Meet Wes McWhorter, Cyclist, Entrepreneur, Musician, and Rad Dad
Aline here. I had the pleasure of meeting Wes McWhorter on his first day of Revelry because he joined my team — the PM team! Colin and I took Wes to lunch at MoPho to welcome him aboard. What struck me about Wes was he was so unique, passionate, and well, experienced! I found it so interesting that he had lived in NYC for many years working as a web developer and musician, then found his way to NOLA, as so many folks do. We also share a history of working at NOLA advertising agencies. I most recently recognized Wes though, as the Rouler guy. Wes loves biking so much that he created a cycling lifestyle brand called Rouler based in NOLA. I had seen his café and excellently branded truck cruising around downtown NOLA in years prior.
I called Wes to interview him for this post while he was driving an RV through cow country in Maine. He decided to escape the NOLA August heat and take Gerard’s RV for a spin to test some ideas he’s got cookin’. You didn’t think he’d stay still for long, right? Here’s Wes’ story in his own words. He’s got a lot of wisdom and been a lot of places, but for now, he’s enjoying the ride!
What did you do before Revelry? Tell me about your background.
I moved to NYC in 1999 to play music in a rock band. I didn’t have a job when I moved, so my friend suggested I learn how to use HTML to build a website for my band. I launched my band’s website and, to be honest, looking back it was awful: the design, the code, the tags, everything. But it lit a spark inside of me that made me realize I had a backup plan of what I can do to make a living if I don’t become a professional musician.
Soon I got a job at mtv.com as a content manager. Then I got a job at Universal/Motown Records as a webmaster for over 100 artist sites and 3 or 4 major label portals. There, I was exposed to the work of designers and developers like Joshua Davis, a creative powerhouse who has been innovating in the digital space since the dawn of the Internet. After a few years, I opened my own web design studio. A guy in NOLA found me who owns frenchquarter.com and I started doing some work for him. After Katrina in 2005, he was getting his hotels back online and he made me an offer to come down in 2006 to work on his hotel websites. I worked in-house for him where we built tourism apps for the state. In 2008 I jumped into the advertising world by working at Trumpet and then Peter Mayer.
When I was at Trumpet, I came up with the idea for my cycling lifestyle brand, Rouler. In the midst of working on Rouler’s business plan, I went to play pool and get drinks at Pal’s, neighborhood bar, with a friend who brought Gerard Ramos along with him. Gerard was in the midst of launching Unawkward, so we connected over that among other things.
In the Spring of 2016, after spending a few years building a supportive community and a business plan for the brand, I was ready to launch Rouler to the world. So I left Peter Mayer to pursue my startup full-time. It was a blast and I learned so much, but fast forward to the fall of 2018, and the Rouler brick-and-mortar location was closing. I reached out to Gerard, and we got coffee. We talked about what was happening at Revelry. He got me pumped and I ended up joining the product team.
Being at Revelry feels like coming home. I can leverage my experiences as an entrepreneur, creative director, designer, and developer to contribute to the quality of the PM team and Revelry as a whole.
What stood out about Revelry that drove your decision to join the company?
I love the fact that we are a world-class design, development, and strategic thinking company with really humble office environments, nothing flashy. When I first came to the office I thought, “Wow, this is neat. This tech company has its priorities straight: hire good people and take good care of them. Don’t spend a ton of money on a bullshit office space that makes you look cool.” Revelry’s leadership has its priorities in the right place. The company is built on hardworking and really smart people who give a shit. That spoke to me, particularly coming off my Rouler experience.
Why do you do what you do?
I love helping people solve problems creatively in order to achieve results for whatever product they’re working on. My aim is to satisfy if not supersede their expectations. At best, I help people actualize their dreams.
How did you get into cycling and develop your passion for it?
I grew up in Texas with all the “regular” sports, and the only sport I was good at was soccer. My parents had given me and my three siblings the same Schwinn Free Spirit bike from Sears. I started riding my bike around the neighborhood and really took to it. At some point, my folks reached out to a family friend who took me on a longer ride around the county, and I was hooked! Riding gives me the freedom to explore the world around me. The activity itself was so attractive, so I started to develop a competitive ability, which I loved. I raced bikes through high school and college, and have returned to it fairly seriously in recent years.
When I moved to NOLA, I started biking again and did some big charity rides. Participating in charity rides inspired me to get deeper into biking. So now I’m trying to do a ride in every place that I visit because I love to ride in new places. Cycling supports my physical, emotional, and mental health, and it’s an activity that I’ll do my entire life. I usually ride on the Lakefront or the Mississippi River levee, otherwise, I’ll drive to the North Shore, which has phenomenal bike riding. Riding on the South Shore can be fairly mundane, but when I’m riding with a group early in the morning, and I see the sun coming up over Lake Pontchartrain, it’s just like wow, there’s no place like this in America. When I ride through the French Quarter or on St. Charles Avenue, I can smell the jasmine, ginger, and food cooking in the air. It’s magical.
What mobile device do you use and what apps are on your home screen?
I use iPhone8 and have been an Apple dude since I started buying technology products. I’m an “App batcher”. Which means cram apps into folders. I have lots of folders on my homescreen. I aspire to only have one screen to deal with. Weird, I know. But I’ve seen people color coordinate their apps across multiple screens. While I applaud that creativity, I would go crazy!
What non-digital product could you not live without?
My bike, for sure.
Who inspires you? Why?
My children do in different ways. My daughter is extremely beautiful, elegant, and artistic. She’s so creative and I love to see her express herself through photography and dance. She’s stunning! My son is a lot like me — he’s a super hard-working little guy. Willing to jump in and help out. He’s got a huge heart, is sweet and caring and compassionate. Through them I see a better way to live my life, and so I’m lucky to get to share my life with them.
Tell me more about that one wild or wacky job you held
I sold vacuums and that was really shitty. But I worked as a mountain bike tour guide in Colorado, which was an awesome job. I got to garden and take folks on bike rides. It was rad!