Query? – Kink’s Zack Phillips

Zack driving a shipping container machine at Kink's factory in Asia.

Most BMX frame and parts manufacturers these days are getting their products made in Taiwan, and Kink is no exception. Obviously there are beneficial economic reasons for abandoning US manufacturing. Give us a little insight into this process.
Great question. When I started everything was made in Rochester, but one thing that was never consistent was delivery and international sales were much more difficult. There is a misconception that everything is much cheaper in Taiwan. Products like tires and seats are less expensive because there are factories ready to make them, but products like sprockets and stems are practically the same as I could get it made down the street. There are a lot of makers in Taiwan and some have amazing buildings with the newest machines and some are the opposite. We spend a lot of time in Taiwan exploring new options and meeting factory owners. Some owners passionately care about what they are doing and are always wanting feedback to improve, and some owners don’t care. I think that is similar to here in America. We choose to work with factory owners who are excited and passionate about BMX and really want to continually improve there work and be on the forefront of progress.

What are the biggest challenges in manufacturing products in a foreign country and then having them imported for sales and distribution?
Actually it is not very crazy and there are not many large hurdles on the Asian side. If you have cash and some ideas you can find an agent pretty easy these days and you have just started a company. The largest hurdle would be to find a quality distributor that will sell your products. You will really need to find someone that has the same vision as you do. Also marketing your product to the riders and having riders interested in your products. For us we really work on quality and that is why we spend the majority of a year in Taiwan overseeing production and continually pushing new technologies.

Chris Reisenberger has worked with you for at least ten years. In addition to being head roadie on the the Road Fools Rock Tours, that guy knows how to move units back at the Kink sales office. How did you guys start working together? Any good stories about Reis?
Yeah it’s been about 11 years! Chris used to manage Hardpact Board Gear which was a bike/skate/snowboard shop with 4 stores around Western NY. We had similar business ideas and ethics and he has a great personality, so I knew it would work out. He is really good at communicating on multiple levels. For example an 80 year old bike shop owner without a computer and 9 year old rider who calls for info about a bike. It’s pretty scary about how we think alike. Customer service to both the bike shops and riders are our number one priority and we think about potential problems or issues from all angles and view points to solve problems.

(L-R, front to back) Redbeard, Aaron, Dave, Jay Roe, Eric, Ken, Zack, Danny, Chris Reis, Chris Roman

The 2010 Blackout Distribution Christmas card had a picture with a lot of people in it. How do you like managing all those guys?
Right now we have the most people ever which is 10. About 5 years ago we had 5 people and everyone just did everything from taking orders to packing orders and shipping. A lot of important things would just get pushed back or neglected. People really need specific responsibilities and daily jobs. Everyone is still here to help out if someone else needs it, but on daily basis our art director isn’t packing boxes and our sales guys aren’t shipping. I think that was one of the more important things to make sure things don’t fall through the cracks. I think this has significantly helped our growth over the past 5 years.

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3 Comments

  1. nigggerrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

    rad

  2. awesome zack. was fun to read about some of the good old days. You’ve always had a knack for finding good people to do the job. glad it has paid off. hope you’re doing well.
    hal b

  3. Awesome!! I remember the play house in W-S and Zack’s skate shop downtown:) Me and my brother, Garrett used to hang out at the shop alot and annoy Zack:) HAHA Goodtimes!

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