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The Independent Future of Creative Market

Aaron Epstein March 31, 2021 · 5 min read
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When we opened the doors to Creative Market nearly 5 years ago, we had no idea what to expect. It was a labor of love for our small team to build a platform that empowered independent creators, but we didn’t know if our passion would translate into opportunity for the community we cared so much about.

It wasn’t until we started hearing incredible stories from creators on the platform that we began to realize we were onto something meaningful. The people that took a chance on our tiny little startup by investing their passion and energy to make beautiful products for the community began telling us how their growing success on Creative Market was changing their lives:

That’s why the phrase we repeat all the time at Creative Market is “when shops succeed, we succeed”. We know that when the independent creators on our platform are able to spend more time doing what they love, it opens doors to new opportunities for them and their families, and means we’re focused on the right things.

So 15 months later when we had an opportunity to join Autodesk, we jumped at the chance to build our vision for Creative Market on an even bigger scale, with access to more resources than we had as a tiny startup to help us create even more opportunity for the community.

Another Level Under Autodesk

And that’s exactly what happened. During the last few years at Autodesk, we’ve grown over 7x, more than doubled the size of the team, and built a sustainable business that pays millions of dollars to independent creators around the world each year. Even more, 77% of all earnings on Creative Market are paid outside the United States, where a US dollar can go a lot further.

But for us, the true measure of success is how people would feel if we didn’t exist, and those life-changing stories have gotten even more impactful as we’ve grown over the last few years too:

  • Skyla Design quit her full-time job to take a job cleaning toilets 2 days a week, so she could invest more time into creating her own designs to sell. Within 6 months she was making enough passive income to quit the cleaning job and focus on her Creative Market shop on her schedule, freeing her to spend more time with her kids every day.
  • Jen Wagner’s success on Creative Market gave her and her husband the financial stability to move across the country to Nashville, where her husband can pursue his dream of being a full-time musician, while Jen continues with her own dream on Creative Market.
  • Nicky Laatz left the rat race of client work behind, and turned her passion for design into more than $1,000,000 USD in earnings from her home in South Africa. Now her husband works to support her booming business too, and they’re both able to travel and enjoy more time with their son.

A lot has changed in the last few years for Autodesk too, and it started to become clear that our vision for Creative Market was no longer a strategic fit for where Autodesk is headed. So we decided to spin Creative Market back out of Autodesk as an independent company again, and take back ownership of the company we founded and led since launch. To be able to continue to do my life’s work, with the team that shares the same passion for this community and platform, is truly an incredible gift.

An Independent Future

An Independent Future

Creative Market has been on an incredible trajectory ever since we first launched to the world, but today marks an exciting new beginning for the company. Now that we’re independent again, it’s an opportunity to build the next big creative company that we’ve always believed should exist in the world:

  • To empower independent creators to make a living on their own terms, from anywhere in the world.
  • To help people of all skill levels make their creative ideas a reality, and bring their creative projects to life.
  • To change the way people create.

And we have $7M in new funding to help us get there, from a team of investors that believe in the things that make Creative Market special. That means we’ll be able to invest even more into building the platform, growing the team (we’re hiring for lots of open positions!), and ultimately pouring our lives into creating opportunity for creators everywhere.

So what does this mean for the community?

  • Our mission to help creators turn passion into opportunity will always remain the same.
  • We’ll be the same team you’ve come to know over the years that’s grown Creative Market to this point.
  • We’ll have more resources than ever to grow the marketplace and invest in the things that will have the biggest impact for this community, without the need to be strategic to a parent company’s goals.

Creative Market has always been more than a job for our team – it’s a labor of love. We believe that we can have the greatest impact on the world through our work on this product, for this community, and with this team, to create opportunity for creators everywhere.

And now, as an independent company again, we’re excited to write the rest of our story together with you.

Aaron
Co-founder & CEO, Creative Market

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About the Author
Author
Aaron Epstein

Creative Market cofounder. Jack of all trades, master of none. Designer/developer hybrid in a previous life. Powered by Cheerios and avocados.

