Energetic entrepreneur, Greg Higgs, has traveled many routes around the world. Join us as the Fab Fours founder talks about bumpers, soapboxes, and supply chains. Episode 82 of Conversations of Big Rich.
3:18 – we bought that money pit
13:26 – drinking a beer around the same exact fire
17:27 – just the terrain and humidity changes
23:48 – a motto I’ve half-lived with – if you can dream it, I can build it
35:57 – what is the aspirational element of man?
41:37 – perfect segue to my soapbox!
53:01 – real beauty to fabricated sheet metal
1:02:31 – the whole world is connected
1:11:43 – we’ve actually found a way inadvertently to engineer a moment in time where nothing is right to do this cataclysmic challenge
We want to thank our sponsors Maxxis Tires and 4Low Magazine.
Be sure to listen on your favorite podcast app.Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/BigRich)
[00:00:01.150] - Big Rich Klein
Welcome to The Big Rich Show. This podcast will focus on conversations with friends and acquaintances within the four wheel drive industry. Many of the people that I will be interviewing you may know the name. You may know some of the histories, but let's get in depth with these people and find out what truly makes them a four wheel drive enthusiast. So now is the time to sit back, grab a cold one and enjoy our conversation.
[00:00:29.570] - Speaker 4
Whether you're crawling the red rocks of Moab or hauling your toys to the trail, Maxxis has the tires you can trust for performance and durability. Four wheels or two Maxxis tires are the choice of Champions because they know that whether for work or play, for fun or competition, Maxxis Tires deliver. Choose Maxxis Tread Victoriously.
[00:00:56.190] - Speaker 1
Why should you read 4Low magazine? Because 4Low Magazine is about your lifestyle, the four wheel drive adventure lifestyle that we all enjoy. Rock crawling, trail riding, event coverage, vehicle builds and DO-IT-YOURSELF tech all in a beautifully presented package. You won't find 4Low on the newsstand rack. So subscribe today and have it delivered to you.
[00:01:20.370] - Big Rich Klein
On today's episode of Conversations With Big Rich. We have Greg. Higgs. Greg is the CEO of Fab Fours, an old school rock crawler with We Rock, a graduate of Texas A and M. And I believe from Houston, Texas. But we're going to talk to Greg about his history. But first, Greg, thank you so much for coming on board and having this conversation with me this morning.
[00:01:45.870] - Greg Higgs
You got it. Thank you, Big. And you gave me a little bit of background. So if you want me to just start from the beginning, I'll let her rip.
[00:01:55.230] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, let her rip.
[00:01:57.930] - Greg Higgs
Okay, well, I was born and raised in Houston, Texas, so I was born in 79. I think that puts me at 42 years old now and lived out on the west side, Bear Creek, Katy area. Great place to grow up. Sports, outdoors, scouting. Luckily, my folks forced me to stick it out all the way through Eagle Scout and those early days. Just growing up, my dad kind of had a woodworking shop, called himself a wood Butcher just in our normal neighborhood garage just for building shelves and things like that.
[00:02:37.110] - Greg Higgs
And I had my own little workbench where I build PVC guns and spray paint them black and modifying my little three wheelers and all sorts of things. Just growing up liked driving or riding, whatever that may be such that I got lucky. Folks were able to get me one wheel drive go cart. And it became kind of my obsession anytime they take me driving that that grew to a dirt bike and then another dirt bike. And then eventually, before him being 16, my dad had found an old 77 Renegade CJ five on the side of the road.
[00:03:18.750] - Greg Higgs
We bought that money pit, which I just broke constantly mudding, but having a great time, just reinforcing that passion for offroad, camping ,outdoors. And then after graduating high school, I'll admit to this, I had wanted to go to West Point, kind of following my dad's footsteps, the military Academy with the mindset that I wanted to just play with tanks and Hummers. The army seemed like a likely fit for the stuff I love doing, problem solving and offroading. While I had some apprehensions around the discipline that also came with that which I knew I wouldn't like, I have no tolerance for hazing or bullying or that type of thing.
[00:04:12.310] - Greg Higgs
So that piece worried me a little bit, but it seemed like the fun was going to outweigh it. Unfortunately, I had managed to limit my options, if you will, by not making good enough grades in high school.
[00:04:25.210] - Big Rich Klein
I was going to ask about that. I was going to ask about that.
[00:04:28.990] - Greg Higgs
Okay, not a good student, honestly, just enough to get by much rather sports and fun and just suffered kind of through school as needed. Thought I kept it enough in line to not limit the options. But I was wrong. So despite getting the you have to have a congressman vouch for you and all these things for the application and the Eagle Scout, it had me close, but not quite there because of the academics. So I ended up using a program called the Civilian Prep Scholarship, which was you can go to, in my case, Texas A and M for a year, prove that you can make the grades and then transfer in to West Point.
[00:05:18.610] - Greg Higgs
So it seemed like a good plan. A lot of my friends from Houston were going to A&M, and so off I went. And in that first year almost immediately because my eyes are always peeled for cool cars and trucks. Saw a truck in the parking lot with a Texas A. M. Off road windshield banner on it and managed to track them down only to find out the club had been started two months ago and there was maybe three members that seemed perfect for me. So I joined and in short order we started going on trips as a local within 6 hours type of thing as you could.
[00:06:00.490] - Greg Higgs
And one of those was Fort Hood Fort Hood huge base in like, Kileen, Texas or something. And we'd go there, we play and rock crawl and get in the mud and do all the stuff we were doing. And so then the combination started to happen. One, I'm not going to deny the fact that I don't think I brought my grades up much. But second, I kind of came to realization like, man, I'm already going to Fort Hood and I'm playing with trucks and I don't have discipline.
[00:06:30.370] - Greg Higgs
So I just bailed on the whole idea, never even turned in. The rest of the paperwork stayed at Texas A and M.
[00:06:39.550] - Big Rich Klein
Let me ask a question. Did that bother your parents or your dad that you stated?
[00:06:49.030] - Greg Higgs
If anything I've ever done bother them, I am still unaware of it. To this day.
[00:06:54.610] - Greg Higgs
They're very supportive. And I think I've always been so kind of independent and stubborn and somewhat self reliant enough that they just didn't worry about whatever I wanted to do.
[00:07:12.130] - Big Rich Klein
They just figured you were going to make it. And a lot of that has, I think, to do with that, you were able to get your Eagle Scout getting that level. It's not an easy endeavor. It takes a lot of work and dedication to get to that level. I know I'm an Eagle Scout myself.
[00:07:37.090] - Big Rich Klein
You really have to push through it. What kind of sports did you play in high school?
[00:07:43.750] - Greg Higgs
I was basketball and soccer. Okay, mostly growing my obsession with basketball. So to this day, Covid shut down the small gym that we were playing in. So now I'm going on two years of not playing any basketball, which is my only physical release for all the sheer rage that comes with business ownership. So it's just pent up. But now I feel like if I tried to go play a pickup game, I'm almost certain to blow something out. At this point, there's no way I would get away without losing the Achilles or another ACL or something.
[00:08:26.710] - Greg Higgs
I've blown my ACL out twice my left leg.
