Throughout Small States you’ll hear stories of people that are making a conscious effort to bring manufacturing back to the United States. Companies that strive to create products in a way that has escaped our country and fled overseas. We are finding that these manufacturers have a great pride in what they do — this week we’re taking a look at Woodchuck USA, a company who’s pride is evident across all aspects of its business.
“Nature back to people. Jobs back to America. Quality back to products.”
With its locally grown hardwood accessories, Woodchuck has managed to create beautiful additions for your Apple devices. All the while doing it with a focus on integrity and creating jobs here in the United States.
What started as an idea over a couple beers at the University of Minnesota, quickly became a big box store mainstay. Owner and Founder Benjamin VandenWymelenberg saw a process that brought growth to his company while providing a learning experience along the way. However, once you hand your product over to the big box company the process can quickly become a non-stop back and forth.
“We’d come show them our product and they’d have us change 15 things,” Benjamin says of his retail counterparts, “we’d bring back new packaging and they’d have us change 25 things.”
This led to Benjamin taking a step back to re-evaluate his brand and think about what direction he wanted to go. Now Woodchuck USA finds itself manufacturing over 250 fully customizable products that touch many areas aside from Apple devices. Now they can be found in a number of retail boutiques across the nation, while also working on projects in a number of different business sectors. Benjamin has found Woodchuck’s current business model to be better suited on many levels.
“Now, we can focus much more on our mission and how we express that. How can we create jobs here in the United States. We can charge a premium (as opposed to before), because we pay for US labor. We can also partner with amazing high-end companies that are along the lines of what we want to do as a company.”
While Woodchuck USA’s Apple accessories initially drew us in (we’ll get to that in a second), it’s important to note how multifaceted they’ve become. Going into the middle of 2015, Woodchuck is expanding its reach thanks to some pretty cool collaborations with companies like Facebook and some legendary retailers such as Allen and Edmonds.
Ultimately though, for Benjamin the focus remains building Woodchuck into a company that can support the local economy and bring jobs home.
“The basic idea is extremely simple. When we buy things that are made in the USA, people that live here in the USA need to make them. So when you choose to buy a wooden journal or wood phone case from Woodchuck which is made in the USA as opposed to made in China, you’re making a vote. You’re voting to support the lives and well being of Americans working, and the ability for them to provide for their families.”
As if the message Woodchuck is trying to send isn’t powerful enough, they’ve got some pretty killer products as well. We were lucky enough to get our hands on some custom made accessories for our laptops. They outfitted my MacBook Air with some beautiful Walnut skins that really stood out.
Admittedly, I wasn’t really sure how you make a great wood skin, but the quality is top-notch. You know its real by the smell that permeates when its comes out of the packaging, the skin provides a bit of protection to your device but primarily serves as visual addition. Marked by simple carving in the middle and a Woodchuck logo, the wood skin is a nice contrast to the aluminum outer of my MacBook Air. If you are looking for an option that helps you standout amongst the other coffee shop-goers, then this certainly fits the bill. The skin is available in Walnut, Mahogany or Birch for $49.99.
We also got to see the Wood and Wool Sleeve that acts as a casual yet professional on-the-go option for storing a MacBook Air or Pro. The unique design features wood that is actually sewn to the wool. It has magnetic snaps that keep it closed and has an additional pocket for notepads, books or iPads. It retails for $119.99.
This week we are partnering with Woodchuck USA to give our readers a promo code worth 15% off your entire purchase, simply enter code 9to5Toys at checkout. This promotion will run through February 15th. Woodchuck USA will also be giving away a $40 gift card to three of our readers, which will help you snag a killer iPhone 6 skin or aid in the purchase of another product.
To enter this giveaway, follow @9to5Toys on Twitter and retweet the article. If Facebook is more your thing, Like us and share this article with your friends. We’ll choose a winner next Saturday. Good luck!
- Grado Headphones – @omar_cruz
- This is Ground – @chrismachian
- Myro:Air – @strikeux
- Grovemade – @morganrhc
- Jamstik MIDI guitar – @EGHSPrincipalRI
- PUC MIDI hub (x2) – @broni / @phillsea
- Owen & Fred – @kenjancef
- Carved – Multiple winners
- Waterfield Designs – @zrockstar
- Tinsel and Timber – Multiple winners
- Spool Dock – Multiple winners
- Tucker & Bloom – @codeyh
- DODOcase – multiple winners
- TM1985 – @darlamack
- JDS Labs – Adam Scheidegger
- Bison Made – multiple winners
- Paper by FiftyThree – @ericmarta75
- Schoolhouse Electric – @ASourAppleTree
- Janus Motorcycles – @magistermurray