Kriesi: The First Author to Sell $1,000,000 Worth of Items

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Kriesi is the first Envato author to reach Power Elite level! Kriesi has been a member of the Envato community for 3 years, in that time he has amassed a following of 4,088 community members and almost 32,000 sales! He is the most successful author on the Marketplaces to date and the first to reach Power Elite status. A huge congratulations to Kriesi for crossing this milestone and for leading the way for future authors. Kriesi’s amazing achievements show that it is possible to not only make money off the Envato Marketplaces but to do what you love, get paid well and enjoy it as a full time job. Read after the break for an in-depth interview with Kriesi!

Collis Ta’eed (Envato Co-Founder and CEO) is thrilled that Kriesi is our first Power Elite author; Collis said:

“No-one deserves this more than him. Not only has he been at the forefront of ThemeForest for many years, he is in fact one of our very first ThemeForest authors. Kriesi’s first theme dates back to just weeks after the ThemeForest Marketplace launched in 2008. Kriesi is responsible for breaking a lot of ground on ThemeForest, he’s responsible for numerous trends and styles that became popular in his wake, and has repeatedly demonstrated what it means to be a top author at Envato. It’s really fitting that he’s our first million dollar author. My heartfelt congratulations go out to him!”

Interview with Kriesi

As a part of the reward for reaching Power Elite status Envato celebrates a day in honour of the author, that means that today is Kriesi Day! To kick off the celebrations we’ll start with an interview with the man himself, so you can find out a little more about Envato’s most successful author and what it takes to make it to the top.

Congratulations on becoming our very first Power Elite author Kriesi, tell us about how you got here.

Well first of all thanks for having me! :) I started being a ThemeForest author back in September 2008, shortly after the closed beta ended. I was working 9-5 as front end developer in a small advertising agency, which hired me after I finished college. I had a few designs that didn’t make the cut for our clients, so I thought I could just give this strange marketplace thingy a chance and submit one of those designs. Sales during the first month were really lousy ( I made $30 for 40 hours of work) and I was nearly convinced that this whole stock template business was a big waste of time. For reasons I still can’t name, I created a second theme from scratch and submitted that as well. Guess my life would look a whole lot different if I hadn’t done that. :)

The second theme wasn’t even close to being a top seller, but it sold enough copies to show me that my first guess was completely wrong. So for the next few months I improved my Photoshop skills, learned how to code javascript, how to write php that doesn’t look like Spaghetti code and submitted new themes, hoping for a top seller. :)

When that finally happened in July 2009 it caught me completely off guard. Sales exploded, so did the earnings and I was so excited, I was hitting the browser reload button every five minutes for at least 3 days straight. For the first time in my life I was thinking about leaving the agency and becoming self employed.

It did take another 6 months of good sales for me to realize that this wasn’t just a lucky coincidence that earned me some nice pocket money, but actually the real deal, and that I don’t need to be afraid to have no income in 2 months if I quit my daytime job.

What followed were probably the best 2 years of my life. Due to the growing marketplace I was able to start my own business without any knowledge of startups, self employment, marketing or accounting. I just had to do what came natural to me: creating new themes. Thats pretty much what I did until today. :)

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

Feels kinda unreal to me. I still remember one of the first presentations in college when the Professor concluded that most designers and programmers don’t do their jobs because they want to get rich, but because they love what they do. Thats pretty much the way everyone in my class felt. I never thought about becoming self employed, and I certainly never thought that I would someday sell products on a marketplace, worth 1 million dollars. Of course that’s not the money I actually get to spend, you guys at Envato get your well deserved junk for marketing and for the great infrastructure you provide, and an even bigger part is lost to taxes and exchange rate from dollar to euro, but I definitely earn more than I ever thought I would.It definitely feels good, but sometimes its hard to believe that I got that lucky. :)

What does this milestone mean for you as an author and designer?

