Running Our Own Glamping Business : The Highs and Lows

Once we’d come up with ‘The Best Campervan Awning Ever’, we then needed to set about imparting the joy of the glawning to others and actually making it into the business we believed it could be. This involved a lot of hard work and fun, in equal measure. With his own bare hands my husband designed our website using Adobe Muse by watching hours of online tutorials to teach himself web design.  Meanwhile I set up all the social media known to man to plug our products.  The joy (and curse) of the smart phone means I can blend every tweet/facebook/instagram/pin/like/retweet/blog into everyday life, often doing so as I walk to and from my other job, narrowly avoiding being run over a few times.

We attended as many VW festivals and shows as physically possible, up and down the country to show off and sell our glawnings, stoves and coir matting, meeting lots of avid campervan fans along the way, not to mention lots of lovely kids and cute dogs.  There aren’t many occupations where you get to drink on the job (definitely one of the highs).

It extends the camping season so much that when we’re not showing and telling we’ve been able to go away ourselves even in the dead of winter and still be all toasty in the glawning – all in the name of ‘market research’ of course.  We’ve even had a Christmas glawning party in the back garden! It’s a standalone tent / driveaway awning so it doesn’t need the canopy and campervan to work.

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It hasn’t all been a walk in the park.  We’ve had our setbacks and we’ve learned first hand what a steep learning curve it is to set up your own business.  When we started out we were storing all of our stock in our living room.  It wasn’t a lot of fun wading knee deep through glawnings 24/7.  We didn’t have a trailer so every time we went to a show we’d pile about eight glawnings and stoves into the back of the van, drive for hours and then have to decant any that we didn’t sell back into the house.  We’ve had major production delays, we’ve had horrendous weather at shows, we’ve had van breakdowns, we have round the clock enquiries to respond to, and much more.  All this whilst still having day jobs and running Retro Runaways VW campervan hire.  At times it was NOT pretty.   But as time moved on and the business evolved we got ourselves a little trailer and we now have a lock up near our house to store all the paraphernalia…such luxuries.  We’ve also just sold Retro Runaways VW campervan hire so that we can channel more of our energies into glawning world domination.

We have had hundreds of chats and lots of feedback from our wonderfully supportive customers and potential customers which has led to us change supplier this year and make some improvements to the glawning in the form of a darker sandy colour of canvas, zipped in luxury ground sheet, luminous guy ropes, heavy duty stakes and pegs, zipped on canopy, and more, not to mention bringing back the highly demanded 5m version.

Here is our new glawning2016:

It has all been quite the adventure but the best bit is seeing our customers enjoying the product we created. There is already a superb community of glawning owners out there, growing daily, whose support, kind words (and photos*!) we are indebted to.  One day, we’re all going to meet up for a festival of our own, I promise.  In the meantime, glawning owner or not, if you find yourself at a show where we’re exhibiting please come and see us.  You’ll receive a very warm welcome.

This is where I’ll be:


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*Photos of our customers doing us proud (thank you):

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