Dillon Morgan has been up to some tricks – and they are paying off.
The recent high school graduate from Westlake Village won the 2011 Young Entrepreneur of the Year award and a $10,000 college scholarship from the National Federation of Independent Business – out of a field of 4,000 candidates.
Z Shred, a company he started as a 16-year-old that makes fingerboards. What’s a fingerboard? Not even Morgan knew until his sister ordered one from Europe a few years ago.
“It’s basically a real skateboard, just shrunk down to 4 inches,” he said.
The boards are popular with teens who mimic the tricks performed on full-length skateboards. Morgan saw the business opportunity after learning about the high cost – $30 – just to ship a fingerboard from Germany.
So Morgan sources his materials domestically, giving him a big cost advantage.
“I wanted to be the first manufacturer of wooden fingerboards in the U.S.,” said Morgan, 18, who said his years skateboarding and surfing helped him with the designs.
Z Shred’s fingerboards can run up to $50 because they are handmade and feature polyurethane wheels, colored axles and exotic veneer wood. Still, they’re cheaper than the $80 or so that a buyer pays for a typical German fingerboard.
Morgan assembles the boards himself, and since starting the company more than two years ago, has taken more than 5,000 orders from his ZShred.com site and racked up $180,000 in sales. Most of his profits have gone back into production.
His enterprise has been profitable enough that Morgan plans to continue production after enrolling this fall at California State University, Channel Islands.