In early 2020, TEAMLTD and Cargo Ease formed a strategic partnership. If you’re reading this, you already know who Cargo Ease is, but you may not be familiar with TEAMLTD. TEAMLTD is one of Canada’s premiere lifestyle brands and manufacturing companies. TEAMLTD engages with their audience in such a way, they continue to create, design, and produce copious amounts of content for soft and hard goods a like. They work with countless businesses and brands across North America creating experiential marketing initiatives while supplying their clients with high quality apparel (Cargo Ease included).
TEAMLTD’s goal was to customize a new model Ford Transit van and turn it into a livable office / home / creator space for TEAMLTD's own Jacob DeGrace; as he ventured across Canada. The content series was a huge hit and can be followed on TEAMLTD's Instagram here.
- Drawers (Cargo Ease Lockers)
- Solar panels
Upon completion, Jacob set out from their Headquarters in Mississauga, ON and headed as far west as he could possibly drive, ending up in Tofino, BC. The idea was to capture life on the open road and keep it as close to real as Jacob could make it.
We caught up with Cargo Ease Inc. Co-founder, Jay Bluhm, and TEAMLTD’s Jacob DeGrace to find out a little more on how the project and partnership came to be.
What was your first impression of TEAMLTD as a business? And Jacob, what was your first impression of Cargo Ease as a company?
Jay: My first impression was that my daughter asked me if she could get a TEAMLTD sweater for Christmas. I had no clue what she was talking about. I talked to our good friend Bubba Nicholson, who works with our family on multiple projects. The same day, Bubba said, “Hey, I know these guys. He hooked me up with them and I instantly felt the family / hard-working vibes. Their team is very motivated. Lots of respect before and after meeting TEAMLTD.
Jacob: I had actually heard of Cargo Ease previous to knowing who ran the show behind the scenes. One of my co-workers had a slide installed on his truck & I thought it was genius! It was built tough and ready for any situation thrown its way. I specifically remember the time we had his two dirt bikes rolled up onto the slide and can remember thinking to myself that these guys solved a pretty big problem (loading toys onto trucks) and did it with style.
What attracted you to each other's products? Do you use and/or wear them often?
Jay: I like the style. As companies, we both have an enjoyment for the outdoors. I find their products are great quality and long lasting. I wear them every day. Going out, chillin' out, and while I'm working.
Jacob: The ability to load all my gear (snowboards, skateboards, parachute, camera equipment, and more) into a secure locker that was completely out of sight from anyone was complete peace of mind for me while living on the road. There are a lot of situations where my camper van will be parked up for the entire day in a parking lot somewhere, and having the lockable slides/locker gives me absolute peace of mind over my equipment.
Culturally speaking, why did you both feel that Cargo Ease and TEAMLTD were a good fit in this partnership?
Jay: The work culture is actually very similar. Both companies are into the outdoors. Both are hardworking, and both are always looking at new ways to better their companies and service.
Jacob: I feel like Cargo Ease and TEAMLTD have a very similar audience. From a marketing perspective, it made the most sense to build up this partnership as we are two like-minded brands.
Jay, had you ever customized a Ford Transit before? Were there any unexpected hurdles?
Jay: I had never worked on anything like this before, but I love a challenge. That said, I have worked on the back of trucks for tailgating and installed countless lockers with coolers. I've helped friends turn their trucks into mobile camping units using Cargo Ease lockers for storage of food, gear, and even bbqs. But this challenge was unique.
Jacob, what was the experience working on this project with Cargo Ease like on your end?
Jacob: We handed over the keys to Jay a few days before I had to jet off on a week-long film job. I wasn't expecting the completion to be done when I arrived back home. To my surprise, upon landing back at Pearson International, I received a text from Jay saying it was finished! I was blown away that he was able to construct the whole project within 5 days, TOTAL. While away, I had received a couple shots showing the van before it had been done and the anticipation was real. I was absolutely blown away by the finished product once seeing it in person.
Jacob, how did the customization process begin for TEAMLTD?
Jacob: Not only did I look for a van that could withstand countless miles driven and be able to keep up with my off road adventures, I needed a build that would fit the part as well. And it sure does. I often take it back country camping up old logging roads, week-long ski trips north, and surf trips to the coast. From what I've experienced so far is that this van is built to last & made for adventure. Everything from the back Cargo Ease lockers that hold my snow gear, to the fully built out solar system that gives me power when I'm off grid. The attention to detail with every little obstacle you come across when your living out of a van has been very precisely thought out.
Jay, what's your process when customizing someone's vehicle? How do you evaluate their specific needs?
Jay: Well, every client is different. That's why we like to take the personal hands on approach. What will you be using this for? What are your specific needs? Who is the customer as a person? As far as the TEAMLTD truck, it was a dream come true. They let me be as creative as I wanted, and, as far as they've told me, it's exceeded their expectations. However, for most clients, we talk about their needs, like what will they be using our Cargo Ease slides and lockers for? Is it all season and exposed to the elements or something more temperate? What kind of weight requirements? Are you hauling ATVs or luggage? Then we talk about what would make it cool, like custom coatings, engravings, etc.
Now to the important questions, What's your favourite kind of beer?
Jay: Do I have to have a favorite? Feel like that’s a tough question. I have a favorite beer for every season. Spring is a Steam Whistle, summer is a Miller Light, fall is a Blue Moon, and winter is a Guinness.
Jacob: After spending the day out and about I like to crank the sliding door of the van open and crack open a cold one. I switch it up quite often but right now I'm drinking Trash Panda Hazy IPA.
Who would win in a fight, Mr.T (in his prime) or a kangaroo?
Jay: I will have to say a kangaroo mostly because I'm too young to know who Mr. T is, and Walkabout was a crazy kangaroo from the Ninja Turtles and I feel like he wouldn’t lose too many fights.
Jacob: I'll put money on the Kangaroo - The "Boxers" of the outback ;)
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