We sat down with Austin Whiting from Reed Wheel Company, a Chicago skateboard company, to find out how the company started and where it's going in the future.
In early 2012 an new chicago skateboard company was born. Created by chicago native Austin Whiting, Reed Wheels is breathing new life into the midwest skateboard scene. So, we decided to side down with Austin and learn a little bit about his company.
Tell us a little about yourself and your position at Reed Wheels.
Well my name is Austin Whiting. I’m 23 years old and I live in Chicago, Illinois. As far as my position at Reed wheels, I started it about 8 months ago and am the main operator of it. I handle the sales and marketing stuff, as well as the financial side. Basically, I just try and bring it all together.
How did Reed wheels come about and what made you want to start a wheel company?
Reed wheels really just came about, because it seemed like it would be a fun idea to start a company around what I love. It’d be a productive way to add a little something to Chicago’s “skate scene” and showcase my friends that rip. The reason for choosing wheels is that I wasn’t seeing many small, or local wheel companies really anywhere, especially not out of Chicago. A wheel company could be started on a much smaller scale than say a board company, and from my research and help I’d gotten, I could guarantee top quality in the product.
What challenges you do face owning a small business in a market that i dominated by east and west coast companies?
The first challenge, really, is getting shops on board to stock it and believe in it. With that being said I want to thank every shop that has done so thus far (Thank you Windward!) Also, Uprise skate shop for being a big support. Beyond that, our “marketing” budget is not quite as big as Spitfire’s, so another huge challenge is just getting people familiar with the brand in more and more places and getting people to roll on them!
I see your starting to get a few riders on the team. Tell me a little about who’s on?
Definitely, the team is Marisa Dal Santo, Pat Devine and Ryan Chlumecky. Mar had just moved home from Cali, pretty much right when Reed wheels began, so she was down right off the bat, which was awesome. Pat’s a great friend and was down also, and then I’ve known Ryan for years and he kills it so it only made sense. Basically, everyone stands out as great people, and everyone skates and kicks it together so it’s fun.
Your new graphic is sick! Can I ask who does your art work?
Thanks! Yeah, absolutely. Erik Lundquist has done all of our artwork since day one. Honestly, him being down to help has made it all possible, so major thanks to him. He’s a super tight dude. Check out more of eriks work at http://eriklundquistart.com/
What are you goals for the company heading into the new year?
Heading into the new year I’d say growth is really the main goal. I’d love to be able to release more sizes of wheels as soon as possible, and just get to put out content of the team and friends ripping for people to enjoy.
Any last things we should know about Reed wheels?
Nothing crazy, Reed wheels is just supposed to be a fun outlet that provides top quality skateboard wheels. If you try them, you’ll see.