Meet Derrick and Stefan Williams, two brothers from the streets of Brooklyn, NY who shared a passion for cars and decided to do something about it. In less than a year, they have been successful in creating their own wheel line and marketing it to high end exotic car owners worldwide. How did they do it?
Keep reading to find out what Derrick and Stefan had to say about the real “Secret” behind D2 Forged Wheels….
Before we start, we would like to personally welcome you as the newest Platinum Sponsor of Secret Entourage, your help and partnership really means a lot to all of us, and so we truly do appreciate your support. We had a chance to show our readers two of your previous projects, the Lamborghini Murcielago and the Aston Martin Vantage which were both piece of art after your wheels were fitted. Such good taste deserves recognition as many wheel companies make nice wheels but can never get it 100% when selecting which wheels to put on which cars, D2 Forged simply gets it. Lets get started…
From our conversation you said you used to be D2 Autosport, a distributor of aftermarket accessories, prior to becoming D2 Forged? Tell me about how it all started and what made you decide to go from selling to manufacturing?
D2AUTOSPORT was actually started back in 2004 as a e-commerce retail store. I started the company to fill a gap that I perceived in the landscape of aftermarket parts resellers. There was (and still is) a lack of professionalism, accountability and follow through across all genres of this business, and I wanted to offer potential customers a more service centric experience.
We generated visibility via the use of Project Vehicles, which we would modify and then take to local car shows, and post on the online forums. Our customer base grew from the Lexus community to BMW, to Mercedes, to Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini and beyond within the first 2 years!!
We continued to grow, and our reputation began to precede us. We were approached by a engineering facility with the prospect of starting a wheel line. We were well noted for our fitment expertise, and excellence in custom fitment so that part came relatively easy. The new logistics of manufacturing, production, assembly, quality control and inventory management were all new to us! We stepped up to the task, consulted with the best professionals in the business and got our plan of action solidified. I have to take a second to thank my colleague and friend Bob Hale for his support and wealth of knowledge shared with us during this process.
What differentiates D2 Forged from other wheel makers?
The thing that separates us from any other company is our passion, and our dexterity within the marketplace. Being born and raised in NYC (Brooklyn), we are privy to a wealth of different cultures, practices and socio-economic boundaries. This provides us with the ability to set our targets on specific audiences and market our products in a fashion that develops a CONNECTION with the end user. It is almost as if our product comes to life off a computer screen or page. When seen in person, the effect is even more magnified!
We’ve managed to capture that ever elusive quality of attraction, and embed it in our product. When combined with the quality of our materials, and level of craftsmanship, D2FORGED Wheels stands alone from any and every other wheel line.
You told me that you used to work for corporate America? Was it related to the field you are currently in?
Yes, I have held many different positions at various Fortune 500 companies, and so has Stefan. A few of them being sales companies, they certainly related to the field that we currently in. The great thing is, our corporate backgrounds are infused into what we do, so you can expect the professionalism you get from a branded multi-million dollar company but with the human touch and care that has gone missing from Corporate America.
What was your first car? Did it have wheels?
My first car was a 1995 Honda Accord, and in the space of 1 year, I put 3 sets of wheels on it. 17’ Konig, 18” Club Linea, and 18” TSW’s. It was lowered aggressively, with color matched moldings, centercaps, and the oh-so-trendy clear lenses. I truly think this car established my affinity towards clean, tasteful modifications. I worked 2 eight hour jobs to buy and modify that car before college. I will never love another car like I loved that Honda.
You get to work on the world’s finest exotics, what do you guys drive?
I drive a SRT-10 Viper and a Mercedes R-Class. Stefan drives a Corvette Z51, a Lexus SC, and Lincoln LS
To clarify, we do not make it a habit of speaking negatively of others in a open forum. We pride ourselves on getting to the top without pulling anyone else down!
That being said, we are professional, responsible, and accountable, this is what has allowed us to have the consistency of success over such a long period of time. Although no company is immune to anything, we are well aware of the pitfalls of this industry, and we take every precaution to navigate around them. Thus far we have done a great job of staying away from whatever issues plagued that company and hold a very different business model, which allow us to focus on what matters most: “Our customer’s satisfaction”
What Motivates you to achieve MORE?
The thing that motivates me in business is the thrill of cultivating something from nothing. The identification of an opportunity, or gap in the landscape with which I can carve out my own niche; this is what motivates me the most. There is an immense amount of satisfaction to be derived from looking back over the past 13months and seeing how much progress my company has made, while simultaneously taking inventory of the bright future ahead! I also derive motivation from the satisfaction I feel when my closest friends and loved ones can be proud of what I’ve done. My propensity to expensive hobbies doesn’t hurt the motivation factor much either!
What defines success to you?
My definition of success is comprehensive happiness. I have a wonderful wife, 2 beautiful children, and a business doing what I love. I also have a great relationship with my family, and true friends. I’m already extremely successful, however I work hard to sprinkle a few extra dollars in with my success!
When looking back at when you first started making wheels, many would argue that it takes major $$$$ backing…as its an expensive business to start. What do you have to say to those folks?
It is a very expensive business, but with the background that we had, and the “D2 following” that we’d already generated it did take major backing and required us to invest ALL of our capital, but at the time of this interview (13months after our official public introduction), we actually have NO financial backing whatsoever.
I make this distinction to let anyone reading this article know, with determination and the right strategic road map, ANYTHING is attainable, even with limited resources. This credo applies to any business, from wheels, to promotions, to clothing to music.
What core values does your team and you live by at work?
I actually sighted a few of them above: Professionalism, Accountability, Responsibility. These ideals will establish the foundation for maintaining a successful business.
Describe your journey so far in one word?
Anyone you would like to recognize that has helped D2Forged Succeed?
I’d have to give thanks to our promo squad. They are always ready to hit the road and promote D2, they support us with their time, resources and vehicles!
Cathy Johnson, Dan Mahoney, Andrew “Fox” Neish, Sheldon “Karate” Laborde, Paul Evans, Shawn Franklin, Matt Jackson, Demarco Valestin, Vin Budhram, Mike Opalek, and Andrew Magsino.
We want to take a moment to thank Derrick and Stefan for taking time out of their busy day and give us an insight on their business and vision. We are very confident in saying that D2 forged wheels are here to stay and that great new designs will be launched soon, and of course Secret Entourage will be the first to bring them to you. Make sure to check out D2 forged for all your exotic wheel needs, and make sure to mention that you heard about them through Secret Entourage for the best possible deals.
We will be featuring a lot more of their work through the next 6 months and look forward to seeing their newest toys :)