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Episode 1: Escapod Founders on How They Became the Ninth Fastest-Growing Manufacturing Company

March 07, 2023

Lifelong campers, Chris and Jen Hudak wanted to fit outdoor adventure into their busy schedules. But they had a problem: they spent more time setting up camp than actually camping.

In 2016, they went into a family garage and built their own off-road teardrop trailer. The custom design not only helped them take back their adventure time—it gave them a product to take to market.

Today, their company Escapod has more than 70 employees and was recently named the ninth fastest-growing manufacturing company by Inc. But rapid growth brings a whole new set of problems.

Solving Problems with Technology

In Episode 1 of Manufacturing the Future, Chris and Jen discuss the challenge of building a foundation for their company while simultaneously scaling operations.

“It’s really hard to work on both. Growth ... doesn't allow you to stop and build strong foundations. The growth is wonderful, but it also causes complications,” Chris says.

To begin solving the problem, they leveraged technology platforms that could help them build out key elements of their operations—like tracking products, tracking working instructions, revision control—while reducing redundancies and mistakes across those platforms and constantly assessing new platforms to determine their value-add.

Investing in the Workforce

They also looked to workforce investments. For instance, by hiring a general manager, Chris had more time to focus on business decisions.

“As you really grow and you start to have income and you start to have real revenue, you can start to be able to afford higher level positions that can help you guide the business,” he says.

Jen adds that it’s the people that help make Escapod successful. “The partnership that Chris and I have with our two other partners is really special. We all bring unique skill sets and have really healthy conflict. What that leads to is that we're each able to poke holes in the other person’s concept and then improve upon that concept, and you see that ripple through our product,” she says.

Episode Highlights

Which tech solutions helped propel Escapod’s growth? Listen to our conversation with Chris and Jen to learn more about their journey to creating Escapod, their approach to operations, and their advice for people like them who had an idea that solved a problem, and now want to scale their business to sell to the world.

Topics include:

  • Actionable advice for small businesses looking to improve operations with tech solutions.
  • Investments that help small businesses scale operations.
  • Why knowledge fails without documentation.
  • How technology like a one-stop website helps evolve the customer experience.
  • The importance of partnering with others to build those services.
  • How Escapod measures success.
  • How they iterate if something isn’t measuring up.
  • Why their most critical operational investment is investing in good people.
  • Escapod’s employee training program.

Connect with Escapod

Website | Instagram | Chris’s Instagram | Jen’s Instagram | Jen’s LinkedIn

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Listen & Subscribe

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