[00:08:29.770] - Big Rich Klein
[00:08:31.270] - Speaker 4
[00:08:31.510] - Big Rich Klein
Well, continue on. You're at A and M. Hey.
[00:08:36.070] - Greg Higgs
Just a point to your Eagle Scout thing, since a lot of listeners are probably young parents as well. And scouting starts out fun little kids camping, learn some independence. Yes, it is a lot of work to get your Eagle, but the less talked about, but more real problem with that is the competing parabolas, because you don't really get your Eagle until you're almost 14, 15, 16 years old.
[00:09:03.790] - Big Rich Klein
[00:09:04.570] - Greg Higgs
Well, now you've come into Friggin high school with all sorts of different new and fun things to do, let alone distractions. Everything else. So many distractions. And probably from ten on, you're kind of combating a little bit of the stigma that it's dorky to still be in Scouts. Oh, you're still in Scouts, by those that fail, great thing. It's a good thing to do, but just know, as a parent, like, if you can try to encourage the kid to do it rapidly as young as possible, it's going to greatly increase the probability of getting all the way through it instead of trying to drag out those last few things when they're in high school.
[00:09:46.330] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, I got mine just as I was turning 14, but I waited for a friend to get his done so we could do a double ceremony. And most of those distractions, my Eagle was out of the way when those distractions came about. You're right, though. Absolutely.
[00:10:10.530] - Greg Higgs
So now we're early A. M. Freshman year, I decided I want to be in the school of Engineering just because I've always been a tinker designer like doing things and wanted that to be my track. Unfortunately, following the mechanical engineering track put me in very hard classes. So remember that asterisk of I only try to get by in school, I don't enjoy the process of studying and acquiring knowledge like academically as opposed to real world and just looking around the room. It just didn't seem like I belonged in that.
[00:10:55.650] - Greg Higgs
And I sniffed out a degree track there, which is pretty new, maybe two or three years old at the time. Granted, this was back in 2000 when I switched over to industrial distribution, which turned out to be an amazing path for me there. It's more of a sales minded degree inside of the engineering school.
[00:11:23.850] - Speaker 4
[00:11:24.330] - Greg Higgs
So intended graduates would go into technical sales, whether it's selling abrasives or industrial HVAC, just something where it's more of that sales track where you have to be savvy enough to understand and be mechanically minded. But you're not the type of guy that could just sit there and crank out CAD for 9 hours a day on a small doodad so perfect fit for me. And a big shout out to industrial distribution. I think now the program is world renowned there, and it's a perfect hybrid for those who would consider themselves the same mechanically minded, but sales bent.
[00:12:06.990] - Greg Higgs
And so I did that took an extra lap, got out of there in five years, having a great time offroading all over the place, just learning how to actually fabricate. And Weld grind everything by buddies in the A and M off road club, just sharing their experience with me, helping me build my first couple of rigs there testament to them. We're still friends this day. In fact, every year in December after finals, it's the annual A and M offroad trip to Clayton, Oklahoma, and us OGS from the original.
[00:12:47.490] - Greg Higgs
We still go there. So you've got a blend of freshmen up to us early forties guys out there still doing it. And I think that's really cool now because you get to see that whole spread from poor College kid with cheap rigs up to full working professional adults with sundowner trailers and sweet tow rigs and buggies with rear steer showing up.
[00:13:14.490] - Big Rich Klein
Well, I think that's a really good motivation for those younger guys too, to see what you guys that OGS have gone through and where you've gotten that's great.
[00:13:26.850] - Greg Higgs
Yes, but then still all just cutting back drinking a beer around the exact same fire. So it's a lot of fun. After graduating, I had this vision of living in Australia owning a Toyota High Lux that I could go to the beach with on the weekends. That was it. That was my grand plan. Like, how do I get to Australia with a high Lux and took a job with the oil company who had an office in Perth, Australia. So I'm like sweet game on moved out there and within, I think two and a half weeks.
[00:14:09.330] - Greg Higgs
They said we actually need help in the Jakarta office.
[00:14:16.530] - Big Rich Klein
That's how you ended up in Indonesia.
[00:14:20.310] - Greg Higgs
My first response was like, come again. I had an Australia plan a B. I've never heard of Jakarta. What are you even talking about? And sure enough, for those who do know those two are very much not the same. Australia it's just like a more rugged, wild Outback version of America. Indonesia is like crazy, super corrupt, barely above third World back then with almost abject poverty right next to skyscraper type scenario. Very crazy place to live.
[00:15:07.050] - Greg Higgs
But it's an experience, a terrible one. At first 1st couple of months, I had to share an apartment with my boss guy was a total sleaze bag. Learned a lot about how not to be a boss from that guy.
[00:15:22.590] - Greg Higgs
After kind of a couple of months of self loathing of, what the heck am I doing here? As a 23 year old, I should be having fun as a young, working professional. And instead I am on the opposite side of the Earth from where I grew up. I don't know anybody, and I'm basically trapped because most expatriates or expats are bringing an entire career's worth of knowledge. Most of them are 60 years old because they need to come in and have five expatriates and 30 locals to do an office.
[00:16:05.310] - Greg Higgs
That's kind of just the way the work works. And so you get granted permits and visas because you're bringing such vast knowledge. And then there's Greg. I didn't know anything about anything, had no business being there. So I therefore also did not have a place to live, a driver, anything, no transportation. So I was just kind of trapped there. But I got over that. As I said, self loathing. It's like, you know what?
[00:16:39.030] - Greg Higgs
I'm here. Let's do something. Go to what you know, I love off roading. There's got to be something going on here. How do I find it? I want to see it. So started venturing out and sure enough, found some groups and started going on some rides, just kind of tagging along. And it was fun. It felt familiar again, because as you know, Big, being around the world, we're all the same same people. If you share that passion for off road, it's the same rolling around the dirt fixing stuff, figuring out how to get a limp vehicle back to camp.
[00:17:20.430] - Greg Higgs
Who can get across that? Who did it best? It's the same stuff. Same camaraderie, same type of dudes. No matter where you go.
[00:17:27.990] - Big Rich Klein
Just the terrain and humidity changes.
[00:17:31.950] - Greg Higgs
Yeah, and sometimes the vehicles as well, based on available technology and how developed the community is, which in this case, I saw as an opportunity because it felt like Indonesia was at least a decade behind. Some vehicles had just started to do spring over conversions, which we were doing that here freaking in the 80s, right? And even in my short tenure at that time of offroading, we're already trying to do quarter elliptical, four links and some of these things. This is a little bit ahead of even air shocks and things, but it still felt like the future compared to springovers.
[00:18:26.490] - Greg Higgs
So being a no nothing but aspiring entrepreneur, I was like, Well, man, what better way to start a business than if you had a Crystal ball? And you basically knew the next three evolutions of a market. And instead of just skipping them to the technology of the day in the US, why not just stay two years ahead each time? Just you already know the progressions that they were going to go through. What's a good word for it just a little bit too self confident, egotistical perspective. I would know all that.
