From Side Hustle to Success: The Journey of E.C.D. Automotive Design

From Side Hustle to Success: The Journey of E.C.D. Automotive Design

Tom Humble, CXO and founder of E.C.D. Automotive Design, shares his story of turning his passion for custom auto design into a thriving business.

In the world of custom auto design, one name stands out: E.C.D. Automotive Design. Known for creating the finest custom Land Rover Defenders in the USA, E.C.D. has become a powerhouse in the industry. But behind this success is the story of Tom Humble, the man who turned his side hustle into a multimillion-dollar business. In this Side Hustle Spotlight Q&A, Tom shares his journey, the challenges he faced, and the strategies that led to E.C.D.’s remarkable growth.

From Automotive Enthusiast to Entrepreneur

Before starting E.C.D. Auto Design, Tom Humble had a background in the automotive industry, specializing in custom vehicle design and construction. His passion for cars and desire for creative freedom led him to venture into entrepreneurship. Tom wanted to build something unique, push boundaries, and deliver exceptional products and experiences to his clientele.

Finding Inspiration in Land Rover Defenders

The inspiration for E.C.D. Auto Design came from Tom’s deep appreciation for Land Rover Defenders. He wanted to preserve their iconic design while enhancing their performance and functionality. Tom aimed to bridge the gap between classic and modern by offering fully restored and modified Defenders that combined nostalgia with modern features and quality.

Taking the First Steps

Starting small, Tom and his team began working out of a garage. The initial steps involved assembling a talented team of craftsmen and technicians who shared their passion and vision. Building a reputation for quality craftsmanship, attention to detail, and excellent customer service was crucial in establishing trust and attracting clients.

See also  Texas A&M University System and Halliburton Collaborate to Shape the Future of Entrepreneurship

Overcoming Challenges

Building E.C.D. presented its fair share of challenges. Securing the necessary resources for growth was one of the most significant hurdles. To address this, Tom reinvested profits into the business, secured strategic partnerships, and leveraged their reputation to attract investment. Scaling operations while maintaining quality was also a continuous balancing act, but the dedicated team played a vital role in overcoming these challenges.

From Side Hustle to Full-Time Business

Consistent monthly revenue took time as E.C.D. focused on quality and reputation. However, within a few years, revenue began to increase steadily. E.C.D.’s income surpassed Tom’s previous full-time job within the first five years, reflecting the growing demand for their customized vehicles and dedication to delivering excellence.

Key Strategies for Success

Several key strategies contributed to E.C.D.’s success. They prioritized innovation, staying ahead of industry trends, and embracing modern technology. Expanding their product lineup to include other classic vehicles and venturing into the electrification of classic vehicles set them apart in the market. Maintaining a focus on the luxury and travel segments allowed E.C.D. to cater to their clientele’s unique needs and desires.


Tom Humble’s journey from a side hustle to a $225 million valuation business is a testament to the power of passion, innovation, and commitment. His advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to start with a clear vision, deliver exceptional quality, and be open to innovation. Building a strong team and staying true to core values are also crucial. E.C.D. Auto Design’s success story serves as an inspiration for anyone looking to turn their side hustle into a successful full-time business.

See also  Inspiring the Entrepreneurs of Tomorrow: A Teacher's Journey