and aesthetics.

We’re two perfectionists. We like things done well, so it’s wasn’t hard to figure out how to create a striking design, offer advanced features, and provide our clients with a good support service.

We studied our competitors’ themes, and analyzed common and advanced features. We read books on usability, observed trends and most-used graphic styles, and designed thousands of layouts searching for inspiration. It’s impossible for us to quantify how many hours we spent on this process—neither of us wear watches, and we’re reluctant to use schedules and log hours. But we can assure you that it took a lot of hours before we felt we were finally ready to “be serious”.

We believe that the quality of our work and the success of many of our themes is an example of what you can achieve when you’re really motivated and willing to do well.


Have you had any designs rejected?

In the beginning, all of our themes were systematically rejected, for reasons we often didn’t understand. The rejection emails we received made us want to take up Voodoo.

When our themes were finally approved, the number of sales was still low—our best theme peaked at 240 sales. That’s a long way from the number of sales that our themes generate today.

It was easy to lose motivation during that period. In fact, we stopped for a while, and turned our attention elsewhere, convinced that it wasn’t worth it. It felt like we were getting hurt for nothing.

Then we returned, stronger and more motivated than before. We’re stubborn as well as perfectionists! We made the most of the feedback we received, and fixed all the errors.

We created our own design style, looked for inspiration, and engaged with others on the ThemeForest forum. We wanted to understand what other users thought of our themes. Then we started to expand our team, because it was impossible for us to continue to do things by ourselves.

With hindsight, we should thank all the reviewers—in particular Ivor, who always gave us good advice. It was because of their feedback that we came to understand how to improve our projects.

What words of encouragement do you have to any budding authors who want to make Power Elite level?

We recommend everyone to be open to criticism—even to when it is difficult. Start from the assumption that things can be improved, even when you’re convinced that it is impossible to do better.

We notice that many authors react with arrogance when their themes are first rejected. They don’t have the slightest doubt in the quality of their work. We believe that a bit of irony and self-criticism are great qualities for a designer, because thanks to the criticism of others you can grow professionally.


What is your office space like?

Like many other authors, until a few months ago, we were both working from home, in a small office created in a corner of our apartment, telecommuting with our developers. Now we have a real office, with modern black and white furniture, 10 workstations, a conference table, a sitting area, a coffee maker, and all the rest. Well, we’re doing things seriously now.

We realized that working altogether in the same place allows us to be more productive. It limits distractions, and helps us to be more motivated.

In the end, our work is teamwork, and our team is a small family. Growing and working side by side one another on every project is really exciting.


How do you get inspiration for your designs?

Our slogan is:

Inspiration is all around us.

All designers have good days and bad days. On bad days, you’re better off shutting down the whole shebang and going fishing. On good days, everything is source of inspiration: a billboard spotted on the street, an ad, a website you’ve recently visited.

Mayashop and Bazar were designed in two good days: an instant idea, a quick sketch, and after half an hour the homepage was ready. If you follow the right intuition, the design process becomes easier and more enjoyable. Somehow you “feel” that you’re on the right track, and you know that what you’re doing today will have a positive response tomorrow.

What is the best thing about your job?

The most pleasant aspect of a creative job is that it’s practically impossible to get bored. Every project is unique, every phase is an end in itself, and every day is different.

This is true during the design phase, when trying to find the right color, visual harmony, a particular font. It’s also true during the development phase, where forgetting a small point can make a big difference, and you can watch what was once a fixed image come to life.

The great thing about not having a “boss” is obvious… freedom. For example, no office hours—you can work at night, on Sundays, and have Monday off. It can also motivate us to do more, and to give one’s best because, as we say in Italy, “The master’s eye fattens the horse.”

What is the hardest part about your job?

Working from home is a dream for many web designers. But it’s almost impossible with a baby girl of nine months, who rightfully demands our attention.

Interruptions and distractions are practically endless, and maintaining concentration with the theme song of a cartoon in your ears all day is quite a challenge. Not to mention emails, social networks, phone calls. Sometimes it seems as if the entire universe is conspiring against you, so that you can’t design a good theme.