To be honest, not that much. :) I just turned 30 this month and its a quite similar experience. Everyone is asking you how you feel, now that you are 30 years old, and everyone who has turned 30 pretty much gives the same answer: nothing has changed since yesterday, nothings different :)

I feel similar about this milestone, it’s great that I have come this far, but there is not much difference to last month or even last year. I wouldn’t consider myself a better author or designer now that I have achieved it and I certainly don’t think I am better than someone who hasn’t reached this milestone yet, so as designer this doesn’t mean that much to me.

Personally I think the coolest part of the milestone is that Envato decided to reward elite authors with fancy goodies and badges, something I was really missing before the Elite program opened its doors. :)
I was always a great fan of games like Diablo and World of Warcraft (probably even “a little” addicted) and the quest for new items and achievements was always something that got me hooked.
Cant wait to get the “Envato-Power-Elite-Ring” , my first real life item. ;D

The Power Elite Ring!

So long story short: I am super exited on a personal level but apart from this one day promotion it wont help me selling themes. I still have to work hard to compete; no change, nothings different. :)

You have 40 items currently on the Marketplaces. How many hours have you spent on designs for the Envato Marketplace?

Thats hard to tell since I usually don’t design the whole template in Photoshop before starting to code. I create a rough layout in Photoshop and add details on the go while coding the HTML or WordPress version. The average time per project that I am really working in Photoshop is probably 2-3 days. The average time for a WordPress theme from start to finish about 3 weeks…

Have you had any designs rejected and what did you do about it?

Yes, I can remember that I submitted work to both, ThemeForest and ActiveDen, that was rejected. In the case of ActiveDen I didn’t really bother, since I was submitting leftovers from the agency. I can’t really remember exactly why the ThemeForest item was rejected but I did what most of us do: I was pissed first, then calmed down, listened to the reviewers suggestion, fixed the problems, resubmitted the item, and had to acknowledge that the reviewer was totally right and that the final work was far better than the first version. :)

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

Collis once gave a presentation about Iteration at Ignite Melbourne, that pretty much sums up how I was able to reach the Power Elite level.

I was not, and am not the most talented designer or coder on ThemeForest and I certainly didn’t land a “hole in one” with my first themes. But with every new release I was able to learn something new, about my code, about the underlying technology, about the people that buy my stuff and also why they buy my stuff. I basically iterated to success and thats pretty much the best advice I can give:

Take the time to improve yourself, to improve your work, and become a better designer/programmer with every new release. You will eventually come up with something that people love. :)

What is your office space like?

Similar to most of my themes: lots of whitespace, very white, very clean (some would say sterile). I don’t like a lot of clutter on my virtual desktop and I certainly don’t want it on my real one. ;D
I also have two beanbag chairs in my office, located bellow a small palm tree. If I cant focus on work I usually sit down there and read a little bit. There are days though when I simply need a break from my own office and need to get out, need to see other human beings. Then I usually head to one of the many cafes in Vienna and work there. :) I consider those places my “extended office”…

How do you get inspiration for your designs?

I guess I am not that different to fellow designers here. I love Dribbble and Twitter, I admire the work of a few fellow authors which keep inspiring me and when thats not enough there are always those well known “top 100 of XY-design” lists as well as CSS galleries to get my creative juices flowing. :)

But these days its mostly Dribbble and Twitter.

What is the best thing about your job?

Being able to do what I like, always having the possibility to take a day off, being my own boss, working with great people from around the world, and being part of such a great competitive community that pushes WordPress theming like only a few others do. :)

If you could choose any space in the world and create a design for it, where would it be and what would you make?

Thats a tough one. I think I would want to design an all glass building in the Alps of Austria that holds a super fancy shared office were I and others can work and go on the slopes whenever we feel the need for a timeout :) Video Games, Cinema, Party Lounge etc included. And I would hope for someone to build a similar building somewhere in Egypt. Snowboarding the whole year could get boring, would like to spice it up with some Kitesurfing. 😀

Please help us settle a long running internal debate. How do you pronounce your username?

