In 2001, two enthusiastic adventurers came together to form Adventure Trailers, one of the premier overlanding manufacturing companies in the United States. JPFreek recently sat down with one of their co-founders, Martyn Davies, to discuss a few of their new products and the future of overlanding.
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JPF: How did Adventure Trailers come to be, and what separates a company like AT from its peers in the off-highway and overland market?
AT: Martyn: In 2001 I’d just returned to the USA after living in South Africa and I had this hairbrained idea that off-road trailers might sell well over here. There was a guy I’d been e-mailing here in the States who had some similar thoughts, he turned out to be Mario. The company formed based on our enthusiasm and lack of business skills.
When we formed the company, “Overlanding” was in its infancy here in the USA. We basically had to create the market we were selling to. We started out selling products that were made overseas, and then started to manufacture here in the USA. When you produce close to home you have the ability to control “quality control” and materials, as well as quickly modify designs. We are very proud of what we make, and the fact it’s made in the USA.
JPF: Last year, the downturn in the economy affected just about everybody and many companies didn’t survive the contracting spending habits of consumers.
How has the diversification of products offered by AT (i.e. Tear Drop trailer, AT drawers, etc) helped the company weather the storm, and how have these new products helped solidify AT’s market share as a compliment to its core product line?
AT: Martyn: For the past five years AT has never had a trailer unsold by the time it reaches the production line. Our main attention was focused on production. We had new design ideas but no time to develop and prototype them.
With the slow down in the economy we suddenly had an abundance of time. We did what few other companies in a recession do: we developed new product. From December to April we came out with the AT Teardrop Trailer, Composite Drawer Systems, the AT FlipPac, and an aluminum can holder. We worked with a local company to develop the Max Coupler, and expanded our line to include items like military grade foldable solar panels, Front Runner roof racks, and National Luna electrical products. The expansion and diversification continues with our Vehicle Conversions. Our customers can now find way more than just trailers on our website, and we can now furnish everything you need to Overland, including working on vehicles. We are more of a one-stop shop now.
From a business viewpoint we have managed to even out some of the huge cash flow swings we had when we focused on trailers. Cash flow really is king for smaller businesses.