[00:19:10.450] - Greg Higgs
And they didn't know that. And I would be the great bringer of technology from the US to Jakarta. But as luck would have it, I bumped into, in a random bar. I don't even know how I got to it. Another Texan who was an oil well firefighter, one of the genuine Reddair guys like from the old IMAX. So this guy and I start chatting. And 30 minutes later I was telling about, I want to start an offroad shop, like a four wheel parts and go from there and build this thing out.
[00:19:47.830] - Greg Higgs
And he goes, you know what, man? If you got a plan, I got the money. Like, let's do it here. Did not see that coming. I was not in any way in love with Jakarta at that time, so I kind of mix that up, like the combination of the timing and seeing the opportunity, but not to stay and do it long term.
[00:20:12.890] - Speaker 4
[00:20:13.670] - Greg Higgs
But yet I didn't have a better option. I mean, I hated my boss. The work wasn't very fun at that company. It's like, let's try it.
[00:20:22.310] - Speaker 4
[00:20:22.610] - Greg Higgs
I'm in. So I quit my job, moved into his house, told my parents like, that's it. I now live in Jakarta. I met this investor. I'm going to open an offroad shop, which that I'm certain they had to think was absolutely nuts and a terrible idea. But again, full support. So they came over a couple of times to visit in the three and a half years I lived there. But that's what I was doing. So I actually brought a buddy over from Navasota, Texas, who I'd met in the A and M off road Club to kind of bring the fabricating expertise.
[00:21:01.670] - Greg Higgs
He had never been on a plane his whole life until he boarded to fly 27 hours via three stops to get to Jakarta, Indonesia. So total shell shock for a rural Navasota guy to come over there. But we just had a ball, man. I wouldn't trade some of those memories we made for the world. It was a crazy experience. Did a couple of those little, like, Malaysia Challenge esque things and just had the opportunity to bring in some, like Toyota doublers Atlas transfer case, some red label crawlers, some trail ready wheels, just all the cool stuff at the time.
[00:21:48.050] - Greg Higgs
So I felt like I was in hog heaven. I got to curate kind of a mix of products and then attempt to become an authority in the offroad space, which I had one good thing going for me. Being a 23 year old white guy in Jakarta that alone made no sense to anybody. So it made for quick press. Like, what is this guy doing? Why is he even here? And that helped a lot, because the kind of leaders, your equivalent of your Ironman Stewart in Jakarta type guys were finding me because they're like, What's this all about?
[00:22:34.730] - Greg Higgs
This is interesting. Let's participate.
[00:22:37.310] - Greg Higgs
So they kind of helped me get my feet on the ground there. And it was fledgling impossible, didn't speak the language, too much corruption. It was some tough sledding, for sure. And along the way, this is bringing you to the origins of Fab fours. I had sleuthed out a company in Thailand that was making bumpers that would fit vehicles that were there in Jakarta because those are not like US domestic cars at all. They're like Hi-Lux's, Amaroks, Datson's type things. Well, they had products for that. So I flew up to Thailand to meet with this guy and was just awestruck by the facility that he had there.
[00:23:32.850] - Greg Higgs
It just built this immaculate manufacturing plant, like gleaming white painted floors, just a whole new level from anything I had seen before.
[00:23:45.390] - Big Rich Klein
[00:23:48.090] - Greg Higgs
Especially compared to there, where it's mostly dirt. You see guys squatting with no welding hoods, barefoot, welding fences and stuff. I mean, crazy to keep the story short. A couple of trips later realized, man, I can have my own bumper brand, which I skipped from being a kid. But I was obsessed with bumpers since my 97 Ram. I drew up a bumper for it and had a guy local there in Houston. Clifford's Custom Welding made it for me. And his slogan was, if you can dream it, I can build it.
[00:24:26.170] - Greg Higgs
Kind of a motto I've half lived by ever since, but that goes all the way back to then. Bumper is your identity. It's the one accessory you can see from 30ft away. You might have 40 grand into your truck, but that's the main thing that drives the identity of the vehicle. So I always love that being an artistic, sketching person. If you're drawing cars, planes, whatever. Now this is something I could draw where I've changed, whether it's a Dodge or a Ford and made it look different.
[00:24:59.890] - Greg Higgs
So I love bumper then, fast forward. I guess not that far from 97 to here I am in 2004 or five going, man, I think I could design my own bumpers, manufacture them in Thailand, import them to the US and go, that's it. I've got a worldview. I'm all about this finding low cost manufacturing and they've got what appeared to be a total world class facility. So shut down the Jakarta office, looked at a map of the US and chose Durango, Colorado. I could live anywhere.
[00:25:43.270] - Greg Higgs
I'm not going back to Houston. I like mountains. I want to be near Moab. I don't want to be in a major city. Durango's it, and so moved there was still under the auspice of importing from Thailand, started developing the first bumpers right there in Durango and building these things, shipped a prototype to Thailand for them to quote off of reverse engineer. Understand exactly what we're looking for flew over at the 11th hour. It was time to sign the deal for the first purchase order and he doubled the price, brought out a couple of Singhaw beers, and I mean, I can see that to this day the guy walking in with a tray with these big Singhas and then right then saying it slid over like the new price, and immediately the business became unviable.
[00:26:42.790] - Greg Higgs
So bailed flew home, tail between my legs and had to either shut the whole thing down, figure out what else to do or what did happen. My family helped bridge that investment gap. So the timing now this is the second half of 2005 because our plan was to debut at SEMA, which is November of '05 and I ended up needing my family to invest from that '05 until '08. That's how long it took us to kind of build the whole foundation and establish the brand and get enough critical mass and cash flow to not need any additional investment.
[00:27:32.950] - Greg Higgs
So to this day huge shout out to them. Thank God I was able to not to give away the ending of the story but make an exit from Fab Fours and pay them back every last Penny and all their interests. But that was their leap of faith and gave me the opportunity to just keep the ball rolling. Now having to figure out how to make bumpers domestically in a crunch. So this is where all of a sudden Durango became a terrible choice for where to have a business like this because there were no resources.
[00:28:11.770] - Greg Higgs
Had I been in Dallas or Houston or somewhere there would have been nine job shops with lasers, press breaks and powder coat. We could have used quoted with codeveloped with. Instead there were zero.
[00:28:25.390] - Greg Higgs
The closest is actually Tuffy, which to this day still makes great security boxes. They were in Cortez, which is only like 45 minutes away. So actually became one of the early outsource vendors to Fab Fours, and we just worked our tails off there in '05 trying to develop a full line to debut that SEMA show. In 2006 and 2007, I spent driving this entire freaking country, just going shop to shop, city to city pre smartphone where you had to go in and try to use dial up to get the maps or using the yellow pages and then your kind of TomTom GPS.
[00:29:17.410] - Greg Higgs
It was pretty tough to figure out and map a route and try to see eight shops a day before I would just Carnie my way to the next town and then sprinkled with that was my gratuitous use of early funds to build a badass rock crawler and go compete in We Rock, which is where our first path crossed. Yes, because I use that as a great excuse for how to build a brand and combine my passion for real offroad with a bumper company. You don't have to be a hardcore enthusiast to have a bumper company, especially nowadays.