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29 Comments
  • This sounds truly exciting! Looking forward to CM's continuing success and growth. 5 years ago
  • That's awesome - thank you guys for all you do to make this marketplace really unique! 5 years ago
  • Thanks @Julie Hansen and @Kim. We're all really excited too 😄 5 years ago
  • Excited to see what's in the pipeline, guys! Congrats on the newfound independence 👏 5 years ago
  • Excited for you guys, keep up the great work. I'm very thankful to be a part of this vibrant community. 5 years ago
  • YAYYYY!!!!!! 5 years ago
  • Great guys!!! Really Compliant for your work. 5 years ago
  • Wonderful company, team and community!! Keep up the awesome work you`ve been doing! 5 years ago
  • Exciting times - keep up the good work. I still find it amazing that I'm able to earn a living like this and all thanks to you guys! 5 years ago
  • That's awesome! We're so happy to be a part of this great community. 5 years ago
  • I love the CM community and it sounds like it's only getting better! 5 years ago
  • Great success, congratulations! Keep up the good works... 5 years ago
  • Thanks everyone! All of your support means the world to our team 😃 5 years ago
  • Awesome guys! We are looking forward to see what the future has in store for the CM family! :) 5 years ago
  • That's amazing! I didn't know that you were part of Autodesk. Reading this post my university memories of learning 3D Studio Max (on a PC that needed 15 minutes just to load the software) just came back... Oh, those "fun" long nights... I can imagine how liberating it is to go on your own and I wish you the best for the journey! :) You've already done a great job, I can't imagine how much better Creative Market can become but can't wait to discover it ;) 5 years ago
  • Thank you for such an amazing and inspiring post. In a world that can be so stereotypical and bland, you're making a such a massive difference. I know my world is made a lot more beautiful and inspired by the art and artists I see on here on Creative Market. I can't wait to see how you evolve from here. I just know it's going to be awesome. 5 years ago
  • This is incredible news! I think an independent future will benefit everyone. The CM team, the artists and the customers. Deep down, I think that's what Creative Market is all about. Freedom and independence. Turning dreams into reality. Congratulations everyone! 5 years ago
  • Wow! Congratulations Creative Market! I also want to say that with your shop my life has changed dramatically. I was at the stage when I had no upcoming orders from my clients and I had nothing to do just to try sell here. I did a try and found new stage of my life. You know that I love to do fonts and spend months on doing them. You gave me a chance to earn from what I love to do most of all. I do appreciate it and wish you a lot of success on your way! Thanks a lot! 5 years ago
  • Look forward to see where the market goes few years from, and congratulation and thank you for creating this website. 5 years ago
  • Proud of you guys, and stoked for the future! Thanks for creating such an incredible community to be a part of. 5 years ago
  • Looking forward to even more brighter days. Lot of success is coming. Thanks to everyone involved in this great community. 5 years ago
  • Awesome to know. We hope all the best! 5 years ago
  • Very exciting and congratulations! 5 years ago
  • Very cool!!! You guys are great. 5 years ago
  • Thank you Aaron and congratulations to the entire team of Creative market. It is truely great to be a part of Creative market. Can´t describe enough how creative market is by far the best place for a designer/artist/creator. You guys have done a great job and thank you :)! 4 years ago
  • We r'e very happy to be a member of the Creative Market Pro Our Portfolio : https://pro.creativemarket.com/shops/Whitegraphic 4 years ago
  • ... 2 years later... "And we have $7M in new funding to help us get there, from a team of investors that believe in the things that make Creative Market special." "We’ll have more resources than ever to grow the marketplace and invest in the things that will have the biggest impact for this community, without the need to be strategic to a parent company’s goals." -------- Really? I see no improvements. All I see is a few gimmicky add ons that failed miserably. CM PRO, Certification, New license Tiers... all the while the website user interface for sellers is a joke. A brand new designed website would cost max $5K Sadly nothing works. We don't get feedback from the staff.. questions get left unanswered. Since these changes, our sales have plummeted. Im sorry to sound like a sour puss.. but reality is, I had high hopes on selling here, but staff responses to my tickets always leaves me feeling like I am the idiot, and that they cant/will do nothing to resolve website issues- and I quote "its not a broken feature on our website, but I will forward your suggestion to our team". If I talk about stuff needing fixing, they respond with "Complaining about it in the forums is not helpful" instead of looking at the problem and giving definite answers. I have disabled my certified products - I don't see why you need a bigger cut than what you have been given. I have increased my Extended license cost, seeing as you are telling the world they can use it for whatever, unlimited everything. I am no longer adding new products until I see positive changes. You also need to do something about the fraudulent buyers, selling our products on other websites. I am talking about holding THEM accountable for their accounts. There are many ways to counter this.... and don't give me the "fraudulent activity on this site is low." and if you want to remove me for speaking my mind, well, ok. 3 years ago
  • Good work, God willing 3 years ago
  • The article is very good and meaningful. 2 years ago