Moreover, our work is in constant evolution. When you think you’ve read the latest news on responsive design and you’re ready to put it into practice, it’s already time to review it; otherwise you risk becoming obsolete. Shortcodes manager, layout builder, retina ready, there’s always something new to learn. But if you slow down the pace and don’t update frequently, you risk being left behind.

Is there anything else you would like to say or add?

Remember, “nothing happens by chance.” If you’re reading this interview, there must be a reason. It’s up to you to figure out what it is, and how to treasure it.


213 thoughts on “Happy Sara_p Day – Marketplace Author Sells $1,000,000 Worth of Items

  1. It makes me glad and happy to see good people make it, take that sought-after “big break” and do a great living out of it. Accept my deepest compliments for your work, efforts, dreams, passions and last but not least, who you are.

  2. Congratulations (Or in italian Congratulazioni)
    i most agree with

    ”But it’s almost impossible with a baby girl of nine months, who rightfully demands our attention.”

  3. Wow, congradulations, im just starting off my business hobby, on GraphicRiver, already made $17 of sales so far, but stories like this just motivates me to one day, maybe i can be interviewed for the $1 millionith dollar sale. Thank you for your lovely story it has made my day :)

  4. truly inspiring. having purchased a few themes from YI, deep deep respect for the amount of time/patience that goes into the whole experience. NOW, I am motivated to step up to theme author !!!! :) Onwards and upwards! To much success!

  5. Congratulation to whole team !

    Very nice story that can be served as a model to success and for other authors.

    Thank you on this interesting interview! 😉

  6. Congrats to you, I was expecting it to happen soon, and it happened, keep up the good works, I’m right behind you.

  7. Congratulations, very inspiring, :) i really like this…

    “Remember, “nothing happens by chance.” If you’re reading this interview, there must be a reason. It’s up to you to figure out what it is, and how to treasure it.”

  8. Congratulations guys. Your website/blog is one of the sites I follow and I’m not surprised you guys have crossed this milestone.
    More kudos to you and your team

  9. Nothing happens by chance, everything depeds on people.

    If you think that e universe gave you this 1mln $, then live in your wonderland.
    Send the money to Africa.

    1. That’s true, it all depends on people and how they react in some situations. But Life (Universe, God, call it as you want) gives you opportunities then it’s up to you to use the occasion or not. Anyway we don’t need to send money in Africa to help the needy. Don’t worry, in our own small way, we already know what’s to be done! :)

  10. Incredible achievement! Congratulations.

    I’ve used your themes for client sites and am very impressed with the quality and the great customer support I received.

  11. “Remember, nothing happens by chance. If you’re reading this interview, there must be a reason. It’s up to you to figure out what it is, and how to treasure it.”

    Very motivational end of an interview. Thanks and enjoy your achievement!

  12. “Bazaar” and “Room09″ are by far the two best themes for WooCommerce.

    Gonna help you reach $2 Million .

    All the best to you guys at ” YITH “.

    And nevermind the complainers.

  13. What a great story! You guys have such a great portfolio and I love your office! Fellow authors reading this who are aspiring to emulate similar success on ThemeForest should take note of a couple of crucial aspects that sara_p clearly understood:

    Hard work and never give up!

    Success is always more enjoyable when it’s earned through hard work. Many congratulations guys on your latest achievement and good luck with your continued success! :-)

  14. Congrats Sara_p!

    I am sure you are an inspiration to many developers now.
    I see the nine year old holding a mouse already, he is inspired by his father for sure :)

    Fetching those numbers against the current global crisis is commendable really! I guess, good work always pays.

    All the best for your future endeavours.

  15. Excellent advice, I really enjoyed reading this.. And congratulations to you and your design team…. Way To Go! :)

  16. NOW, I am motivated to step up to theme author !!!! Onwards and upwards! To much success! Very motivational end of an interview. Thanks and enjoy your achievement!

  17. Congrat$!! #GOITALIANS ha (ANYone who makes it ‘The First’ is AMAZING!
    and you are right, #ThereISnoCoincidence and Hard Work, Focus and NONstop determination (and I believe some Karma) All Come Together when it’s meant to be



  18. hey guys

    Well done! – yopu deserve it!