[00:30:00.730] - Greg Higgs
Back then, I thought it would help and it would create that credibility of the brand because it was just cool and something to follow, and I just wanted it. So it worked out. We were terrible competing. Honestly, every time I go, there is more about putting on the biggest show that we could to get cool pictures out of it to get the crowd fired up. And that was kind of my early rock crawling professional, both with WERock and the competing organization UROC. Back then. I still think that's pretty cool because that time having a rear steer buggy that was pretty freaking early in the game.
[00:30:50.590] - Greg Higgs
I was competing against Randy Torbet, a crazy name I just saw like five months ago, I was like, Holy crap, there's a blast from the past. Remember, he would compete in that tractor axle rig, a single seater.
[00:31:04.750] - Big Rich Klein
I believe they were New Holland axles.
[00:31:06.430] - Greg Higgs
Yes, super innovative. And he was fearless to do some of those things.
[00:31:11.530] - Big Rich Klein
[00:31:12.250] - Greg Higgs
Now, granted, the obstacles that seem terrifying back then are like trail rides these days. It seems like, true enough, but it was really cool and I still kind of hang my hat on that. That was in the early for rear steer. So I've had rear steer since 2005. That's a long time with every single rig having it just to get that experience. Now the game is changing so much. If you don't have rear steer, there's almost no reason to even go out to St. George and Sand Hollow with all those cracks and now portal axles and everything true.
[00:31:55.630] - Greg Higgs
But that was fun. Being in the kind of early throws when rock crawling was really transitioning away from bring your trail rig Jeep and compete against the next guy to it just spawn kind of that space race of technology, just people trying new ideas.
[00:32:20.410] - Greg Higgs
I've stayed really close to it one just because I love it. I have not lost one speck of my passion for the actual sport hobby of off roading after all these years. Other things like golf and stuff get frustrating and you kind of go through fads with it. But the offroading in the community of it, everything about it, from the tow rig to what trailer you're using to where you're going and setting up the logistics and then actually just being out there drinking beer, having fun. Love it to this day.
[00:32:59.110] - Greg Higgs
And for me, it's always kind of been a motivator. What's the point of any of this? Why work so hard? Why even build a bumper company? It's all about trying to just accumulate resources to both innovate for the business sake and my own passion for just tinkering, but also to fund my expensive habit of wanting to offroad and to see that community grow. Which is partially why I can't say partially is 99%. Why I sponsored Trail Breaker with your son for the last three years.
[00:33:41.770] - Greg Higgs
It had almost zero value to Fab Fours as a bumper selling company. My marketing team just had to choke down those dollars because those are my piece of the marketing budget, all their stuff. It was legitimate where they tracked ROI and had to justify every dollar. And then mine was. I'm supporting little Rich because I believe in what he's doing out there and he's still just pushing that sport. It ain't easy. He's got to put a ton of work into that. And since I don't have the time or the proximity to be participating in that way, I can certainly participate in helping fund some of that so that we don't take our foot off the gas on this thing.
[00:34:26.350] - Greg Higgs
Seeing how far we can push the sport.
[00:34:28.450] - Big Rich Klein
It really is hard to quantify the investment we run through that all the time with our marketing partners.
[00:34:40.870] - Big Rich Klein
What I've noticed is that the powers that be at a lot of companies now are hiring people that have a degree. But that degree is in marketing, but it's so social media driven or internet driven that they never had the insight of what our sport and lifestyle is really about. And it's about person to person socializing. It's about building relationships, making contact with people in a real world way, not on the Internet. And people touch, taste, feel, smell products and the lifestyle. There's a lot of people that buy from the Internet, but the people that are really the buyers are still out there doing instead of just sitting and watching.
[00:35:57.630] - Greg Higgs
Well, I agree with you. I think the marketing degree and social that is extremely important. They're capturing 50% of it, which is the aspirational element of man. Look what Mad cow's buggy has on it. I want that too. Like that is sweet so that they fully understand how to have influencers, how to have the right photography, how to do the SEO. They get that to your point, though, what they're missing is just as aspirational to that consumer. Is the experience correct? Because there are a guarantee people right now, whether it's listenership or just fellow offroaders out in the world who with their buddies are going, we've got to make it to Trail Hero 2022.
[00:36:53.550] - Greg Higgs
So what are you doing? Like, I'm going to switch out my air shock system, ORI struts if I can, I'm going to do rear steer by then, but I don't know. I'd have to push the back out so far. I don't know if I'd rather do that or just sell it and start over. But that whole conversation, which is going to be buying parts from manufacturers that support these events and things, is just as much about that beckoning moment in time that's 18 months away that they're living for and working backwards off of trying to save the money, acquire the parts implement it into the build troubleshoot it.
[00:37:35.610] - Greg Higgs
You do all that so you can get to that moment. And so that's where promoters, you guys have that tough road to hoe because it is freaking hard just watching it from the sidelines. When he hands me a couple of banners to go nail in, I can only get through, like three or four like this. Somebody else's job is miserable. I just want a wheel.
[00:37:59.310] - Big Rich Klein
I can't believe he hand's your own banners to go put up. That lazy little turd he is
[00:38:07.450] - Greg Higgs
But that's one, like 7000 of the effort of that week and pulling together an army of volunteers and just coordinating it all. If you all make a dime on these things, I'd be shocked. Maybe there's a time when you pass that, but that's why I wanted to help him and participate in that. I need to be a steward for the industry that's fueled me for so long and continues to. And so where are the outlets to give back and invest right into it? There's no better place.
[00:38:45.710] - Greg Higgs
And through a promotion like that that's going to build those kind of Mecca destination events that people look forward to.
[00:38:53.570] - Big Rich Klein
I had the conversation with Ranch Pratt, the last promoter for Uroc. He started Arca, was the first promoter out there doing a series and was kind of the inspiration for me with CalRoc and then WE Rock. And one of his things was that man, these companies out there need to participate. They all think it's all about the social media drive and the numbers. I got 60 million followers. But are those 60 million followers truly buying or are they just looking at the pretty pictures or the girls that they've hired as influencers or whatever?
[00:39:42.150] - Big Rich Klein
Most of our marketing partners, they probably didn't get it at first. Meaning you've got an event series. You're seeing a couple of thousand people at each event. How is that going to help me? And until they show up to an event, I've had a lot where the dad has always run. It been a friend forever. They're supporting us like you are saying, like you do. And then all of a sudden the son takes over or the family takes over or somebody else. They hire somebody out of College and they don't get it.
[00:40:21.630] - Big Rich Klein
They don't understand that personal contact. And so they come out to an event and they walk away going, okay, now I get it. They get what offroad really is about and how supporting something that is hard to quantify and ends up being worth it. You can't track somebody that shows up to an event like ours or from Trail Hero, maybe a little bit more from Trail Hero, but especially the competitive event because people are showing up like a competitive event. People that show up there, they are there for one reason.
[00:41:02.250] - Big Rich Klein
They like offroad. They may drive up in their Honda, but that's not what they're off roading. They have the pickup trucks, they have the trailers, they have the Jeep, Samurai, Toyota, whatever. And they're building from what they see, they want to be cool, like the guys competing. They may not be competitive, but they want to have all the cool stuff. And that's what's forced the aftermarket is the competition end of rock crawling.
