Rough Decks is a company that specializes in the sale of sporting goods, particularly skateboards and related accessories. However, the firm began via a partnership that grew out of necessity and became something beneficial to all parties involved. Originally, Nancy Wang, owner of Rough Decks, was the owner of a Chinese factory that produced strictly skateboard decks; that is, the oblong platforms on which the skater stands. Her eventual partner, just a friend at the time, was the owner of a factory that produced various skateboard parts, including (most importantly) the trucks, which are the underneath pieces that attach the wheels to the deck.
As orders from importers became greater and greater, everyone involved realized the obvious benefit of joining forces. And so Rough Decks was formed, combining both factories into a single company that produces skateboards in their entirety.
“We wanted a product we could sell all year round, not seasonally,” says Nancy Wang. “I also got some ideas from my daughter and what her classmates at school were interested in.” A product that can be sold regardless of season certainly has its benefits. Nevertheless, there are certain times of year during which certain items will sell a bit better than others. During the regular season, for example, stained decks and designed trucks and wheels will usually be very strong sellers. Wang attributes this to the desire of many customers to “create” or “design” their own custom skateboard, using mixed and matched pieces, including various decks, trucks and/or wheels. However, during the holiday season, Wang finds that completely built skateboards seem to do better. This is most likely due to the high amount of gift purchases at that time of year, meaning that the items are being bought by those who might not necessarily know which individual pieces the owner will like. Also, the price of the completed product is more attractive to the gift buyer.
Thus far, the partnership that resulted in the formation of Rough Decks has been a success. The company has attracted many customers interested in the unique and attractive looking product offered, as well as the option of selling individual parts, which not all skateboard manufacturers offer. The typical customers include wholesalers, although Rough Decks does also supply some local retail skate shops as well. The feedback has all been very positive, and Rough Decks has had success in establishing its own brand within the category. “Yes, we have very good feedback regarding our quality,” says Wang. “However, we always want more people to know about our brand. There are some very famous brands out there, and compared to those, we still need some time to prove ourselves.”
One area in which Rough Decks has made leaps and bounds in establishing that brand, and has, in fact, been a trailblazer in the category, is on the web. In fact, the company’s web presence has gone hand in hand with the development of Rough Decks, which has had a website for as long as there has been a Rough Decks. That website can be found at http://rdusagroup.spaces.live.com/, and it has been an excellent marketing tool. Because Rough Decks is not a retailer, the company refrains from listing prices online, but buyers can go there to see pictures of the product line, as well as learn details about the products and their availability. “The website has definitely had a great effect on our business,” says Wang. “Primarily, it is a great source for customers, and has brought a lot of new ones to us. I think that’s the main reason why it’s been a valuable tool.”
Indeed, the company website is extremely interactive, and boasts a lot of diverse functionality which would be helpful to any prospective or already loyal customer. An entire photo gallery is devoted to the company’s colorful and exciting line of fully built skateboards, as well as individual parts. Using the Windows Live platform, the site is arranged with a variety of sections, including a blog that also features video demonstrations of the boards in action. The site also allows users to closely inspect the actual designs used on the various parts before they are even applied, giving them a better understanding of what the finished product will look like.
Despite not listing specific prices on the site itself, Wang assures COVER Magazine that the prices are quite competitive. In fact, that’s one of the main aspects that differentiates Rough Decks from many other companies selling the same type of products. A combination of superior quality and unbeatable prices is not something that can always be automatically assumed, but Wang is confident that this is the conclusion new customers will come to regarding her company, after doing business with her. Add this to the mix and match feature afforded by Rough Decks’ ability to sell individual parts, and you have a skateboard manufacturer unlike any other. Rough Decks’ designs have been well received by customers, as evidenced by Wang’s assertion that not a single product has ever been returned since the company first started.
“Our products, and our brand will be famous soon in the United States.” Wang assures us. If Rough Decks’ growing popularity is any indication, such a prediction may not be very far off at all.
For more information:
Rough Decks USA
P.O. Box 2226
Walnut, CA 91789