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Cooking up a $1M Storm with the Muffin Group

MuffinGroup, a small close-knit team of designers and developers from Poland, and creators of the now famous BeTheme, have just recently reached $1,000,000 in sales! Congratulations!

I recently asked them a few questions to see if we could uncover the secret to their success…

Happy Power Elite Day MuffinGroup!

How does it feel and where did that name come from?

This is just awesome! We never thought it would ever be possible to hit such a big milestone. But when we did it, it was such an amazing feeling, really hard to describe :) And now we are very happy to be the part of Envato Power Eliteauthor’s group.

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To be honest, our name is totally made up. For quite a long time, we where looking for a name that would sound good and also interesting enough to build a visual identity around. And finally we decided that Muffin Group would be a great choice. In the beginning, our identity was totally different (a label with a lot of brown) but after some time, we came to conclusion that that label was far too hard to read, so we created something simpler and purer. That’s how the current “muffin cake” logo was established.

Let’s have some fun!

Who is in the team and how did you all get together?

We are a small team of four – a graphic designer, a coder, a programmer and a support guy. Before we created the MuffinGroup team, we had all been working full time jobs at an interactive agency in our city. And this is where we all met. We have been working together for a quite long time and we get along very well in every aspect of our work. After a long period of working for clients, our current jobs no longer satisfied us and we started looking elsewhere. A bit down the road, we eventually found Themeforest.

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After seeing some of the other themes on the Market, we decided to build and submit a WordPress theme called Doover. Of course it took time, it was also initially rejected, but finally, late one night, it was eventually approved. It was really exciting when we got up the next morning, and we could not believe how many people where actually interested in it, and how many questions we had about it!

So we started working on our themes in the evenings after work. Every evening we had a Skype call to discuss any suggestions and proposals. Ater a few months we decided to leave our full-time jobs and start our own company, because it was really hard to work on both as we had no personal time at all. And this is the summarized story of how our team was born.

Tell us a bit about your design space and where you live!

We live and work in a small city in Poland. At the moment we rent a small office where we have 4 desks, but it’s definitely time to move into our own office – maybe something with more space, a small kitchen and possibly a nice view. We are planning to do it after the New Year.

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What made you take on design and development?

We’ve been working in this business for a long time and we fell into it like a fish to water. We really can’t imagine doing anything else or better. We really love what we do. Furthermore, because we have continuous contact with our customers, that gives us the incentive to keep on working hard.

Who inspired you originally?

Before we started out with our first project, we had been looking at guys likeOrman Clark and internq7 (now AndonDesign). They where our inspiration at that time and their products were truly outstanding with amazing options and possibilities. However, since then, there are now many great authors that do an amazing job and also still manage to surprise us.

Tech Talk

What is your most useful functions.php/CSS/JS/PHP snippet?

We don’t really have any favourites and it’s hard to tell you which are the best, but we definitely use “Clearfix” very often in our CSS. The PHP library TGM Plugin Activator is especially useful, because it allows us to include plugins much easier into our themes. Also the jQuery plugin Debounced Resize()deserves recognition as it’s useful for responsive design testing. Probably these tools are the most important to us as we use them the most often.

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Top tip for productivity as entrepreneurs (working for yourself)

You have probably heard these many times before, but here are our tips: work really hard, do what you love, listen to customer feedback, and lot’s of coffee! But the most important tip is to build a good team and a have a good work ethic, because work will feel effortless and everything will eventually work out as it should.

One Browser extension you couldn’t live without?

This question is really easy. Definitely Firebug for Firefox. This tool should be used by every developer, and that’s why we would call it a “must have”. In the past we tried to use other tools, but Firebug is definitely our number one. Of course, Firefox is not as fast nor as user-friendly as Chrome, but the Firebug extension is definitely top notch for developers. Without this tool it would be very hard to help customers with their changes. It allows us to quickly make changes to the CSS, and also check Javascript errors from third party plugins.

Any hot tips for authors starting out?

We only have three important rules: do not copy anyone, maintain high standards, and to always follow our own path. Those are the three most important points we have followed and respected from the very beginning.

What is the next big thing for MuffinGroup?

As we wrote above, our next big thing is moving into our own office. Work harder – especially on developing our latest item – BeTheme. And finally, to continuously listen to customer’s suggestions.

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Chill out Time

What do you do to do to unwind?

We spend the most of our time together in the office, but after work we do like to do many different things. We like running, going to the gym, snowboarding and flying kites, but we especially love cars and meeting up with our friends at the weekends. Of course we don’t have that much free time, but we do try to spend it as efficiently as possible.

Favourite social media channel to surf and why?

We do not use social media channels that much, but mostly we use Facebook because our customers like to be informed about any major updates and new products we realease. So in the past we decided create an account for Muffin Group and that’s how the profile on FB was born.

Best TV show to relax

We do not watch many TV shows, but because we love cars, we do love to watch TopGear, Gas Monkey and Wheeler Dealers.

Favourite movie

Oh, wow, this question was really hard because we do not have to much time for movies. But after some discussion, here are the movies we have chosen: The Godfather, Shutter Island and The Green Mile.

Favourite band/artist/DJ

When we tried to select our favourite band or artist, we ended up collecting a list of 100! We all listen to totally different types of music, but here are some of our favorites: The Offspring, Metalica, Budka Suflera and Maciej Malenczuk. In the office we mostly tend to listen to Polish music, but we also like many others too.

Congratulations MuffinGroup on this amazing milestone!

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Dan Michael

About the Author Dan Michael

Dan is a freelancer on Envato Studio. You can follow him on Twitter @danmikhael or check out his website