Worthouse enters Formula Drift.. Who are they? Where did they come from?
In an effort to bring light to the many companies that sponsor professional drifting, we will be interviewing them and illustrating their story and involvement. Today we start with Worthouse Inc. A company based out of Poland has taken over Formula Drift USA and is poised to win a championship. We spoke with the owner and asked him to explain the move into drifting and how it has affected the growth of Worthouse.
Hello Marcin, Let me start by thanking you for allowing the drift community to learn more about Worthouse's involvement in drifting. Lets start by telling the drift fans about the origins of Worthouse?
Marcin Lesniak, CEO of Worthouse, Inc.: We make steel roofs and have been running a successful business in Poland under the Budmat name for the last 25 years. We've started supporting Piotr, who also comes from our hometown, Płock, years ago as he was taking his first steps in drifting, and it's been a very successful partnership. We helped Piotr grow and watched him develop into one of Europe's top drifters, while also enjoying the great exposure that drifting gives to our brand amongst the younger generation, our target audience. Excuse the pun: our sales went through the roof but it's not just that. We really fell in love with this sport. We've been thinking about expanding on the US market and Piotr was an obvious partner for us. First of all, we believe in long term projects, we're a loyal partner and most importantly, we're absolutely convinced that Piotr will be as successful in Formula Drift as he's been in the Drift Masters GP over the last year as a three time Champion. As for James, what can I say? He's the Michael Jordan or drifting. It's as simple as that.
Source Worthouse.com Image of Worthouse installers
Source: Tygodnik Plocki www.tp.com.p
2. Now that we know more about where you started, tell us about your ambitions to come into the US market.
Steel roofs are really popular in Europe as a simple yet solid product and we always believed that it's something that would take the US market by a storm. For over a year now we've been successfully operating in Canada where the market is really similar to the US and so far things are going really well giving us a good insight into what to expect in the US. The brand awareness amongst our target audience Stateside is now well developed, which is mainly thanks to our involvement in the Worthouse Drift Team and Formula Drift. It gives us a really good value but it wouldn't make any sense if we didn't have the right product and we have that with our Supre and Ulta roofs, which is something that the US market was missing. Ever since Long Beach we're noticing an increased traffic on our website and right now we're just about ready to put our product on the US market, which is something we've been working towards for the last few months.
3. Tell us how you met James and Piotr and how they approached you or visa versa?
Piotr comes from the same town in Poland as we do and our partnership goes a long way. Together we've created a very successful Budmat Auto Drift Team, winning the Drift Masters GP in Europe three times in a row. James has been a longtime friend of Piotr and when we've decided to expand our team he was a natural fit as one of the world's top drifters. Piotr and James have given the European fans plenty of exciting battles in the DMGP and we hope they will do the same in the US, as we aim to conquer the American market together. Both sport and business-wise.
Source: http://www.tp.com.pl/zdjecia drift-masters-grand-prix-2016
4. The decision to finance an international dynamic duo must have been heavy. How do you justify the immense budget in a questionable demographic?
Actually a drift fan's profile matches almost perfectly to our target audience. Years of our involvement in drift in Europe proved that this goes hand in hand. The very same people who follow drifting are the ones we are targeting: the young adults just starting their family, looking for their first home and so on. It's a perfect match. On top of that we really believe that once you have the comfort of having that proverbial 'roof over your head' you can then go on and really focus on your passions, like drifting. Thousands of our fans and clients from Europe share that idea.
5.Now that the decision has been made to move to the US and sponsor a team, Tell us about some of the inner-workings and logistics behind the move to the US.
We've been running a very successful drift team in Poland but as a lot of our fans know, both Piotr and James continue to take part in the Drift Masters Grand Prix so we knew we couldn't just move the people and infrastructure over to the US. We knew that both of our drivers will have plenty to learn this year so we wanted to keep it as simple as possible and take out all the other off-track variables, like the logistics, infrastructure and so on. That's why right from the beginning we wanted to team up with one of the US teams with a proved track record and Bridges Racing has been the obvious choice. Bryan Bridges runs a great team with a bunch of great guys and with them being former champions, that ticked off all the boxes. Both Piotr and James got on really well with Bryan, the entire crew and Dean Kearney, who's Irish just as James, so it's really more than a partnership. The guys have been spending a lot of time together and we can really say we're a family. As for our roofs, so far we're manufacturing them in Poland using our state-of-the-art facilities in Płock and expertise, but our goal is to move the production Stateside as soon as possible due to the potential of the American and Canadian markets. Metal roofs have a long lasting tradition in Poland and we have lots of experience with them, so after a careful analysis we're confident that this is something that our new US customers will love, helping us to grow and investing further in our involvement in drifting.
6. What were your original expectation of the team during its first year in Formula Drift?
Honestly speaking, when it comes for expectations for this year, we expect nothing else but to learn. We're very humble and we know it takes time, especially in Formula Drift, a leading drifting series in the world, with so many small differences to what we're used to in Europe. We never expected to come here and be leading the Championship as we are now, so we've been absolutely blown away with our results in the first half of the season. Having said that, we're not getting too carried away and will approach the second half of the season one event at a time.
7. Now that James is leading in the championship and Piotr is climbing the ranks, how has that affected your business?
We haven't started selling in the US yet, but we've come a long way in terms of building brand awareness amongst our potential clients, distributors, partners and roofers. It's not just a case of exposure during the official live streams, on our social media channels or in the media. Our Formula Drift involvement and the partnership with Bridges Racing – with their great infrastructure, is giving us some exciting B2B opportunities. We've already had some of our partners enjoying the events with us trackside and once we go on the market with our products, which is just weeks away, we'll take full advantage of the B2C opportunities. We'll do it all for our clients, including VIP trips to events, co-drivers... you name it!
8. Now that you have had a taste of the potential of your team, what are your expectations for the rest of the year?
Knowing James and the scope of his talent we knew he'd be competitive right out of the gates but again, we're still pinching ourselves to be leading the Championship. We're keeping our fingers crossed and hope that the second half of the season is as good as the first one but there's absolutely no pressure. Our involvement in Formula Drift is a long term project and we'll take whatever happens in the first year. Having said that, we're not here to make up the numbers and sell roofs. After dominating in the Drift Masters GP in Europe and winning the Championship three times in a row with Piotr, we're sort of used to a certain level of performance we want to replicate in the US in the long run. Bridges Racing shares our goals and we're also blown away with our fans, who stick by us regardless of the results. We have everything we need to go by our motto and “Reach For More”.
9. The Worthouse brand very quickly grew to stardom within the drifting world. Do you have plans to continue to grow within Formula Drift?
Trust us, we're just getting started! 2017 was all about getting our feet wet but we have a ton of ideas we want to implement to take the experience for the fans to the next level. Whether it's our famous Worthouse Girls, special guests, the merchandise we're working on right now or simply getting the fans even closer to the action. There's lots more to come but as is the case with our on-track performance, we didn't want to go all in right from the word go and are taking one step at a time, letting our drivers focus on the challenge ahead and learn.
10. The fans of drifting are extremely great full that Worthouse was able to step up and bring the international stars to the states, Tell us whats next for the team and the brand?
There's a few things we are working on right now, both for the second half of the season and next year, but we can't spill the beans just yet. However, make sure to keep up with us on our social media channels as we promise to keep surprising you. Both on and off the track.
Wow Thanks again for all the great information about your company and involvement. We hope that more companies will read this and see that drifting can be an investable sport. ...
Drift Illustrated try's its best to provide credit to those that deserve it. We found most of these pictures on the Worthouse social media account with their permission. If you see a photo that you took let us know and we will add your information.