Haha, didn’t know that there is a debate about my name :D. Kriesi derives from the Austrian short version of Christian (Chrisi) I just had to come up with a different spelling for my first online account since Chrisi was of course already taken since its quite common here. Since I would feel rather silly uploading an mp3 where I pronounce the name: open google translate ( ), select: from Hindi to English and enter Kriesi. Now press the Listen button ;).

Is there anything else you would like to say?

Only that the last few years were a blast, that I am happy to be part of this community and  I am waiting with a red carpet for the next person to join me in the Power Elite Club :) Good luck everyone!

Kriesi looking gangsta with his Power Elite ring!

A huge congratulations to Kriesi for reaching 1,000,000 worth of sales! We are extremely proud to have such a motivated author as a leader in our community. We only hope that the rest of you as inspired as we are! Happy Kriesi Day everyone!

View Kriesi’s portfolio of work on the Marketplaces.
Check out Kriesi’s blog.
Follow Kriesi on Twitter.

373 thoughts on “Kriesi: The First Author to Sell $1,000,000 Worth of Items

  1. Congratulations! You’re an inspiration to me, knowing that it is possible to have so much success doing what you love to do :-)

  2. hey a big CONGRATULATIONS dude, wtg… a mil in sales is outstanding… you’re an inspiration to everyone. keep up the great job. :)

  3. Congrats mate, and a belated happy birthday! 😀 Btw, love the syberias you’re rocking! How’s the comfort level on the neckband? nevermind, offtopic haha

    Keep at it mate.

  4. Kreisi,

    Your work has made me look good. Thanks for putting in those hours and NOT giving up!

    I continue to be a fan of your designs and templates.

  5. Congratulations Kriesi from a country close to yours. This news is very motivating for all of us, I guess. Makes me consider everything I have on the market and improve it, resubmit it, overhaul it.

    In fact, I’ll start now.

  6. Fantastic and well deserved too! Your themes are second to none and I can say through experience that your support is absolutely fantastic.
    Well done! :)

  7. Congratulations to Christian and Envato for this important milestone! :) It’s quite inspiring for everyone to pursue their passion and improve their skills while making other people happy as well.

    Good luck reaching the next milestone, whichever that might be. :)

  8. congrats! kreisi – i am new to themeforest. surely you are acclaimed as a worlds top web designer. you will be inspirational for many like us. hardwork always pays and reaches to next level.

  9. Good for you Kriesi. That ring is so bad-ass. Congrats. Thanks for giving us all hope and inspiring us to push push push ourselves.

  10. What a moment!
    One wonders what has more value. A poker bracelet or ring of Power Elite? Congratulations and keep it up! ROCKSTAR

  11. All I can say is congratulations but, probably more important to you, is that you have inspired me to take that next step and improve on my WordPress theme skills and get some onto the Marketplace.

  12. Dude, a massive well done, this is an awesome milestone, I know I have bought your themes and will continue to. It has to be worth it just for the ring! Kudos man, kudos!

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  14. Huge congrats to you Kriesi!!

    I for one have looked forward to this day, for nearly 5 years, and very happy to see this news :) :)

    One million sold is such a remarkable milestone, which is a true testament to the reach of Envato, and the talent of its amazing authors and fantastic community.

    Much respect and best regards,
    Adrien aka ADG3Studios

  15. I’m glad to be part of this success for being a fan who bought constantly your artwork :p
    Go on! & again, thanks for your art & all your releases.
    You deserve the best & same to Envato team, who made it all of this can be.

  16. Hey man big congrats on your milestone – I have always admired your work and you were the inspiration for me to start developing WordPress themes rather than just HTML etc

    Really feel honored to be part of the same marketplace as yourself and I look forward to many more years of friendly competition

    Keep reaching for the stars!


  17. Such an inspiration to us all Kriesi :).

    May you have many more successes in the future and reach that 2 Mil mark in just less than half the time (trust me it is possible ) :).

    To all the others out there, your “day” will come :D.

