Pop-up Camper Businesses – A Tour de Force by Megan McAuliffe
The pop-up shop has emerged as an example of creativity and innovation. We welcome a brilliant guest article from blogger, journalist and writer Megan McAullife, who tells us about the amazing ways the phenomenon is developing.
It has been said that creativity thrives during tough times, so while the bucks are down we start to think outside of the box to find unique ways to do business. One such clever idea is the pop-up camper business, proving that if it’s a great idea with a positive force, you can take your business anywhere.
You don’t have to go far in London to see that street-food market culture is alive and bursting at the seams. And, in amongst that vibrant culture another concept has come to life – the pop-up street food camper! Take that creative concept one step further and apply it to any type of business, be it hairdressing or DJ-ing, and you can potentially take your entire life on the road.
Check out these inspirational businesses which people have set up from their VW bus.
Music bar by night
If you are musically-minded then the mobile music bus might be a great way to visit the festivals of Europe during the summer months. The Funky Dub Bar is a business set up in a classic 1979 T2 VW van. By night it’s a live music venue serving drinks to revellers and by day it’s just an ordinary Kombi bus.
According to owner Andy Pearson, it did take a lot of work to convert the classic campervan into a workable music venue. He has converted it in such a way that when the bar is set up, he can sleep in an awning which is attached. And when he’s finished working at a venue, he can pack it all away to use as a standard VW campervan. Now that’s creating the perfect work/life balance!
The classic ice cream van
Most people when they hear the musical chimes of an ice cream van are flooded with childhood memories and nostalgia. The ice cream van is still synonymous with most seaside towns and cities. However, having award-winning status is not something most of these businesses can boast about, which is what vintage VW campervan business The Split Screen Ice Cream Company has. The company won ‘The British Street Food Awards for Best Looking Mobiler in the UK’ in 2012.
There is nothing artificial about this ice cream experience, as Volkswagen made only a limited number of the high-top VW ‘Splittie’ vans, produced with the vendor in mind. As far as they know, ‘she’s’ the only one in existence in the UK. And, the ice cream is sourced from a local farm, and every single ingredient is either organic or from a trusted supplier.
Bob’s catch of the day
London’s Borough Market is a delightful experience for the gastronomically minded, and Bob’s Lobster is a favourite gourmet attraction. The pop-up culinary van serves up tasty lobster rolls from a glossy red and white ’57 Splitscreen VW bus, by proper gentleman dressed in shirts and bow ties.
The enticing smells are not the only crowd-puller, part of the attraction is the beautifully restored VW campervan. The bus has had a total fit-out, converted in to a kitchen with a hinge-up roof. Waiters pop out from the roof and a serving table has been fitted to the side of the van, which can be folded away at the end of a day’s trading.
Bob prefers to spend the colder months at home, so you will only see him basking in all his glory come summer. It’s worth nothing that VW buses are prone to rust, so packing up in the winter months and storing the camper will save on high maintenance costs down the road.
Got a licence for that?
In the past, street trading without a licence has been mostly overlooked, however the more popular it becomes the more the laws are tightened. You will probably need to obtain a temporary licence to trade wherever you travel, so be prepared and map out your adventure before you leave – obtaining a licence on the spot might prove difficult.
Map your adventure
An interactive app called ‘Smileage’ has been developed by Google and Volkswagen to make travelling easier. It’s a trip journal, which helps travellers get from the northern tip of Norway to the heel of Italy’s boot without being hit by any nasty snags along the way.
Fancy taking a business trip?
The great thing about the campervan business is that the Kombi seems to have created such a presence for itself, each one having its own unique personality and story to tell. It’s the reason these businesses do so well.
It pays to do your homework before setting up your new lifestyle. And being well-versed in your chosen profession will be crucial to the business’ success. Think about where your talent’s lie and what you can offer the world out there. Get creative and have fun with it, standing out from the crowd will work in your favour.
The internet has taken us further than we could ever imagine, but nothing beats hitting the road and getting stuck in the real world. What better way to experience sustainable living? By mobilising your talents you can see the world, make new friends and be an inspiration to the rest of us who are chained to the office desk five days a week.
Megan McAuliffe is a writer, journalist and blogger writing for sustainable and ethical business’ on issues relating to community, culture and lifestyle. You can find her on Twitter @MeganEditorial
Darren Hoad B.A (Hons.), M.A. M. Phil.
IEMA Certified Sustainability Practitioner CSR-P
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