[00:41:37.090] - Greg Higgs
So big that's the perfect segue into a little soapbox. I got to jump on which some of your listers have heard this, but I don't care. I got to do it again. One of the reasons I also like sponsoring not just little rich in his pursuit of Trail Hero, but Trail Breaker specifically is like the single hardest, most insane single day competition, if you will. It's pure bragging rights, big, terrifying hard stuff. And I like the irony that Fab Fours is the sponsor because we catch a lot of flak in the offroad community where you really are getting to the enthusiast base.
[00:42:25.390] - Greg Higgs
Those would be the majority of the people that say the word Fab Fours with a sour taste in their mouth because they associate it with things like the Grumper and some of the polarizing parts that we had.
[00:42:39.850] - Greg Higgs
I get it. I see where they're coming from. I could sit here and defend the actual merits of the parts, the utility that they do have and accomplish. But I get where they're coming from. They think it's not about that. You need the best, most functional part. That Fab Four stuff is all kind of mall crawler, glitz and glamour. I'd say it's somewhere in between. As an inventor, I'm a bumper guy. So you're making bumpers. Then you see companies like RBP who kind of established a market for changing grills on vehicles.
[00:43:17.470] - Greg Higgs
I just put those two together like, oh, yeah. That's a bigger palette for me to manipulate and make cool, quote, unquote. And they are cool to the thousands of people who buy them. They're very cool, and they love them.
[00:43:34.330] - Big Rich Klein
They may not be considered attractive or for the guy that is driving the rear steer buggy in competition like you're talking about. But the guy that's watching you drive your rear steer buggy is interested in that product. Absolutely correct.
[00:43:56.530] - Greg Higgs
And the connection I want to tie off to as many people as I can get to hear this is I am both of those guys. I competed in Trailbreaker last year. I have a portal rear engine buggy. I was out there for a week and a half just trail riding with the top drivers on the planet doing the absolute hardest stuff. And I'm also the same guy who sketched up the original Grumper and brought it to life for millions of people to vomit emoji online for the next nine years.
[00:44:35.470] - Big Rich Klein
But we talked about that one time and I asked you why. And you said because we're talking about it.
[00:44:44.650] - Greg Higgs
It's true. So that is a fair point that it has good business. So I'm glad that all the aftermarket is built from enthusiasts, which kind of, by definition means they all hate the Grumper, which by that extrapolation means I have no competition. So it's great. I might end up with a 50 foot Hatter Sport Fisher one day named Grumper Money, and everybody can just look at that and weep. But the joking aside, the point I want to make. And I've given a speech at a banquet there when little rich hand me the mic was, Look, I am you also, I love hardcore.
[00:45:26.230] - Greg Higgs
There is no more hardcore than me. I've got Steve Nantz Commission and a buggy. I got another buggy being built here in North Carolina, totally pushing the envelope of what's capable for the hardest of hard. But you need to understand, we can't just get all 2000 of us real hardcore guys to just stare at each other and trade dollar bills between one another. Real innovation needs R and D money. There has to be a market driving those things and things like the Grumper and Vical that turn some people off.
[00:46:04.690] - Greg Higgs
Why they get so offended? I don't know, versus just going. I don't like it. But the point is I am bringing new humans into the truck and offroad space that were not going to be in it before because the soccer mom who does see a Jeep with a Grumper and a vicar going, oh, my gosh, that's awesome. I want to get one of those that's it offroad is a drug. And once you're in, it's hard to ever go back away from it. And so if that's the catalyst to get a Jeep to then get some bumpers and go, wow.
[00:46:43.570] - Greg Higgs
So how do you make them fit? Bigger tires? Oh, that would be a lift kit. What wheels and tires you want? You want some Mickie Thompson's? I personally single handily brought in thousands of new entrants, and once they're in, the evolution takes hold. Some of those early Grumper people from 2000, whatever, 14 are probably buying Dynatrak 80 axles now and have it underneath their JK, and they've evolved. But that's what we need. The Dynatrax, the Atlas, the ORI's all of those companies. We can't sit here and try to put up barriers to keep people less cool than us out.
[00:47:32.890] - Greg Higgs
We need a very open and welcoming community that brings more entrants so that one we can be keeping our lands open because of interest that exists. And two so that we can fuel innovation through new revenue brought into our space. So that's the end of my soapbox. I stand by those products to this day, people that talk trash about the Grumper being a mall crawler. It's like, well, let's take a little closer look. It's actually three sixteenths of an inch in front of the frame horns.
[00:48:08.890] - Greg Higgs
You literally couldn't have a more aggressive approach angle with integrated three quarter inch shackles while holding a 9000 pound winch in that product. So technically, you're wrong. It's extremely hardcore. The fact that you think the grill has been replaced, and for some reason, the Jeep community is excessively loyal to some other random human being. That one time made a seven slot grill is a little beyond me. What makes that human better than this one? Who cares? There should be nine options for the front of it.
[00:48:44.710] - Big Rich Klein
Like round and square headlights.
[00:48:47.890] - Greg Higgs
Yeah, let it go, man. Have fun. Don't take yourself so seriously, but, yeah, you can tell I get passionate about all that because it's all in the space. And for me, year after year, growth after growth almost to a fault. I put every dollar back into Fab fours.
[00:49:09.610] - Greg Higgs
Because I wanted what's next? What's bigger, man, we need more wattage in a laser. So we've got more capacity. We need redundancy in that press break. And so we kept acquiring these resources that then allowed us to be very aggressive in product development. In fact, our model of single piece flow lean manufacturing, leaning on wholesale distribution for our next day delivery, puts us in this really unique spot where during this phone call, I could sketch up some crazy looking new rear bed Mount, entire carrier for a Gladiator.
[00:49:54.970] - Greg Higgs
And by Monday we could be testing that in a Gladiator. And by Friday there could be 50 of them loaded nationwide.
[00:50:04.150] - Big Rich Klein
[00:50:04.690] - Greg Higgs
And then we can run an ad. And if a guy in Boise is like, hey, that's pretty cool, man. That's exactly what I was hoping for. Just like that. I was going to make one, but, oh, I can get it calls local offroad shop boom. You got it. So that cycle from A to B is kind of the result of the 17 year effort of building Fab fours to the bumper juggernaut that it is now on our 80 acre campus, 146,000 square foot building, millions of dollars of equipment, 130 badass operators, 20 people in the front office.
[00:50:44.350] - Greg Higgs
It's a legit booming bumper company that then provides me right outside my door. There's six engineering workstations for CAD designers. Nice to just bring these dreams to reality. And that's what it's all about. I mean, this morning, having nothing to do with you. I completely erased my whiteboard and wrote, how many things I got. There eight things I want to invent, and I can't read them because it's a little proprietary. But believe me, they're very bold, some of which could be businesses even bigger than five fours per revenue and just spreading kind of our influence now that we are acquired by Warn, a lot of my reason for that was to put myself in a bigger sandbox, to have access to adjacent markets side by side commercial military things that if we went and did on our own, we'd be successful at.
[00:51:52.870] - Greg Higgs
But it'd take a while to go scratch and claw away into relevance where Warn already has footholds and things. I can just apply a little bit of our own DNA and make some twists and leverage. Kind of the strengths that we've got and rapid development of sheet metal parts to plug them right into spots that they've already got a well established market. Very exciting for the next chapter.
