In 2005, I was building pedals out of a 12×12 room I built in my 2 car garage in Trafalgar, Indiana. I painted the pedals myself, drilled the boxes myself, and built them on stripboard. In 2006, I was having trouble doing it all myself, and hired someone to help me populate the stripboard, and we started buying painted boxes from smallbear I believe. In 2007, I hired another person to help me build pedals. In 2008 I hired several more people. By this time, I had gotten divorced, moved to a different house, and was working out of a barn. This was the first year we exhibited at Summer Namm. At Summer Namm, I met the WGS guys (at that time, called Warehouse Guitar Speakers), and we hit it off.
By 2009 Summer Namm I was exasperated, ready to quit. I learned quite a lot about myself between 2007-2010, and one of them was that I was not talented in the abilities of making the same pedal, over and over, and over, and over. It made it feel like factory work. I hated factory work. I hated being forced to build the same exact thing over and over and over… but I loved breadboarding new ideas and coming up with new designs. I learned that I loved the creative aspect of it, and I loved even more the day to day interaction with customers. Plus, I was pretty good at it.
I voiced my frustrations with my friend David (President of WGS) at this time and his reply was “Dude… you know that we build a lot more than just speakers, right?” I had no idea how *All Of This* worked. I had no idea how the manufacturing business should work. I had no idea how critically important Processes, Procedures, and People Management were to business. All I knew is that I had racked up a ton of credit card debt to keep the company floating and I was barely scraping by after all the bills were paid.
I asked David if he’d be interested in forming a manufacturing business and build our pedals via contract manufacturing. Even though he’d never built guitar pedals per se, I took a chance and we started slowly having him build pedals. Business picked up year after year.
That’s what All-pedal is. It’s American Pedal Building in 2016 when you are shipping 3-4000 pedals a month. It’s what every company does once they get to the point that they can no longer scale up due to manufacturing issues. And it’s not just us – name a “boutique” company that’s shipping any decent amount of pedals a month and I’ll show you a company that’s using contract manufacturing in some way.