Commonwealth Classics sells rare and unique classic cars that it purchases and imports from overseas.
William Desrosiers, CEO
What does a typical day look like for you?
My day starts with my family; my wife and daughter have their own rotating dance of getting to work and daycare. Spain has been awake for at least 4-5 hours at that point, so morning coffee includes emails and WhatsApp messages, as well as putting out any crisis that has erupted at a restoration facility or port. During my commute to work, I plan out my day and strategize on photoshoots and powerpoint slides.
Our shop is in a re-purposed IGA Grocery store; a wonderfully retro and simple facility from the ’50s. Tom, our Domestic Operations Lead, and I start with a huddle over coffee and map out the day. His priorities, mine, and any that came in overnight. Customer inquiries, whether new sales or update requests, typically come first, as do any items that require coordination with the Iberian peninsula or the UK.
The typical week includes a blend of morning or mid-day photography for our website, vehicle advertising, or social media; import or export freight/customs work; mechanical work; website updates; and recently a tremendous amount of work compiling (a) sales materials for the Commonwealth Line (early 2019) and (b) strategy and pitch decks for INEOS Automotive (late 2019. Like… right meow). Our shop is quiet; it’s normally the two of us. But our phones are loud. We coordinate with customers, vendors, and teams via WhatsApp, using it much like Slack, setting up team threads and threads based on individual projects. We can add and build teams agnostic of geography or language thanks to translation tools, and as our entire file system is on Drive, collaboration and file sharing is easy as well.
We’ve found that the further we lean into the world of ‘analog’ the louder the world responds, so we’re doing just that. Canoe rides for photoshoots, trail rides for lunch breaks, and my own off-the-grid shack in Delaplane smack dab in the middle of a cow pasture. It’s our own ‘experience laboratory.’ We break down cardboard, take out the trash, make coffee, try and get on Netflix, design beautiful trucks, and dream big.
What inspired you to start your company?
An escape, in multiple ways. I’ve always wanted to build something. I’ve always loved cars. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial vein. But the direction I took from the onset did seek to fill a gap I saw: transparency. The world of imported cars was murky, and I thought there must be others like me who would love to know more about these odd cars they’re buying from overseas. No reason you can’t do that; the seller in Spain is on WhatsApp anyway. So we’ve leaned heavily into that aspect of transparency, and extended that to include more of ourselves.
What are your favorite things to do?
Photography and woodworking.