Everyday countless new projects go up on sites like the Kick Starter, but very few are actually successful. Back in the 90s and early 2000s entrepreneurs did not have that luxury. Nevertheless, countless innovative products did emerge, were successful, but then forgotten. DRI WASH ‘n GUARD was one such product. People loved it as a curiosity, but soon forgot about it. It was a spray which allowed you to clean your car without water. But, there was one group that understood its value and still does: auto enthusiasts.
Join us as we interview John Skurka from DriwashSolutions.com, about his entrepreneurial journey from being an enthusiast to becoming the biggest distributor of DRI WASH ‘n GUARD products.
What was the inspiration behind selecting Driwash as the main product for your ecommerce site?
I’ve been a car guy since my father got me interested in cars as a child. When I decided I wanted to start an e-commerce business back in the early 2000’s, I knew I wanted the business to be automotive related. I had been given a small 1oz sample bottle of DRI WASH ‘n GUARD Waterless Car Wash at a local swap meet. I had tried it on my motorcycle at the time (a 1995 Black Sportster) and it worked wonders on some light feather scratches on the tank. I decided to look into becoming a distributor, and in 2003 driwashsolutions.com was born.
Was it difficult to set up the ecommerce setup back in 2003?
Not really, although the whole internet thing was new to me. I had a lot of learning to do, and a co-op student that I had working for me at my day job really helped me out. He told me the first thing I needed to do was to get a web host. I purchased a package at first through Yahoo Business, and I was on my way. He also said the quickest way to get a web presence back then was to purchase a website template. Back then, it was straight HTML, and very static. But I purchased one I liked, and starting manually editing pages to add the DRI WASH ‘n GUARD product line. I took my own pictures, and edited them, and added product descriptions. Then, I needed to be able to accept payments. PayPal was the answer. They had BUY IT NOW and ADD TO CART button preprogrammed. That was the start of my e-commerce website.
Once the store started having monthly sales of $1000 via PayPal, I decided I needed to get a merchant account, in order to accept Credit Cards. Then, I also needed to upgrade my store. I setup a true e-commerce site by using the shopping cart from Open Source Commerce. Then the order volume increased since customers had more options. In 2008, I updated the Entire site, since I had a brand new store.
This was a big step, and my sales kept me at the #1 position for all DRI WASH ‘n GUARD Distributors as far as Personal Volume is concerned. Although I was the distributor selling the most products, I still kept a regular 9-5 job, since it was not enough to live on. But I kept pushing. Steady as she goes, still selling a lot of product, I decided to kick it up a notch in 2015. Yet another website redesign, so that it is “responsive”. This means that the site will self-adjust to whatever device the customer is viewing site on: Phone, tablet, or desktop. Also, the store has been moved to Shopify, giving the user a more professional experience: A new logo, site, and store. Every day brings something new – and who knows what is in store for the future, but as long as there’s DRI WASH ‘n GUARD, I’ll keep selling it.
SEO has played a great part in your efforts to stay on top. Do you feel that SEO trends are improving now that Google and other search engines are more focused towards quality?
Back in the day, Link Building was the biggest SEO ticket. I used a third part link builder site, and tried to get “quality” links, as well as providing backlinks to their sites. Along with on page text, I spent a lot of time doing all the SEO myself. Over the years, it has paid off with the #1 spot for several key words: DRI WASH, DRY WASH, DRI WASH ‘n GUARD, and several others based on DRI WASH. Now, I focus on just getting quality links from well-known blogs and sites, and am somewhat resting on my laurels.
It is a wonderful product which saves a lot of water. Do you think people are becoming more aware of it as opposed to wasting water?
No. Most of my customers were introduced to it back in the 90’s, and had a hard time finding it. Now, they’re amazed that the product is still available. Most of my customers are enthusiasts, who enjoy keeping their cars clean, and enjoy the just “waxed” finish that DRI WASH ‘n GUARD gives. It appears that many young folks are not interested in cars (stereotypical views of Millennials are that they are not very enthusiastic about vehicles, and view them as simply a mode of transportation) so reaching these folks represents a new opportunity.
What do you have in store for the future?
DWG has decided to market this product using a direct sales model. I’ve been selling it for 13 years, and 99% of my sponsored distributors have not been successful. I’ve decided to try and help – giving away websites that are e-commerce capable. Any distributor that invests in buying product and stocking the entire product line will receive a fully operational website (such as www.driwashalberta.com and www.driwashnorth.com – two of my distributors in Canada). Since I make a commission when they buy product, this will help them become enthusiastic without having to build a site themselves.
Lastly, there are many entrepreneurs out there who have a difficult time in bringing their ideas to the market. Having passed through the process, what is your advice to them?
Most success happens over many years, not overnight. Keep pressing forward.