[00:52:19.450] - Big Rich Klein
I know that when that all happened, I thought it was kept pretty quiet. You guys made the announcement.
[00:52:30.130] - Big Rich Klein
I guess I wasn't shocked. I was impressed. I give you kudos for that and hope that those eight products or ideas that are on your whiteboard all come to fruition. That's for sure.
[00:52:46.150] - Greg Higgs
[00:52:47.170] - Greg Higgs
You'd like the list? I'll text it to you afterwards. Confidentially.
[00:52:51.970] - Big Rich Klein
I've got a lot of ideas, but no way to do any of them. So maybe I'll send you a list, too.
[00:52:57.670] - Greg Higgs
Brilliant. Especially if it's fabricated sheet metal.
[00:53:01.510] - Greg Higgs
There's a real beauty to that, because you don't have so much capital tied up in cooling or development. If it can be made out of sheet metal, I can bring it to life in 24 hours, which is super fun.
[00:53:17.710] - Big Rich Klein
That's awesome. I know that when I interviewed Cora Jokanin with her locker company that since everything is done basically in house or job shops that are very close to her, that she can make the design and have a prototype locker and manufacture start manufacturing the parts within a week for a locker, which is not just crazy that's way more complicated of a product. Exactly. She did the Terrex lockers. Dave Cole with Ultra Four needed a locker for the back of one of his Kawasakis or something.
[00:54:08.570] - Big Rich Klein
Within a week, she had the prototype in hand and testing.
[00:54:15.390] - Big Rich Klein
I was impressed. And I'm impressed that you can take an idea like that as well and be able to have it ready to go in the same amount of time. It's awesome.
[00:54:28.110] - Greg Higgs
So to kind of tie that off and bring it to present day. As I pointed out, I mean, this is pretty fresh. You'd actually asked me to interview probably four months ago, and I knew I was about two months out from the deal to sell the business. So I was like, Well, I really can't something's brewing. I didn't want to disclose it, but give me a couple of months and then sure enough, my situation is unique. As we started with the timeline, I'm still 42. I've got a 15 year old daughter, 13 year old son.
[00:55:02.250] - Greg Higgs
So I'm actually getting close to having them done through high school, but I feel like just kind of coming into my prime now, as far as having the experience of building the business, having the resources under belt, and now kind of just a free look at what to do next. And so choosing warned as an exit strategy exits actually the common terminology. I'm not exiting. I'm not heading off to Tahiti here. It was more about do I want to do it myself? Or could I do it faster?
[00:55:41.610] - Greg Higgs
And I'm so freaking impatient. I saw a way to just leverage with Warn, which I don't even have to give him a reference. Anyone listen to this knows who they are. I was a fan of their stuff the day I got that first Jeep back in 96. I always love that brand. Who doesn't. And Bumpers and Winches, of course, are two PS in a pod. We've been making bumpers for them on the heavy duties for five or six years already, and then a lot of the leadership team that came in to warn after the private equity sold Worn to Keystone are Keystone execs that we'd already known for a decade.
[00:56:24.570] - Greg Higgs
So they're so familiar and so much mutual respect already. And the fact that we already do projects to understand each other's culture, for me is like coming out of covid had a fear. We all did. I watched my business cut in half overnight last March and realized I didn't have a good exit strategy, so I better freak and start figuring one out. And then as it all came raging back, we got Fab fours into such a great position, just rocking and rolling. Great morale on the floor bookings that we've never had before as far as backlog, just off the charts, it was just freaking working like, well, it's a good time.
[00:57:11.970] - Greg Higgs
Either I got to choose the path, which is I'm going to go double this business myself, set some sort of big and audacious goal to challenge myself, or I need to look at selling it and then find a way to double it with others. And to the patient's point, it checked two boxes. He got some chips off the table for all the hard work and sacrifice my family had put in over all these years, and it was going to be a hyper accelerant into growing the business because we wouldn't have to organically do it all and learn every lesson and pain a brick at a time.
[00:57:57.150] - Greg Higgs
So that's going down. It's only been six weeks. And unfortunately, us, like every other manufacturer in America right now, is suffering from supply chain issues and just incredible. I want to call it cost gouging, but I don't think anybody's actually winning down the road. It's just the prices for raw materials are beyond unprecedented. They're irrational. And a company like mine is so simple of a lemonade stand. I mean, I bring in steel pallets cardboard. I add labor and sell a bumper. So my supply chain is extremely short, right to commodities.
[00:58:45.390] - Greg Higgs
And so as those have been rocketing, we are feeling in real time. Whereas you're going to see a lot of the aftermarket is going to be lagging behind folks like Fab Fours and our bumper competitors out there and companies like Toolboxes where they're similar that it's steel and labor. We have to be up so much and you lose a little sleep going. Galilee, what can people stand to pay for a freaking bumper? And we're about to find out it's not pretty, but it's just the way it is.
[00:59:21.870] - Greg Higgs
You have to otherwise you're losing money.
[00:59:26.070] - Big Rich Klein
But we'll see let's dive in a little bit to the supply chain issue. Back when China was building that big dam, they were buying all the steel. Do you remember that we developed the Dayton, Tennessee, site they had on top of that Hill where all our spectators are at and where we set up. It was a salvage yard. Kenny would go in and pick up cars at auction or just from neighbors, whatever, and then Peel the parts off of them. But they all got stored there. And when he said, hey, we got this rock face come out and take a look at it.
[01:00:18.670] - Big Rich Klein
I went and took a look at it and said, okay, you got great rock face out here. We need to do some blasting, but we need to get rid of all these cars because that whole top of the hillside was covered, just stacked vehicles. Well, it just happened to be that it was the right perfect time for him to do that. He caught just the end of it where the steel prices for scrap was so high, they brought in a crusher and they got all that stuff out of there before the price has dropped.
[01:00:48.310] - Big Rich Klein
But all that stuff was being shipped overseas as scrap and then processed. Now I see the steel all going to Turkey is what it appears being that we live part time now in Texas, in Puerto Ricans, they had what we call the Three Sisters there, which are decommissioned oil rigs. Those oil rigs have been sold off and now are going have or are going to Turkey for dismantling and processing for scrap. Do you think that part of the pricing and everything is because the US steel industry suffered because everything was going overseas and then they didn't have the stuff.
[01:01:39.970] - Big Rich Klein
Do you think that's part of the problem, or do you think it's just a natural? What do you think is the issue?
[01:01:48.550] - Greg Higgs
I don't think it's that grand. That could have been a subtle influence. And I'm sure the point of this by gas isn't to get too political, so to stay away from the sensitive zones. But as a business owner early on, like whatever February March code had started to come in, cases were spreading. And then there was kind of this notion on social media that fueled up everywhere, which was Stay home, stop the spread. And just hearing that still gives me chills as you go. That's a fairy tale.
