Welcome to Empyre Off-Road!
I'm Greg - a Tacoma enthusiast, hard working guy and family man. I started this company (It's more like a hobby) because I didn't love any of the aftermarket grilles out there, nor did I love the high price tag. I, like many Tacoma owners, financed my truck (I mean, who can cough up $35k like it's nothing?) and have limited funds to spend on modifications after making the monthly payment.
I, like most 3rd gen Tacoma owners was sold a truck with the lovely "cheese grater" grille. From day one I knew I didn't want this grille long term and I absolutely loved the look of the TRD Pro grille. As I started on my journey, I wanted to create something that looked similar to it, but not exactly the same. My little brother is a mechanical engineer by trade, I provided him my vision and a stock grille and after 6 weeks or so, he finally produced a CAD design that matched my liking.
After I had my CAD, I went to my buddy's laser/fabrication shop, got a quote, and produced the first unit.... my unit! I loved it and so did lots of other people. After enough pressure, I started producing my grilles and selling them online. It's been a learning experience, but I've loved every second of it.
How/Why So Cheap?
I'm about to get really transparent here (which most businesses would never dare), so bear with me.
The #1 question customers have before they make a purchase is how I can sell my grilles (and vinyl decals) for so cheap. I have to be sacrificing quality, right? Well, no, not really. Here's how:
My grilles are based on a minimalist design. It's cut out of one sheet of metal and I don't do any customization. Literally, what you see is what you get. This allows for the process to be more efficient and get better pricing from the fabricator.
My grilles are cut out of 14 gauge steel, no stainless steel here (except for the backplate). Yes, stainless is nice (but expensive) and with a really good coat of powder coating, your grille shouldn't ever start to rust. If you do see a chip, you'll need to touch it up... just like the paint on your truck.
I use online tools to get discounts on shipping costs. One of the reasons I built my site on Shopify is because of all of the third party integrations that help reduce costs and pass the savings along to you. One of the biggest discounts I get is on shipping costs by getting "bulk rate" discounts.
I don't worry about fancy packaging or inserts. When you grille arrives, you'll see that I buy my packaging at Walmart. Custom boxes cost upwards of $6-8 a pop and the boxes I get end up costing about $1 per shipment. I also don't worry about package inserts. Everything you need to install your grille or vinyl can be found on the website in the resources section.
Lastly, and by far the biggest area of costs savings is overhead to run the business. I also own and run a marketing agency and I can tell you first hand that people and tools are EXPENSIVE!!! My costs to run this business is a monthly subscription for Shopify which is about $70 per month and a sellers account on Amazon which is $40 a month. That's about it.
I don't own a $2 million dollar laser, I don't own powder coating equipment, I don't even rent space to store inventory (they literally sit on a gorilla rack in my garage). My costs of good sold is the cost of material and supplies.
String all of these cost savings together and bam! You've got yourself a quality grille at a very low cost. Make sense? You're welcome! I do this for you... one Tacoma owner to another.
Ping me if you have any questions. I do work full time running my marketing agency, so I'll get back to you as soon as I can.