Funny as it sounds, tie-downs go way back for Trader Tim Sousamian. Open trailers or enclosed Tim has been using Tie-downs throughout his career and for recreation. Over 30 years ago Tim began manufacturing tie-downs. It all started with Trust Me Tie-downs and carried on for years through Beard Seats. Eventually Tim rebranded the company to SpeedStrap. They say history repeats itself and now he went back to his roots with Trader Tim’s Tie-Downs. Hand crafted to order, one at a time in Southern California, Tim has turned it up a notch offering even more attention to detail, great quality and the ability to build a tie-down to your specifications.
Who Is Trader Tim?
Truck roots run deep for Trader Tim. Over the years his successful business ventures have run the gamut from tie-down straps and UTV parts to customized apparel for trade and consumer conventions. But his first love—and his first business—was trucks.
His father and a friend founded Unique Truck Accessories in the late 1960s to make and sell accessories for big-rig diesel trucks. Tim literally grew up in the business, helping where he could. Family vacations were spent on the Colorado River, where Tim became infatuated with high-performance boats. It was a natural fit, then, for him to develop accessories for the crew-cab dually tow rigs he saw on the river and add those products to the family business. He eventually struck out on his own and launched Accessory Mart, a retail outlet for his and his family’s truck accessories, and Dually Headquarters, which focused purely on lowering kits, cab extenders, wings, and other parts for the tow rigs he loved so much.
In 1988, General Motors kick-started the whole sport truck industry with the introduction of its GMT400-series pickups, and Tim was ready to jump into this hot new market. Trader’s Truck Accessories was among the pioneers in the sport truck aftermarket, offering high-end accessories and upgrades for a new breed of truck enthusiasts. His growing customer base eagerly awaited the latest Trader’s catalog and the cutting-edge sport truck that would grace its cover. At its peak, Trader’s Truck Accessories occupied a massive facility in Whittier, California; employed about 75 staff members; offered mail-order and retail sales; and performed sport truck conversions on hundreds of trucks for customers as well as local-area dealerships. Tim indulged his love for racing by building a Chevrolet 454SS pickup for drag race exhibitions, and Trader’s also outfitted the NHRA Safety Safari rigs for a number of years.
Along with Trader’s Truck Accessories, Tim also founded Street Scene Equipment, which offered accessories like electric sport mirrors and a patented line of Speed Grille products. For a time, Tim operated both companies’ side-by-side.
Tim’s contribution to the sport truck industry “was far greater than I ever anticipated it would be,” he admits, but by the late 1990s he was ready to move on to new opportunities. His diverse business ventures at the time included launching Trust Me Tie-Downs and buying Beard Racing Seats, which opened a whole new market for him: the off-roading industry. As was the case with sport trucks a decade earlier, his timing was perfect. The UTV market was just starting to take off, and he capitalized on the opportunity by offering seats, roll cages and other accessories.
Over the years, Tim would help promote each of his businesses through branded apparel—T-shirts, jackets, hats and the like. Seeing a new opportunity there, in the late 2000s he began to manufacture specialty branded apparel and worked with SEMA, the Specialty Equipment Market Association, to make and sell SEMA-branded merchandise at its annual trade show. As that business grew, he was able to offer the same services to other conventions and trade associations, and the Piston Driven event branding business was born.
Tim has been fortunate to bring the hobbies he loves to his various businesses, and vice versa. He calls himself a “boat guy,” saying, “there’s just something about a powerful boat that I love.” He’s a racer and hot rodder at heart too, having grown up in the San Gabriel Valley, Southern California’s hotbed for rodding and drag racing. Through his connection with Beard Racing Seats he fell in love with off-road racing and competed in the desert, even winning the Parker 400 in a JeepSpeed car.