[01:02:31.990] - Greg Higgs
The whole world is connected. Supply chains are so intricate, we can't stop. And even that notion kind of pissed me off because that implied, like, hey, stay home. What are you going to eat and drink? Like what's in your pantry like, well, yeah, well, bullshit. That's just a glorified notion. But you still assume Amazon is going to deliver anything you want. Why don't those people get to stay home? If you say, stay home, there is nothing. You're back to living off of what's in your yard in three weeks when you run out of food and milk and you're not going to Starbucks anymore.
[01:03:13.330] - Greg Higgs
That was very irritating, because the groundswell around that it was going to work insurership. We shut down the planet like that. So can you imagine, like, sort of an asteroid, something that could make the entire world basically do the same thing at the same time. That just doesn't happen. And you fast forward to where whatever you believe, where we stand in the Kovid journey. Look at College football. Right now. Parts of the world are back to normal. Lots of parts are not. You know why? Because nobody's in charge.
[01:03:56.230] - Greg Higgs
That's not our present. I'm the same period. There's nobody in charge of the world. Yet somehow the world would collectively flip the switch off. But since nobody can collectively flip it on, you don't get to tell everybody, like, go back to February 2020. And so it trickles in. And not one person, I don't think anywhere could have guessed how fast it came back. I was sitting in my office with just my CFO, had sent everyone else home except operators, because I was determined to keep running to take care of my customers.
[01:04:36.850] - Greg Higgs
If a job is out there trying to sell a bumper, by God, I'm going to make it right. We stayed here open, and it was a dark time. Holy crap. This business plummeted to nothing. And so I had to do a massive layoff of almost half my company. So sad. You just watch it slip through your fingers. And then just 60 days later, the demand starts picking up you're like, okay, a little bit of breathing room, like, all right, so the world's still turning. Somebody's buying something 90 days, 120 days.
[01:05:18.670] - Greg Higgs
It was on a freaking skyrocket because it just started to happen. And you fast forward another seven or eight months. I kind of refer to it as Disneyland money. You got a normal family of four or five that skips one Disney trip. That guy got 15 extra $1,000 all of a sudden. So let alone all the other stimulus and this and that there was an abundance of savings and time that led to insatiable demand for things because you can't go out to eat you can't travel.
[01:05:58.930] - Greg Higgs
So you've got money in your home. What do you want? Traeger grills, lawn furniture, pools put in. And then why not buy a side by side, trick out your truck? And so the aftermarket felt this just absolute boom, which had euphoria for a moment. We were lucky. We're in South Carolina, our work first. Good old boys, people that were raised to work and earned their keep. So every single operator we called that we had had to lay off, came back to work.
[01:06:33.670] - Greg Higgs
So it felt great. Like now we've got huge demand, we've got our workforce, we're in tiptop shape. We're running, we're going, we're having a great time. And then the price increases started at almost the same time, the risk of shortage for even raw materials was starting to hit. And so it's not Turkey or recycling or whatever. Like those plants all shut down, too. The day I was sitting in my dark office with just my CFO, there was some dark office at a steel mill with a CEO and his CFO going, Holy crap, because demand literally stopped.
[01:07:19.150] - Greg Higgs
Everyone quit buying in supply chains. Consumers were buying, manufacturers stopped, distributors stopped. Everyone went to a wait and see pattern and let me conserve cash. So if you have inventory, sell it, but dare not buy. And that has a very damaging effect going down. So you take our scenario from a wholesale distributor. They have millions of dollars in inventory the day they freak out. Hey, don't buy anything else but keep selling. Well, that means I'm not getting orders. But I'm still trying to keep my supply chain downstream healthy and take care of my employees.
[01:08:04.150] - Greg Higgs
Well, all industries were doing that. And so you make this kind of crack in the whip that has to flow through. And when the demand came raging back, you got fours buying steel, Traeger grills, buying steel, backyard playground, slide, buy and steal. Everybody's buying steel. From who? The steel mill that literally shut it all down. And now when they come back, they might have Union. I mean, to this day, a lot of our steel and tube suppliers still are running at 50% attendance, trying to hire and retain labor.
[01:08:45.610] - Greg Higgs
So they are vastly under capacity at the same time that their demand has rocketed. And I don't think that companies do themselves a favor either, because I guarantee every single last one of us tried to hoard as much as we could. It's like toilet paper for big companies. If you can buy it, get it, because we can't run out of steel. So I think there's probably an excess in a bunch of buildings right now. Just exacerbating the fact that as of today, these still Mills are still not back at full capacity that they were in February, right?
[01:09:25.930] - Greg Higgs
Okay, so long rants on that. But, man, it is tough because whatever you want is still going to boil down to commodities. Copper, aluminum, steel, paper pulp. Those things run off of index, and it's pure supply and demand. Well, then those components go into 5 billion things. You can go buy off Amazon, some that range from razor thin gross margins to products with very healthy gross margins. It's all about to just come to a head here. The only things that are going to write this ship is either discussing inflation that we all have to push all the way down, or we're going to see.
[01:10:14.570] - Greg Higgs
Unfortunately, a bunch of businesses start to fail that can't pass these costs forward. There's certain goods that people just will not pay a certain dollar amount for. I hope that bumpers at the price increases we're going to have out here don't fall in that category, but there's certainly smaller doodads and things. Or take home gyms, for example. I mean, think how many home gyms must have gone in in the year 2020? You could not buy a weight bench. Let's pick some random number 2 million people when they put in Home Jones, where in a normal year it should have been $200,000.
[01:10:58.010] - Greg Higgs
That's irrational that many people don't need home gyms like all that steel didn't belong in people's garages.
[01:11:10.250] - Greg Higgs
The world just got aligned. It's like having a magnet line up all the grain and the steel, which isn't supposed to happen. The world should look chaotic of all sorts of different purchases and different times. And this is popular in the spring. This is popular in the fall. And oh, you'll never sell this backpack at this time. And who wants a lawnmower now and then? Kovi just aligned the world to turn off, then turn back on. And everybody wants the same types of things at the same time.
[01:11:43.190] - Greg Higgs
It's going to be insane to watch how long it takes to unravel like cars. If you want a new truck, forget it. It's crazy to go see an empty car lot on every single dealership. So what happens when these 4 million chips show up? You can't go from empty lots to tons of trucks. That doesn't work either. It's supposed to just be a flow that never stopped for the last 20 years, 50 years. But we've actually found a way inadvertently to engineer a moment in time where nothing is right to do this cataclysmic challenge.
[01:12:30.950] - Greg Higgs
This stuff is going to be something to behold the next couple of months.
[01:12:34.550] - Big Rich Klein
I agree. Wholeheartedly. You've probably put it on display better than anybody else I've read or listened to. So thank you for that.
[01:12:50.270] - Greg Higgs
Yeah, sure. I've thought about it a lot.
[01:12:52.490] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, I would imagine. So being on that side of the industry, I'm quite impressed. So what is next for Fab four? Besides the eight things that are on your whiteboard?
[01:13:05.210] - Greg Higgs
Well, it's that and warned I shouldn't speak out of school or take. I'm not taking any of their credit. They have some incredible opportunities in front of them right now with OE work and it's just really cool. It's another bridge of the aftermarket into mainstream.
