Looking back would you consider 360 Forged a failure?
I don’t consider it a failure because to me, from the beginning of 360 Forged to ADV1 Wheels right now, it has been one long process, which today is a successful venture. Whether or not it will be any year from now, I don’t know, but I consider it a failure here in terms of the lifespan of that company itself. It’s just from lack of knowledge in the industry and just overall in business, but also being young and not really having the same mentality that I do now even though it has only been a few years. I’ve got two kids now, I’m married, which I didn’t have at that time, and it’s a big difference for a man’s mentality. Now you’ve got people who depend on you as opposed to just being able to pack up and go at any point.
It’s a big difference because when I started this company from scratch and fresh, it was a very much different mentality and a different type of pressure behind it. So I consider it a failure from a business end but at the same time, it’s just part of that learning process. I couldn’t have done anything else had that not happen first. If it didn’t happen first, it would just been ADV1 Wheels that went out of business.
Not only did you lose customers but your competitors also tried to leverage the opportunity to spread rumors. How did you handle that?
360 Forged came out of nowhere and disrupted a lot of other businesses. The last thing that anybody wanted was for me to walk away and start up another company. So that’s where a lot of those rumors really started because if you think about it, a competing company’s only defense in that type of situation is to do exactly that. I’m just doing the right thing and making sure we’re running a good business and doing exactly what we say what we’re going to do.
It has kind of faded away and I guess most people have learned to just accept it and understand that wasn’t really the case. It really was what it was, a business that didn’t do very well, a bunch of people who ordered wheels and during that time didn’t receive them. Hopefully by now all those people have been reimbursed or orders have been filled. I spent a good two years in the beginning of this company still dealing with that and making sure that things are getting done on that end of it. I think you eliminate things like that just by proving it instead of talking about it. That’s what I’m trying to do, just run a business, doing it right, and that’s it. Everything just kind of faded away.
It was crazy. It was very difficult because as we started, I was aggressively pushing the launch of ADV1 Wheels and I couldn’t get on any forums. The wheels looked good and we were trying to get that out as much as we could. People wanted them but everybody was really hesitant because there were so many rumors. It would come up just constantly. If anybody called here asking questions about wheels, it would always turn to “What about that guy, Jordan? Is Jordan involved in the company?” Because of that people were afraid to place a deposit here.
We played it case by case and did the best that we could. I spent a lot of time just talking to people and explaining to them and answering whatever questions they had. But it was difficult, that’s for sure. There was so much negativity but thankfully, I had enough drive to be able to push through it. I made it a point to put as much as I could into making our wheels perfect and look good so it started to outweigh people’s hesitation and doubt, and at least give us a try.
I had an offer to walk away from it in exchange for getting all those orders filled and taken care of. To me, it was more important to do that and move forward and start from scratch than cashing out on whatever it may have been. I know that it doesn’t take money to do it so to me, the most important thing was at least to get those orders filled whether it takes a week or a year or more. I can somewhat save my name as opposed to just having to completely walk away from the business.
After going through that, I really had a good understanding of the real goods and bads of the business that most people will not know or maybe not even go through. I don’t have any bad taste at all. If anything, I feel a lot more confident because of that. When starting ADV1 Wheels, I already knew the real important things to avoid that I wouldn’t have known or didn’t know before. I love this business, cars, wheels, engineering, and design and all that stuff so it’s all that I know. There was no other choice at all.
All of your wheels come out looking great but the same can’t be said for other wheel companies. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I make it a point to not look or see anything else that’s going on with any other wheel companies. I just don’t want to see it. I don’t want to be influenced in any way, not even just subliminally. I don’t want to know what is in style. I try to avoid any kind of trends or anything like that and just stick to what I personally feel is going to be just a bad ass looking wheel design that I would put on my own car, bottom line. If I don’t feel that way then it’s not going to get done. That’s really all there is to it and that’s one thing I always make sure to maintain. I don’t want to follow any other trends. I just want to do what I feel is going to work and eventually, I’m sure, as I get older and older, what I feel is going to work and look good may not be the case anymore, but for right now, I guess people are with me.
Since you weren’t allowed to participate on forums, how else did you market ADV1 Wheels?
Well, at the beginning, we didn’t have any money going into it so there wasn’t any marketing. Usually, when that’s the case and you can’t afford to do any print stuff in magazines or anything, the next alternative is online which we couldn’t really do because there was so much negativity and things going on. We were banned from certain internet forums and even customers couldn’t post pictures of their own cars with ADV1s on it, whether for the right reasons or not.
The only way that I could get it out there then was the quality of the design itself, the wheel design, the marketing design, the way it all looked and I just did my best to get it out as much as we could. We would do just grassroots style marketing with basically no money, and a lot of passion and drive. We would do anything. I remember back then I would create ads and ADV1 brochures for some of the dealers that were willing to push the product as it grew. So anything I could. If I couldn’t put it out there myself then maybe they could for us if they liked it and they feel comfortable with it. I would take any route that I could back then. I would send bulk mailers out, get the website out, anything that we could.
Today, not a lot has changed except for the fact that there’s much more material and positive support that the product really spreads itself naturally and all the dealers are very comfortable with us. We have great relationships with them and they are all doing their best to sell wheels whether it be ours or anybody else’s. They are promoting it and spreading the product out on the internet and all over the world in print materials as well. I think a lot of that effort and just the company itself has gotten to the point where we don’t need to do as much so we do. We had a cover of DuPont last year. We sponsor a bunch of forums. Obviously we use social media which is fun. Our Facebook is really good. That’s pretty much it. Besides that, just keeping the website up to date. It has been a huge project for me since late last year along with new brochures and all sorts of material and making sure that all the dealers agree with all that and have what they need.
We’re all young guys and in an industry that we’re all passionate about and love. We love to come to work and I’m sure if we weren’t here, we would be somewhere else doing something similar. I think that shows in everything because it’s just who we are. We’re not going to try and be anything else. It’s kind of weird if a company would be kind of a mystery and nobody really knows who’s who and can’t really put a face with the name. To me it’s just not my thing so we have no problem putting ourselves out there all the time. We don’t take ourselves seriously. This is not a serious industry. I mean, it’s not an accounting firm or anything like that. We make wheels and we love it. It’s just who we are and that’s the way that I try to go about everything, just be who we are and do exactly what it is that we want to do, like I said with the wheel styles and everything else.
Thankfully, people think it’s funny sometimes but I guess if it’s not, we’d still be doing it. Those pictures with my face on things like a fairy or all sorts of stuff like that, it’s actually not me who does it. Usually, it’s the sales guys. I’ve got this whole database of photoshopped pictures that are pretty funny but people love it.