    Here’s to the next million.



    (p.s – buy me a beer…or a Ferrari, next time 😉

  19. Tanti cari auguri!!!! Mi fa molto piacere vedere una donna e mamma in top !!! Non è facile lavorare con un bambino piccolo, io ho 2…. Meritate questo momento ed a presto per 2 mill.!!!!

  20. Congratulations, that’s impressive, I didn’t know you before this article, I’m going to discover your themes right now.

  21. I absolutely love your blog.. Very nice colors & theme.
    Did you develop this website yourself? Please reply back as I’m planning to create my own personal website and want to find out where you got this from or what the theme is called. Many thanks!

  22. Congratulations :D.. I own Bazar theme from Sara and she has done absolute amazing work, I can make gazillion layouts out of a single theme and its packed with features to the brim.. Whenever I have to buy any new item, I make sure to checkout what new items Sara has to offer before going anywhere else..

  23. Congratulations Nando and Sara

    What a fantastic attitude and beautiful work. Congratulations on your success, you deserve it!

    I am very glad you did not start practising voodoo, Ivor is awesome after all!

    Helen :-)

  24. Congratulations! A true milestone and your work proves you deserve it! Keep it coming for the development community. All the best, David.

  25. So great to see the “FACE/S” behind the themes we buy.

    Love your themes and especially your support. Infact i always try to buy only your themes because of the after-sales support.

    I like your comment about maintaining “concentration with the theme song of a cartoon in your ears all day is quite a challenge” – very funny because I go through the same thing as a freelancer working at home with a 2 year old girl!!

    It has been really nice to know you guys better through this interview and I love your themes. Good work and thank you for the inspiring words for other online entrepreneurs

  26. Congratulations Sara! I knew your theme would continue to sell well. It’s one of the best on Themeforest. I also enjoyed the opportunity to work with you in the past. Continued wishes for your success!

    Rita Lorraine

  27. It was only a matter of time! What you are doing with themes is an inspiration! You are one of the authors that took WP to the next level, i think it will not be long until you find a whole new sara_p level. Exciting times…. Well done…

    great quote ‘inspiration is all around us’

  28. Congratulation both of you and our grate team, your interview inspired us for do something best !!!!! best of luck !!!!!

    Thank you !!!!

  29. Congratulazioni ragazzi, siete una vera fonte di ispirazione!! Continuate così, ci rivediamo al vostro prossimo milione 😀

  30. Congratulations, guys!

    It is really nice to see how creative and motivated people get paid as they should be.

    Double up soon! (:

  31. Good work guys ! Keep’em coming – you are big source of inspiration.

    BTW …. do you know in couple of years envato market will celebrate first 2 000 000 sales ?

  32. Congrats Sara_p!!! I have bought a couple of your ecommerce themes and I especially LOVE the Barzar theme! Your designs are so clean and what I really love about you guys is your AMAZING customer support! You have been such a BIG help to my business by making those kick but themes :-) Keep up the great work and I can’t wait to see the next woocommerce designed theme you come out with!

  33. Well done you guys!

    I’ve used 2 of your themes and the support and attention to detail is why I came back.

    Excellent people and excellent service.

  34. Complimenti a Sara ed allo staff… Davvero con tutto il mio cuore!

    Sono fiera di voi e scrivo in italiano! Sono troppo fiera, complimenti, spero un giorno di raggiungere un piccolo traguardo anch’io anche solo 1/10 di quanto avete fatto voi.

    Grazie :)

  35. WOW Congrats to you both. I am not a designer I am just a buyer but I appreciate the work and effort that goes into design.

    Keep up the great work and I’ll be checking out your designs soon.

  36. Big congratulations to you!

    Your themes are wonderful to work with, and you’re my first stop when a client is looking for a new theme.

    All the best as you head to $2 million… 😉

  37. A wonderful piece of motivation. As a growing freelancer, I know How hard it is to be appreciated and how it feels after appreciated. Wish you more success in your journey

  38. I was very impressed and encouraged by such success stories! Every time I read these interviews, I want to work at 200% or 1000% for all!

    I wish good luck for the future of Sarah and her family!

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