[01:13:27.950] - Greg Higgs
We've seen it for a while with, like, the Dodge Power Wagon had a worn winch in it. Now the Ford Tremor has a worn winch in it. That's cool. If you're in the aftermarket, you can only dream with such things. Well, they are now getting I mean, it sounds like a negative word, but inundated I would say, with these incredible opportunities and Cochimus, which is headquarters. If you've been there awesome campus up there in Oregon, they're a bit landlocked. So that's an advantage that has an all a sister company, especially with so much standing history.
[01:14:05.810] - Greg Higgs
We can be seamless with that organization. Start sharing resources back and forth and leverage what we have here, which is we strive to be the employer of choice in Lancaster, South Carolina, our small town and have so we have a line of people that want to work here, allowing us to be selective and just saying that some of your listeners will be jealous of because in parts of the country, you're having to be bidding almost for labor and still suffering. We've got a great opportunity of hard work and folks here that want to be part of this team.
[01:14:47.570] - Greg Higgs
And we got 80 acres, and I still have the front building with almost 40,000 sqft ready. So we're kicking off, even in November, making some aftermarket based winches for them, which is kind of the very first transition to playing with them in some of their space and going back and forth. So that's the near term horizon, just taking advantage of so many opportunities that exist in side by side OE and commercial where we can leverage some of the resources we have here in South Carolina and with our sister company, FABTECH and Factor 55, two other sweet brands that this SEMA show.
[01:15:32.270] - Greg Higgs
We're having a couple of dinners will be the first time for myself and leadership teams from all four of our companies to be in the same place at the same time and really start talking about the next step. Right now. It's been kind of the boring part of Synergies and cost and freight and that type of thing. None of that gets me excited. It should, but it doesn't. What gets me excited is working with FABTECH to make one of these things on my list up here.
[01:16:00.290] - Greg Higgs
That when you see it, you're just like, dude, you can buy that. And that's what I want to pull off. There's so many creative ingenious, just enthusiasts that on their own are producing really badass stuff out there. And I like to use all that as inspiration and kind of molding that. But then having an ability to take something that a guy like, I use my builder, Tim Odell here in Lincoln that helped me build Chimera and the original legend. I mean, the guy can do anything you want.
[01:16:42.290] - Greg Higgs
But, man, you're going to pay for it.
[01:16:44.330] - Greg Higgs
Because you're going to pay them by the hour to kind of scratch and claw that out of a piece of clay and turn it into something real to take that, though piece that people think is just incredible and they want it and then be able to turn that into something that's actual mainstream, available to distribution next day across the country. That's what fires me up. How can we take things that seem normal to us now? Think three steps ahead, looking around the corner for stuff people hadn't even thought they might want yet and be the first one to actually go bring that to life commercially, as opposed to just the equivalent of a one off race team that's dumping R and D money on a certain performance attribute.
[01:17:37.430] - Greg Higgs
That's what I think you're going to see out of us in this sister company and acquisitions to come based on the leadership, the vision for this that's coming down from Warren. It's going to be turning guys like myself and Brent and my cost of loose on collaborating inventing, and then we got the resources to bring it to life. So we're living the dream.
[01:18:01.910] - Big Rich Klein
That's awesome. It's happening. That's awesome. So I'd like to say, is there anything else that you would like to discuss? We've kind of come full circle, but I think this has been a great interview, very insightful into not only the birth and growth of Fab fours and yourself, but also the process in general, of aftermarket parts that most of us that are enthusiasts have no clue on. I had no clue what it takes to create product and get it out there. I've talked to a lot of guys so far with this interview that have done that, but we've never gone in depth like you have with us, and I really appreciate that.
[01:19:04.950] - Big Rich Klein
So is there anything else that you have that you'd like to discuss?
[01:19:10.350] - Greg Higgs
I've got an open door and plant here. Anybody wants to come see how bumpers are made. I'd encourage you to do it, because what I want everyone to know is these are hard working folks that love this brand, love this industry and just want to see the whole thing succeed and grow. That is synonymous with saying, hey, be kind. If your parents didn't ever tell you this, I will. If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all because we are all on the same team.
[01:19:42.690] - Greg Higgs
We want the same thing to promote the automotive aftermarket see it succeed and grow. And I'm telling you right now, everybody that comes to Fab fours every day is working as hard as they can to participate in that. And it takes all different styles, shapes, sizes and products to create an entire community that's going to check the boxes for all wouldbe entrance. So check out our catalog for you over, judge. We've got everything from Ranch bumpers that hold 16.5 winches that Halliburton might need 500 them for the old patch that is pure utility to the craziest looking limb riser that nobody on the planet needs.
[01:20:29.250] - Greg Higgs
That looks like a saw blade. And I hope somebody powder coats it purple just to be obnoxious. That whole spectrum is what we're all about.
[01:20:42.150] - Greg Higgs
I'm not saying we're a sell out. If somebody will pay, we will make it. Although people would like to type cast us as that. We're still staying in our Lane. We're just blurring the edges of it. We're saying, look, if we were all doing the same thing, there should only be three of us, right? But there's not even the most judgy of consumers out there. I can look at your rig, too, and pick out stuff you didn't have to put on, but you did, because it was cool.
[01:21:11.430] - Greg Higgs
So you admit there's a spectrum to that where there's moments. You've transcended utility into taste and preference. And if you commit that exists, then, man, if you see something that person obviously likes it, what is wrong with that? They chose it. They spent their money on it trying to judge them or cast them as a type and disparage them. I don't understand the goal of that. That's going to somehow abolish that from existing. Because it's not true. Once there's a market for it, it will expand.
[01:21:49.710] - Greg Higgs
It would be better off for folks to say, hey, welcome, love having you in the community. Let me show you this. Now that you're into it, check this out. That's the type of community we ought to be, so that this thing can just keep growing exponentially, but it ain't going to stop me. All those haters have really propelled our business. We'll take it. In fact, I need to add something on the whiteboard that's offensive again, just to keep that momentum going.
[01:22:18.210] - Big Rich Klein
There you go.
[01:22:19.770] - Greg Higgs
[01:22:20.250] - Big Rich Klein
I love it.
[01:22:20.970] - Greg Higgs
I love it. And I hope to see everybody out on the trail.
[01:22:23.730] - Big Rich Klein
Okay. Well, Greg, thank you so much for spending the time with us and explaining and delving into the business aspects of Fab Fours and the offroad industry.
[01:22:37.170] - Greg Higgs
You got it. And if anybody's out there struggling with supply chain or other, I'm sure you can find a way to catch me. Greg, IGZ bad force.
[01:22:47.790] - Big Rich Klein
All right, Greg, thank you so much.
[01:22:50.430] - Greg Higgs
[01:22:51.090] - Speaker 4
[01:22:51.630] - Big Rich Klein
Bye bye. If you enjoy these podcasts.
[01:22:54.990] - Speaker 1
Please give us a rating. Share some feedback with us via Facebook or Instagram and share our link among your friends who might be like minded.
[01:23:03.930] - Big Rich Klein
Well, that brings this episode to an end. Hope you enjoyed it.
[01:23:06.750] - Speaker 1
We'll catch you next week with Conversations Daygridge.
[01:23:09.930] - Big Rich Klein
Thank you very much. Bye.