Building a Theme for the Shopify Theme Store

Building a Theme for the Shopify Theme Store

When it comes to ecommerce the look and feel of your online store is extremely important. That's why we’ve always put a huge emphasis on design. The Wall Street Shopify theme below is a great example of a gorgeous ecommerce storefront that's as functional as it is aesthetically pleasing.


Most people know our Theme Store as a place to shop for free and paid Shopify Themes. Some people don't know that anyone and everyone are welcome to contribute their own designs. Designing a theme for our Theme Store is an excellent way to gain exposure to a new audience and generate some extra revenue. Katherine Hague from Ninja Parade, and Shawn Allison, designed one of our most popular themes called New York, which comes with 4 different styles inspired by the big apple’s most iconic streets: Madison Avenue, Broadway, Wall Street, and 5th Avenue

Katherine took some time out of her day to answer some questions about designing a theme for the Shopify Theme Store: 

Why did you decide to develop a Theme for Shopify?

I had been watching the Shopify community grow over the past few years. Tobi (Shopify’s Founder & CEO) came out and spoke at a conference I planned for young entrepreneurs back in 2008. I'd always wanted to be involved, but didn't have an idea for an online store. After learning more about the Theme Store, I decided it might be a fun way to get involved with Shopify, learn a bit about ecommerce, and maybe even make a bit of extra money. My background is mostly in business and marketing, I'm not a designer and as much as I might have liked to I knew I couldn't build the theme myself. I ended up hiring one of my good friends who's a great designer to work on it with me. At the time I had no idea if I'd make my money back but I looked at it as a bit of an experiment...and it paid off!


What is the biggest hurdle that you overcame?

The biggest initial hurdle was simply deciding what type of theme we wanted to build. What type of store owner did we want to appeal to? How could we differentiate ourselves in the marketplace? What were the main features that we should include? I wanted to build a theme that I would be proud to use if it were my own store. We wanted to make the theme easy to use, but with enough customization options built in that you wouldn't need to be a designer to make it feel like you're own. The initial style that we decided on was Madison Avenue, which was inspired by classic 60s aesthetic of Mad Men. From there we expanded to other iconic New York streets: Broadway, Wall Street and 5th Avenue. 


Would you encourage others to develop a Theme for Shopify? 

The truth is that I am surprised more people haven't latched on to the opportunity. Not only have I learnt a lot since launching the theme, but the experience has definitely paid off financially. The Shopify developer ecosystem is just getting started, there are still so many opportunities to build new themes and apps that customers are eagerly awaiting. I get ideas everyday from the questions and feedback customers send after installing our theme. There are dozens of ideas for themes and apps that I wish I could start working on today! It still feels like I'm in on a secret. One day I'll wake up and the secret will be out, every other developer in the world will be publishing themes for Shopify. So, would I encourage others to develop a theme for Shopify? Selfishly, no. That would mean more competition for me ;)


For those of you interested in learning more about building a theme for our Theme Store, the details are pretty straightforward and are located in our Theme Store Guidelines.