2010 was a brutal year for many businesses, but there is always two sides to every recession. For entrepreneur Jordan Swerloff, 2010 was quite a great “comeback” year, and the same can be said for his new company ADV1 which really set itself apart from the rest of the wheel companies out there by re-inventing the “concave” wheel and putting himself right at the top of the wheel industry. Here is a short interview with Jordan Swerdloff about what 2010 meant to him and what the future of ADV1 looks like…
What were the major moves ADV1 made in 2010?
Wow, tough question! 2010 in general was a major move, but if I had to single out some highlights I’d say that the most significant move for ADV.1’s progression was hiring our production manager Terrence Ng, formerly of Nitto tires. Without Terrence, ADV.1 would be no where near what it is today. What many don’t know about the wheel business is what goes on behind the scenes, on the outside it’s all fancy cars and pretty pictures but what happens in the inside is what makes or breaks the company. Every single order is custom made to the customers specific needs, so try to imagine 150+ open orders at any given time, each needing engineering, rim halves, finishing, etc. Organizing an operation like this is far from easy and Terrence made it his bitch within a matter of weeks. Now, only 6 or 7 months later I don’t even have to look at production, he’s got it covered. T has processed from start to finish over 3000 wheels and never made a single mistake. With that being said, I’m confident in saying that he’s the most beneficial move we’ve made as far as business management goes, and for all his hard work and dedication we decided to get him a brand new BMW M3 for Christmas! I strongly believe in rewarding your staff and maintaining a happy, comfortable work environment, and for T it’s the least we can do.
As far as major marketing moves, I’d probably say that the development of the deep concave step lip (Track Spec) was the most notable engineering project. This development took months to finalize but the end result is amazing, I’ve never seen a wheel cause so much hype as the ADV5.0 Track Spec. It’s not even officially released until next year and we’ve got tons of orders for it, even existing orders have changed their style to the 5.0 after seeing it on the 430 and yellow Murcielago projects. On the vehicle side, obviously the Reventon we did with SR Auto Group was huge, but nothing I’ve ever seen has caused more hysteria than my F430 on the new Track Specs – it’s amazing the press the car has received, it’s everywhere.
Lastly, the biggest moves from myself personally. For the first time in my life I’m serious about something, I’ve always been pretty care free and it’s led to a lot of problems in the past. After going through everything I’ve gone through and going through a major financial struggle for the first time since I was a teenager, it was a definite reality check for me. I needed that slap in the face to realize that it was time to grow up. Because of that I’ve become much more conservative, less impulsive and I’ve realized the importance of keeping your customers happy and providing a good product. I turned 30 this past October, had my second son and went from the gutter of the automotive industry to where I am today in a matter of months. So, in short I can confidently say that 2010 was the year I grew up and got serious : )
When thinking back in January 2010, did you anticipate the growth your experienced to date? Why or why not?
Honestly, yes and no.
I always say “don’t count your chickens before they hatch” so with that being said I try not to predict the future of the company, so I never really thought about where we would be at the end of 2010. I can say however that now, being at the end of the year and looking back to January that I wouldn’t have predicted the company to be so successful by now, but I did know for a fact that it would be successful eventually. It’s not surprising to me though at all, myself and everyone who is a part of ADV.1 has put in so much time and effort to building this company that I wouldn’t expect anything less. It’s pretty amazing to look back only a matter of months ago at where we were as a company, it’s a good feeling.
Most importantly, I’ve experienced fast growth and success before and I know how dangerous it can be. Having experienced both the good and bad sides of it is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned and has made me very cautious with every business decision.
Overall though, it’s been an amazing year and I couldn’t have predicted it to end this way : )
What was your greatest achievement in 2010?
Hmmmm, so many to choose from lolll just kidding : )
I really can’t put my finger on any one single greatest achievement, so I’d have to say that it would be our dedication to the business. Everyone at ADV.1 has and continues to treat the company like their own, there’s no messages left unreturned, no issues left unresolved, no unhappy customers and no complaints. As a whole I think this is our greatest achievement in 2010 as that attention to detail and service is what has made ADV.1 such a success. We’ll continue to improve and build ADV.1 in 2011, that’ll be a fun question this time next year : )
What do you look forward to the most in 2011?
I really don’t know what to expect for 2011, I’m sure it will be an amazing year and I’m predicting 2011 to be the year ADV.1 really solidifies itself as a company and takes off as a major leader in this industry. If we were able to do what we’ve done in 2010 with what seemed like the world against us, imagine what we can do in 2011 with the world supporting us now. I’m basically most looking forward to the companies progression, and the opportunities we’ll be presented with next year.
Regarding 2011’s product development, we’ve got some amazing projects underway which are scheduled to launch next year, so obviously I’m looking forward to their release. Our fully developed cast line “STAGE.ONE” will release in the spring time with 3 new styles available for a surprising amount of applications in sizes 19″-22″. This has been a huge project which has been underway since last September actually. We also plan to release our most heavily engineered project to date, I can’t release any details as of yet but I can say that it’s the most signifagant design alteration made to the construction of a 3 piece wheel since it’s inception.
You grew ADV1 significantly, what were your annual revenue goals for 2010? Were they surpassed?
I like this question : ) Yes, our gross sales I can honestly say has far exceeded what we projected.
