Sapient Skateboards, Grand Opening - Made in Chicago. Will Stephan loves to ride his skateboard. But not just any skateboard, he likes a good, solid board under his feet. Therefore, he learned how to build a skateboard to his liking – and others liked it too. “Can you build one for me?” is how it started in a corner of the basement.
Sapient’s mission is to reconnect. From our early emergence as Sapiens, we have relied on the interdependent relationship between the individual, the community, and our natural world. Skateboarding is no different. Through an interaction with the world around us, the individual dictates how the skateboard is ridden - No rule book - No coach - No arena.
That was 2 years ago and Will was determined to give the gift of skateboarding to the world. Sapient Skateboards was born.
Will contacted the Illinois SBDC at College of DuPage with questions about taxes, sales tax, accounting, insurance, and how to track cash flow. He was looking for an advisor.
Ute Westphal, Director and Business Advisor assisted Will with setting up accounting, budgeting, how to pay sales tax, vendor accounts and manage business financials. She helped Will to see how pricing changes when you are a manufacturer still in a basement, but with the vision to move soon into a production facility. She provided financial templates to predict cash flow under various conditions, helped with understanding cost structure and pricing strategies.
The opening of the Skateboard Production Facility in 2022 was a step that changed the business model. Ute assisted Sapient Skateboards in retail and wholesale pricing and negotiation strategies. Will developed a business model that is lean and scalable going from custom-made to online order all the way to placing product into retail shops. Keeping the vision alive and staying true to Sapient Skateboard’s Mission.
Will said, “"Ute and the SDBC have helped my business tremendously over the past two years. From sales tax to pricing structure and just about everything in between, Ute played a pivotal role in helping get my business moving in the right direction. Since my first contact with Ute and the SBDC, they have been professional, timely, and a true pleasure to work with. I cannot thank them enough for their generous assistance and would recommend their services to any new business trying to turn their vision into reality."
Business Development Center
535 Duane Street, Office 233
Glen Ellyn IL 60137
Jean Lin, Center Manager
Phone: (630) 942-3041
Fax: (630) 942-2606
Monday to Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Map and Directions