It began in a woodshed with an eBay account...
It was a rainy Seattle Spring in 2008 when John Derringer purchased a set of wheels and tires for his Subaru Legacy. He quickly realized he could make a few extra bucks on the side. So he purchased another set and resold them online for a small profit. “Let’s do it again”, he thought.
Before long, John had set up shop in his father’s woodshed in Tacoma, WA. Armed only with an eBay account and a dream. One set sold, then another, and another. After a few months of success, the woodshed started to seem smaller and smaller, so operations moved into a 20x10 Public Storage unit.
The product line expanded to include a collection of accessories like wheel nuts, wheel spacers, and TPMS sensors. But why stop there? We had the products. Why not offer services? Soon after, John negotiated an exclusive deal with a PVD chrome manufacturer in California. We now offered wheel chroming services for luxury car dealers in the Greater Seattle area.
By 2009, multiple Public Storage units had served their purpose and John moved into his first warehouse. It was time to grow the e-commerce business and expand our services. The next two years were a success. Driven Products grew a loyal fanbase in the Greater Seattle area and upgraded warehouse equipment to include a tire machine and forklift.
At the end of 2010, Driven Products began experimenting with retail installations and it worked. It worked really well! By 2011 it was time to move into a larger facility. A brick and mortar shop complete with a larger warehouse, showroom, and shower. Perfect conditions for a young entrepreneur who would spend most nights sleeping on the office couch.
The next two years were a lot of fun! The warehouse expanded to include state-of-art lifts and a robotic touchless tire machine. We sponsored a local race track where most of our days were spent driving and working on super cars. If it had something to do with wheels and tires, we did it!
"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” - Archilochus
Are we an online retailer? Are we a service shop? We had no idea. It was 2013 and we were running two different business at the same time. Both were suffering due to a lack of attention. We were doing too many things at once and lacked the resources and focus to be the best.
Later in 2013, after a lot of reflection and sleepless nights, John made the toughest decision of his life. Close the service shop and focus on being the best at one thing: creating the world’s simplest and most accurate e-commerce buying experience for wheels, tires, and related accessories. This laser focus quickly propelled the business forward and when 2015 arrived, we had our best and most profitable year to date! The flywheel began to turn…
What used to be a showroom became our community room. Our customer waiting area now became home to the Driven Products game center, complete with ping pong table, foosball table, Jenga, UNO, and more. Where service equipment once stood, transformed into a home for our product racks and inventory.
“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” - Henry Ford
We’ve tried just about everything since 2008 and learned some valuable lessons along the way. Every failure is an opportunity to learn, to adapt, and to grow. We are now moving forward at an incredible pace, laser focused, and ready to grow our team!