  18. Congratulations. After reading your interview it comes as no surprise as to why you succeeded. I hope your story server as an inspiration to many other talented artists here who follow in your footsteps. Good on you!

  19. Congratulations. After reading your interview it comes as no surprise as to why you succeeded. I hope your story serves as an inspiration to many other talented artists here who follow in your footsteps. Good on you!

  20. Congrats. I have been a member of Envato since April 2008 and just went back to see my first purchases and saw that 3 of the first 12 were yours. Perseverance always pays off. I learned a long time ago that we get paid in direct proportion to the amount of rejection we can eat. You got rejected and ate it than spat it out.

    . The only way to succeed is to follow the footpath of King Kriese. I am truly impressed and many thanks to Envato for giving many authors the chance to succeed on their own terms

  21. Congratz Kriesli! The first theme I bought for a client was from you.. It’s still running today, and the design still holds up fine. Your designs and customer support have greatly inspired to pursue a career in freelance Webdesign and that in turn has changed my life for the good. Thank you!

  22. Herzlichen Glueckwunsch Kriesi!

    Du hast ganze Arbeit geleistet und bist wirklich ein Vorbild fuer uns alle – Vor Allem weil du allen Kraft und Mut gibts ihrer Kreativitaet freien Lauf zu lassen und der Welt zu zeigen was in Einem steckt!

    Weiterhin alles alles Gute und mach weiter so! 😉


  23. Kriesi,

    Congratulations on the milestone! I’d personally like to thank you for the work you’ve done. I’ve used many of your WordPress themes for my clients and even my own business website.

    Keep up the great work!

  24. Well all I can say is that way back in 2009 I purchased levitation for a client project..and let me tell you I had to do very extensive customization over a 6 mo time frame. The client had to have endless admin and option customization to make it easier for them to manage content.. and that theme just did not fight me not one bit..I went into the options array the function file, html, css all of it..I was really worried at first but this is my testimony the code is clean and well crafted so when a person has to do some heavy custom work backend and front end Kriesi is the go to guy..Im not puffing..I really mean this I was impressed..:)

  25. A big congratulations to Chris!

    There’s no much to say that hasn’t already been mentioned, apart from that this is a testament that when you have a passion accompanied with dedication to follow it through great things come out of it.

    As a newcomer to User Interface designing I realise my path is paved with brick-walls, late nights and surrounded by mugs of coffee but what I do know is that this is probably the most exciting industry I can think of that is challenging but always rewarding in the end when what you create serves a purpose and is in high demand.

    I guess I got my work cut out then huh. :-)

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  27. Awesome, Kriesi!! Congratulation!!! You’re setting an excellent example for many of the youth to follow, and many of those who are hopeless to see hope at the end of their tunnel. No one can tell you that you can’t do it if you put your heart in it. You’re a prime example of a dream came true, a dream of success, a dream of something that seems impossible to achieve, accomplished. Great job, Kriesi!

    I’ll write about this story our and share the story of your success to our members online.

  28. Congratulations, Kriesi! Absolutely inspiring work, I love your themes and you’re a fantastic example for all marketplace authors.

    Good luck on your next 1,000,000! 😉

  29. Wow ~ Awesome… Congratulations.

    I have used some of your themes and they are really great, you do ‘know what you are doing’ – and I look forward to seeing any new releases.

    Keep up the good work.. Fantastic!

  30. Hi Kriesi – Gratuliere zu Deinem Erfolg! Das macht auf jeden Fall Mut für uns anderen, die noch einen (sehr) weiten Weg bis dahin vor uns haben…!

    Grüsse vom Sommer Perus in den Schnee Österreichs…

  31. Congrats, Kriesi! Absolutely well desereved!

    I’ve purchased from you nearly all your themes – and I love all of them!

    I love your clean and modern designs, the features of them, always up-to-date – and your forum, that you accompany all buyers concerning all questions around your themes!

    Thanks a lot, Kriesi!

