From the back of his dad’s shop, to one of the most respected names in the aftermarket bumper industry, founder Evan House, talks about his journey building Backwoods Bumpers into Backwoods Adventure Mods.
Q: When and why did you make your first bumper?
EH: I had just bought a used aftermarket bumper on Craigslist. A good friend of mine saw it and wanted one for his truck. After looking for weeks he couldn’t find anything affordable, so he asked me if I could build one for him. I had worked with my dad on metal projects like fences, gates, and repairing farm equipment, so I told him I would give it a try, but couldn’t guarantee that it would look good!
Q: Give us the quick story behind how and why you started Backwoods Bumpers.
EH: In 2007, shortly after that first bumper, another friend wanted one for his truck (we all had the same kind of truck). He posted a picture of the bumper I made him on an online truck forum and people started messaging me with requests for the same type of bumper. After a few months of filling orders, a lawyer friend recommended I form an LLC and operate as a legitimate business! The first few years we had slow and steady growth. In 2011, I quit my day job to do Backwoods full-time. I built a new facility, moved out of my dad’s shop and hired my first employee. By 2016, we were at max capacity at that facility and struggling to keep up with production demand. But, as luck may have it, I was introduced to Chris Chandler, CEO of Chandler Equipment that year and we knew we wanted to work together in some capacity. Here we are a year later launching the next generation of Backwoods.
Q: Tell us about the first time you met Chris and the Chandler crew?
EH: About 9 years after starting Backwoods Bumpers, a friend of mine was working at Chandler Equipment. He told Chris about Backwoods and recommended that Chandler Truck Accessories partner with us on a project truck for the upcoming SEMA show. He organized a meeting to discuss the possibility. Chris and the guys were very welcoming, inviting, and immediately fun to be around. It felt more like planning a road trip with friends than an actual business meeting. We eventually decided not to build a show truck, but that was the beginning of our new path.
Q: What are you most excited about with Backwoods Adventure Mods?
EH: Working with local, regional, and eventually international automotive communities to develop new products that fill a void in the current market. We find opportunities to design products based on needs and new uses, rather than just building products that “conform to the norm”.
Q: What is your favorite part about designing a new bumper?
EH: My favorite part is looking at the bigger picture to find a need or unique market, and then working with the entire team to build something to the best of our ability. I love knowing that we design our products based on the experience and knowledge of our team and customers, instead of copying a similar product that’s already on the market. “Because that’s how it’s always done” is a mindset we actively avoid!
Q: What would you like to tell your loyal following about the new Backwoods Adventure Mods?
EH: Well, I guess mostly that the company isn’t really changing that much. Yes, we changed our name and our logo and got a new website, but we’re still the same underneath. We’ve got the same high quality standards and the same experienced people doing the jobs. This merger and update is really just going to allow us to produce more product faster. We’re still made in Arkansas and I’m still in the shop everyday with my guys. We also now have the opportunity to explore new markets and develop new products. It’s very exciting!