While sitting in 10th grade chemistry class in 2004 and learning about coefficients of kinetic friction, a young Stephen Frankola became curious about making his own ski wax. He asked around on online snowboarding forums and at the ski shop where he worked at the time to learn about the process and ingredients. His first test kitchen for melting down wax: his family’s kitchen. After trying around 10 different recipes and conducting on-snow tests, he decided on one magic formula to start selling. In 2005, his product hit the market. That first year he had just $200 in sales, but since then that number has grown well over twentyfold.
Now the 20-year-old Penn State accounting major is the owner of a profitable ski industry business that is slowly growing. Two years after opening, in 2007, Stephen was contacted by Amazon.com asking if he wanted to sell his wax on their website—now the e-commerce giant takes care of all order processing and shipping. In the winter of ’08-’09 he sold to his first retail shop, Ski Den Sports in Johnston, Pennsylvania. This winter, Whacks is releasing a new wax that will be faster and also lighter in color (the original wax was black, which covered up any ski-base graphics that his customers liked to show).
So what are his future plans to grow the business? “I’m going to put everything I can into this company while I’m still in college,” he says, “but afterwards, who knows…I’ve always seen myself owning my own business but Whacks Wax may not be enough to live off of…I have been thinking about maybe an ice cream shop in downtown Pittsburgh.”
To purchase Whack’s Wax, visit Whacks Wax or search for it on amazon.com.