"We often forget the beauty, power and adventure that lies within mother nature."
Woodchuck believes that creating a company it's about more than just creating jobs. It's about a philosophy of American pride that started this country. It's about reviving pride in products, pride in design, and pride in manufacturing. We caught up with Ben VandenWymelenberg, the founder and CEO of Woodchuck, to see what's on the agenda for the startup and what's in store for Beta.MN 2.5.
Tell us the story of how and why you started your company.
The idea for WOODCHUCK sparked while I was drinking a beer in the architecture studio at the University of Minnesota and decided to adhere some wooden veneer to my iPhone. Now we have over 250 unique wood products. But Woodchuck is about much more than selling products. After watching Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why” TED talk, we were inspired to build a strong mission: To bring jobs back to America, nature back to people, and quality back to products.
What’s your most recent success or milestone hit?
Our sales are up 300% from last year, and Woodchuck is on pace to do $1.8 million in revenue this year. We outgrew our 10,000 square foot manufacturing facility and recently purchased an 80,000 square foot building in Northeast Minneapolis to expand production. We were also just named the winner of the 2015 General Division in the Minnesota Cup. But the most rewarding outcome is being able to provide 16 team members with jobs that they love.
Where do you see your startup in 1 year?
We are going to Woodchuck the world! We will expand into Woodchuck'd weddings, wood vehicle wraps, commercial interiors, as well as custom wood art and furniture.