    Glückwunsch, Christian, hast es dir mehr als verdient!
    Deine Themes sind einfach nicht zu toppen – das klare, moderne Design, immer up-to-date in ihren Features – und natürlich das Forum, wo jeder, der Fragen zu den Themes hat, immer schnellstmöglichst Antwort bekommt.


  32. Well done Kriesi! You are an inspiration.. Keep up the good work! You’ve inspired me to start theming myself – it makes so much sense – and no clients telling us to “make the logo bigger” – beautiful! It’s a winner all round.

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  34. Kriesi, absolutely brilliant, loved your work… we stand really motivated with the remarkable achievement..
    all the very best for you future milestone… :)

  35. gr8 work. I have bought many themes from themforest and realy admire hard work that people do here.

    Without any hardcore knowledge of web designing , i found all your work easy to use and help was also gr8.

  36. Pingback: Theme developer Kriesi first to accumulate $1,000,000 in sales on Envato Marketplaces | WPCandy

    I don´t know you but I´m happy for you.

    I know it didn´t come easy and you paid the price.

    Look forward to hear of your future successes.

    Keep the good work. .)

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  41. thanks for your inspiration. i have a couple of your templates and it makes me (who doesnt know a whole lot) look great! thanks for your hard work. i like your templates alot

  42. I don’t believe this. They are claiming $1million dollars made not 1million items sold. If you look at his item numbers (amount sold and price of each item), it doesn’t add up. Whatever.

  43. Well done, We’ve been following you since 2008 and I could see the fine tuning that went into your themes from then until now. Great work and inspirational work too!

    When will you change your profile thumbnail? lol :)

  44. Congrats!!!!

    This interview is really inspirational.

    (silently kicks himself in his lazy butt for meaning to design and upload to themeforest and not doing it since 2008)


  45. Well first of all congratulations. My college professor is telling me the same thing he told you…but its Designers like you that motivate me :) you’re showing that you can still make money and do the job you love :)

  46. Pingback: Theme developer Kriesi first to accumulate $1,000,000 in sales on Envato Marketplaces
  47. Seriously, nice job! That is awesome being able to work on your own. I certainly love and the whole Envato family. Thanks everyone!

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  49. Kriesi is a big inspiration to my web design, I am working on designs for clients and personal sites, trying to perfect my craft. One day I would like to create templates and sell them on envato. It’s guys like this who give guys like me much inspiration and hope.

    Congratulations :)

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  52. wow that is awesome, congrats to everyone, envato for being perceptive enough to realize the potential of creating a new virtual economy, the opportunities this presents, an alternative to the 9-5 for those in the developed world and a serious lifeline for those in under developed nations, encouraging the rise of the self employed entrepreneurs the world over.

    And congrats to Kriesi for being such an integral part of each of your successes.

    Might have to start submitting some files instead of just buying them ! :)

    “How does it feel to have sold over $1,000,000 of items?”
    i think there is typo?

    You guys at Envato get your well deserved junk for marketing and for the great infrastructure you provide,

    should be

    You guys at Envato get your well deserved chunk for marketing and for the great infrastructure you provide,

    A well deserved chunk it is!

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  58. Now that Peerapong is the second author to become a Power Elite Ring bearer, I just had to know who was first! Congratulations, Kriesi. Keep those great themes coming!

  59. Congrats!

    I am a newbie here and I think I am joining this market place very late.
    But better late than never!

    Guys like you are inspiration to many.

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  66. It’s such an inspiring story, out of nowhere with sheer commitment Kriesi was able to do 2M+ in few year. Many start-ups don’t even reach that milestone or take rather long path to reach there. Success stories like these are truly inspiring.

  67. LOL I really like the touch with the ring. That is funny. Envato seems like a really “cool” company and I like everything they do, EXCEPT for the ridiculously long password requirement (I will go rant on some other page). Thanks for the article though. Congrats Kriesi! I’m sure now 3 years later you’re doing even greater things.

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