Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

This company brings nature – and jobs – back to people.

Ben VandenWymelenberg was a senior at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities when he was building a wooden model for his architecture class. He wondered what would happen if he placed the veneer on his iPhone, so he tried it out.  

At only 22 years old, that one idea would change his life forever. In the beginning VandenWymelenberg sold the phone covers on his college campus. Now, he is the founder and CEO of Woodchuck, a Made in America accessories brand that makes sustainably sourced handcrafted wood products.

“I wake up every day determined to engineer even better products, and to create meaningful, fulfilling jobs right here in the USA,” VandenWymelenberg said.

Woodchuck’s philosophy is simple: Bring nature back to people, bring quality products back to consumers, and – most importantly – bring jobs back to America.

“Bringing jobs back to America on a business-by-business scale means giving people the tools they need to create products our clients are proud to invest in," said VandenWymelenberg. "This creates a sense of pride among our team and that drive, that energy, is what allows our people to do good work and support their families. At the end of the day, American pride is what America is made from and that is the fuel of Woodchuck.” 

Based in Minneapolis, Woodchuck creates wood flasks, bottle openers, journals, phones cases, and more. The handcrafted wood journals are a big hit and are one of the most popular items that Woodchuck sells. Customers can choose between six different types of wood and even have the choice to customize their purchase.

If you want to add a little something special to your order, the customization option allows you personalize your order. Customers can add a monogram, initials, logo, or design to all of the products. This personalization feature is a favorite aspect for their customers and allows the design team to get creative as well.

“We get our wood from different distributors in the United States, laser cut it in Minneapolis, and put the materials together by hand in our workshop," said Hector Cortes, Marketing and Social Media Curator. "It’s really about bringing that connection of real wood, and real elements back into people’s lives, and creating quality products for our customers.” 

It has been almost three years since Woodchuck was founded and the team still believes that their work is all about reviving pride in products, design, and in manufacturing.  

“It’s going to take more than just me to re-instill these values in the next generation of our great American society," said VandenWymelenberg. "But I’m here to start, assemble, and drive that mission home in everything I do until I die.” 

To check out more of Woodchuck’s products and to learn more about their customization guidelines visit their website here