Without getting into too much detail, we’ve managed to build a highly efficient company which has grossed in it’s first year well into the 7 digit range while operating on roughly 25% net profit. The companies accounting system is organized down to every last penny and what it was spent on. Melby, our in house book keeper handles all accounting and has done an incredible job organizing the financials and making sure we’re within our budgets and forecasts. In this business it’s incredibly easy to fall into debt, especially when there’s so many transactions every day it’s very hard to tell what your real net worth is at any given time. I’ve gained a huge amount of respect for that aspect of business, it really is an important, if not the most important part of any successful business. I’m really looking forward to 2011 from an accounting standpoint, I’m confident that we’ll reach our projected goal which is very close to the 8 digit mark.
What do you think was the single most important decision you made in 2010 that helped propel the company to the next level?
I’m staring at this question for 5 minutes now trying to find an answer, unfortunately there isn’t any particular decision that put the company where it is today. I think what did it was the overall drive, and effort put in from all of us. Going into this venture Miguel and I had every tool we needed, the knowledge, the lessons learned, the drive, and the ambition. Overall that’s what put the company onto this level, the Industry against us just waiting for us to make a mistake trained us to be so meticulous and perfect with everything we do and the culmination of all that is what did it. We’re still going strong, in fact even stronger now that we’re finally getting support from the industry – I can only imagine what next year has in store for the progression of our once little baby company : )
Which wheel was your favorite?
It seems like every new style is my favorite, I guess because it’s new and fresh. The customer can go on our site for the first time and see all the styles and configurations for the first time and pick a favorite but we see them every day so the new stuff is what we’re always in love with. With that being said, I’d have to say the ADV5.0 Track Spec, and I think many can agree. It’s simple, but different – It’s the wheel style that I’ve put the most time into designing without a doubt. I made sure every last angle was perfect and exactly what I wanted – so much so that it almost missed it’s own debut at Sema this year.
The track spec 5.0 seems to be the hottest new wheel out, tell me a little about how the design came to be?
Yup, my favorite wheel to date as mentioned above. The ADV5.0TS has been a huge hit, and we’re about to release the monoblock version of it as well which should be another big success. The base of the design was inspired by the oem Ferrari 599GTO wheel, I liked the design but it lacked so much detail. I really felt that it was a nice design but there was something off about it. I took alot of time analyzing the wheel and playing with different options to make it look right, and you can see by the final product it’s not very similar anymore to it’s inspiration. The most problematic area was where the spokes met with the hub section, it was very difficult to come up with an area that flowed and looked natural. It’s unlike any other wheel design, to the untrained eye they’re all pretty much the same, but to us who know wheels you can see the detail and engineering skill needed to make something like that. Others will imitate it as usual but they always leave out the subtle details that make ADV.1 wheels ADV.1, so they’re never quite the same : )
How did SEMA turn out for you guys?
Sema was incredible, we rented a 2500 sq. ft. suite at the Aria and held private meetings with our dealers from all over the world by day, and open get togethers at night. It was a great opportunity to meet alot of our dealers in person who we’ve dealt with over the phone for so long. We solidified some great partnerships like ADV.1 Canada with our friends at TunerWorks Performance, our OEM performance wheel program for the Australian Vehicle manufacturer, Walkinshaw, and lots of other great meetings. It was a nice experience to put a face on the voices we’ve been working with, and who have helped us get to where we are today. It was also nice to alot of people just come to meet us and shake our hand, just to tell us they love what we’ve been doing – that was great.
What happened to that 458? Any secret pics I can have before its release?
Well, here’s a shot of the infamous 458, as you can see it looks pretty amazing, but unfortunately this is the only picture of it we have so far as it’s been snowing up in Vancouver since our buddies at SR Auto Group got the wheels on the car. They’re promising a full photo shoot very soon, so I’ve got my fingers crossed : ) The set did come out perfect and the fitment was amazing. I’ll be sure to send you the pics first once complete.
What was your greatest advantage over your competition in 2010? Will you be able to dominate 2011 and will it be the year ADV1 takes over the wheel world?
Hands down the biggest advantage ADV.1 has over it’s competition is the fact that we’re real about this, we’re not doing it for money or to look cool – this is what we love, it’s what we dream about and it shows in every aspect of the company. I can’t think of 1 other company right now that has real passion for this, they’re all either copies of themselves or copies of ADV.1 and real enthusiasts can see right through that. People don’t understand that, but it’s the truth. People might say, “Jordan knows how to use photo shop so it’s easy for him” or “Jordan is a marketing guru, that’s why they sell wheels”, yes my marketing and design background is a huge advantage, but it only looks good because I eat, sleep and breath this stuff and it’s done with butterflies in my stomach from being excited when I’m designing. You can know all the photo shop in the world or have all the advertising budget in the world to pay the best design firm to do your marketing and still fail because they’re not doing it from the heart, they’re doing it for money. That’s the difference with ADV.1 and unfortunately for our competition, it can’t be bought, can’t be taught, either you have it or you don’t and if you guys are reading this you’re probably agreeing with me right now. This is an enthusiasts business that comes from passion, it doesn’t take money to succeed it takes skill.
Going into 2011, we have every tool needed to climb our way to the top; knowledge, experience, passion and the support of our dealers throughout the world combined with the most qualified manufacturing & engineering group in the industry. Thank you to our customers and everyone who’s supported us along the way, we couldn’t have done it without you.