With the two year anniversary of WOODCHUCK rapidly approaching, I figured it was about time to step away from the craziness of phone calls, laser cutting, toilet cleaning, and bullet dodging to update you on the status of the company. I’d like to give you a personal look into our culture, the future growth of the brand, and in true WOODCHUCK style, some authentic American feedback.
Entrepreneurship can be a rocky road, but damn the view is beautiful. As CEO, I have experienced, first hand, the ebb and flow of the company. An idea that was sparked while drinking a beer at the University of Minnesota has since evolved into a worldwide brand. What I anticipated to be a fun side project turned into a crash course in business management, team building, and international brand management. I knew I needed a strong team to inspire the potential I envisioned for WOODCHUCK. The building began.
At the establishment of the company, the team spent countless hours studying business, designing innovative products, and creating invaluable connections with some of the most brilliant minds in business. Naturally, we need a mission, a vision for where we wanted to go and what we wanted our company to do. That mission was change. Change through nature by bringing people back to Mother Earth. Change in manufacturing by creating more jobs in America. And lastly, Change in consumerism by creating quality products for our supporters. We went from working in my bedroom, to a small attic in a shop, to a massive warehouse, back to a small office, and finally where we are today… our own beautiful manufacturing studio in Northeast Minneapolis.
FIrst WOODCHUCK photoshoot: Throwback 2012
Over the last two years, WOODCHUCK has pushed the limits of life and life has pushed back. We have had success and opportunities for change. Through that time, we’ve gone through: hiring’s, firings, machines starting on fire, people starting on fire, legal battles, fun times, bad times, crushed expectations, amazing unexpected results, struggles, landing product nationwide, more struggles, landing international deals, screwing up, screwing up more, learning branding, learning how not to brand, asking questions, meeting amazing people, meeting jerks, meeting amazing mentors, traveling the world, broken down cars, broken bones, and of course…. we chucked a lot of wood….
Leading this company and striving for this vision has been the most humbling, engaging, and promising experience of my life. I have the opportunity each day to lead a team of dedicated, brilliant individuals on a mission for change. For that, I am eternally grateful.
I would like to take one last second to thank you (yes you the person reading this), my team, our friends, our family, supporters, fans, pets, neighbors, and partners. You make our mission a reality everyday and we cannot wait to see what is to come.
P.S. If you ever want to talk about WOODCHUCK, life experiences, or anything at all, shoot me a call at 920-412-6846. Better yet, stop in anytime for a tour of our manufacturing studio to meet our incredible team, experience our fun and supportive team culture, and watch our products come to life before your eyes.
Benjamin Jo VandenWymelenberg