For Kev Baldwin, trousers and trouser-related problems have been ever present throughout his life. As an unusually tall child he can remember being taken to a trouser factory in Hebden Bridge to have a pair of trousers tailor made for a family wedding. Fast forward 40 years and 6’5″ Kev is wearing a pair of trousers made in that very same Hebden Bridge factory. They’re not actually the same kegs. That would be weird. They’re HebTroCo C60 Needlecords. Unsurprisingly, Kev’s legs are now even longer than they were 40 years ago but thanks to HebTroCo’s generous leg length, Kev can get his trousers straight off the shelf in Hebden Bridge without resorting to some freakytalltrousers.com specialist website.
It was Kev’s long legs that inadvertently gave birth to MUD-UK, one of the Calder Valley’s best kept business secrets, but a recognised name in Land Rover circles throughout the world.
“I learned to drive in my dad’s Land Rover and my first car was a Land Rover, but being so tall, I never really fitted in them properly. Around 14 years ago I was writing for a Land Rover magazine and did a feature on how I’d modified my own Land Rover Defender’s seating position to increase the legroom. As a result of the feature I was inundated with requests from readers asking if I could make and sell them the same modification. That got me thinking. Maybe there’s something in this….?”
14 years later Kev’s MUD-UK brand, based in Cragg Vale, is one of the most respected Land Rover accessory names across the globe.
“We’ve sold tens of thousands of the legroom extension kits and, thanks to Land Rover’s basic (for ‘basic’ see non existent) interior trim finish in its Defender model, we’ve gone on to design many other new products that I always describe as ‘the stuff that Land Rover couldn’t be bothered to do themselves’.
We’ve purposely stayed away from selling the same things everyone else sells. At MUD we design most of the accessories we sell ourselves because we know what our customers want and what works. It’s the product design and creative process of starting with an idea and seeing it through to a finished product with the MUD name on it that I really love. Sometimes the simple ideas are the best. We came up with our MUD curry hook when I got sick of picking up the remains of Chicken Tikka from my Land Rover footwell. It’s just a hook that screws to the dashboard to hang your takeaway on. It costs £2.50 and is hardly rocket science but we’ve sold thousands all over the world. It’s even been adopted by Kia and Hyundai as an official accessory for their cars.”
What started out as a kitchen table idea by accident has grown into a thriving business with its products finding homes in Land Rovers in every corner of the globe. Aside from Land Rover owners, MUD customers include F1 teams, military vehicle builders and Land Rover themselves. MUD products have even made their way onto a Hollywood film set.
“We had an enquiry the other week from someone wanting to be dealer for our products in Ulaanbataar. He wasn’t too sure whether we’d already have a distributor in Mongolia.”
We do now..