Cars and carbon fiber are a marriage made in heaven. From small accents around the car to full race bodies made of carbon fiber, the material has gone fully streamlined in today’s car market. Car enthusiasts everywhere look for carbon parts for their cars but have also started to look for a carbon look for just about everything else. From pens to watches, carbon fiber is now simply becoming a style and a way of life for most.
Meet David Pitlyuk, a young entrepreneur who saw opportunity in carbon fiber and capitalized on it. He is the owner and CEO of Carbon Fiber Gear, your one stop for everything carbon fiber.
We got a chance to catch up with David to talk cars, life and business and learn something from his story.
What is Carbon Gear all about?
Carbon Fiber Gear is all about being the one place to go when you want to find anything carbon fiber. We have two main sections to the site right now. The first is the blog, which covers the latest in carbon fiber news, and showcases unique carbon fiber products. The second is our store, which at this time is dedicated to finding and selling unique products made with or out of carbon fiber.
What made you decide to start a business dedicated to carbon fiber?
It’s a funny story actually. Occasionally I write for a personal blog on young entrepreneurship (http://www.davepit.com), and part of what I would discuss and be interested in was something called affiliate marketing. For those that don’t know what this is, it’s where you become an affiliate of a company, say Amazon. You promote people to go to their site, and if they buy something, you get a percentage of the sale.
So what does this have to do with Carbon Fiber Gear?
Well I had always been into cars, and had a bunch of carbon fiber parts on a Nissan 350Z I had tuned. One day I came across a carbon fiber wallet on the internet which I thought was so cool (http://www.carbonfibergear.com/direct/3k-carbon-fiber-leather-wallet). This made me go out and find other unique carbon fiber products. I decided to start a blog based on this, and when possible I would send traffic to affiliates selling the product like eBay. I would make about $1 or so any time a wallet got sold from my referral, but then one day I got a phone call from the company that manufactured the wallets (among other products). We ended up buying a small inventory to see how they would sell direct on the site. The rest was history.
How do you market your business online?
Surprisingly enough, we don’t spend a ton of money on marketing. A lot of it is word-of-mouth and because of my experience in blogging and social media, I’ve been able to do well in generating traffic organically. We do spend some money sponsoring sites like Luxury4Play, it really helps us get an almost instant response on what our target market thinks about a product.
What advice do you have for anyone wanting to start a business out of the ordinary?
If you have a good idea, go for it. Don’t sit there and plan/research forever how you will make it work. Of course there will be some due diligence up front, but I believe you really just need to jump in. If you’re developing a product, go out there and get a prototype made. It doesn’t have to be the best out of the gate, but get something, show people, get them talking. This is especially important if you need to raise money.
What drives you to work harder?
Doing what I love and have a passion for. Being my own boss is a good feeling. Knowing that when you work twice as hard on your own business you will likely see a much better result for your actions than working twice as hard in a 9-5 job. The other half is personal goals I set for myself which are far less likely to occur in a 9-5. Dream big. For example I generally stop at Ferrari/Lamborghini dealership at least 1-2 times a month to remind myself that I’ve always wanted one of their cars sitting in my garage.
Was there a particular phase in your business where you felt like giving up?
For Carbon Fiber Gear, no. I’ve definitely been extremely stressed at points, and as in any business, things happens. Sometimes it just feels like everything bad is happening at once and the sky is falling down. You have to learn to make the best of it and drudge through the bad times as there is a light at the end of the tunnel. With businesses in the past there have definitely been times where I’ve felt like giving up. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, and think I can improve myself on is being able to learn when to quit. At times you need to asses everything going on, and sometimes it’s best to decide to move on. I like to compare it to the stock market, part of doing well is learning when to sell.
Tell us about your car?
Right now, my fun car is a blue/white 1997 GTS Dodge Viper. This is my third Viper (previously had first generation RT/10’s), and really my favorite Viper that Dodge ever released. I picked it up in Michigan about a year ago and drove it back here to VA. Since then I’ve added a Corsa exhaust and hi-flow cats. I plan on keeping this car forever.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
5 years from now I see myself running a successful company that has expanded quite a bit into a few directions that I have in the back of my head. I hope to have a good team of people working with me and sharing in my success.
Which direction do you plan to take your business in next
I have a few plans in the back of my head for some additional legs of the business, including a composites manufacturing portion. Whether that happens from the ground up or through M&A, I’d love to get into some of the more technical and engineering aspects of the industry. I also have plans to get into more of the automotive/motorcycle aspect of carbon fiber, which aside from key blog posts we generally steer away from at this time for business reasons. Another thing we’ve been working on with partners is private label branding of consumer products for companies like Formula 1 and racing yacht teams.
A big “Thank You” to David for sharing his story and great words of wisdom with our readers, we wish him great success in all of his various ventures and will check back in with him later to see how many more cool cars he has been able to add to his collection.
Make sure to check out his carbon fiber store for all the latest carbon fiber items and news at Carbon Fiber Gear