OLPRO MD's review of the year so far
To say that 2020 has been an unusual year is probably a pretty big understatement. It was a bad year for camping at the start when the sun was shining and we couldn’t go further than our gardens, but we made the most of it, and then when we could get out the rain and the wind came. It has been tougher to getin at campsites with limited spaces, and ‘getting away’ has a different feel to it. Campsites throughout July, August and September sold out andare now taking bookings for next year. Next year will be just as busy.
As a brand it’s been up and down too – because we have done so well with so many people now owning OLPRO products, but at the same time we know we have not been able to supply everyone who wants one of our tents, campervan awnings, melamine sets, windbreaks or anything else we make – and we know we have not been able to respond to every email and message in the time frame we would like because it has been so busy.
2020, our ninth year as a brand, has been pivotal for OLPRO. OLPRO is now available in more countries than ever before, with a wider range of products than ever before and a bigger team at OLPRO HQ than ever before, but we have struggled to cope with the capacity we’ve had given the concentration of demand in such a short space of time. Where usually product queries, questions on stock and messages from people who own our products would come through across 6 or 7 months, in 2020 it came over 2 months, meaning we have not been able to be as quick to respond to people’s questions. The products people have wanted have sold so quickly and, even though we’ve built a superb combination of ways in which people can talk to us, we’ve been slower than we’d ever want to be. It’s been a clear combination of the growth in demand and the concentration of demand into a shorter period.
Next year we are ten years old.
We are one of the very few home-grown camping brands – designed in the UK by people who camp like you – and have done so for many, many years. We do not supply through lots of camping shops as we want to save you money by selling to you direct, or through one of our very select retailers, where we pass on our margin to them - so you are still paying lower for quality.
Our growth has been down to people championing the brand and the things we do that are different, and there is always a fear when you have not been able to answer questions or be there to support people - that you lose a few people who may also become advocates for what we are trying to do for camping.
We are, though, resolving this with even more people joining the team – we will be doubling the number of people within the entire company in time for next year and introducing ways to make it even easier to keep in touch. Like we do every year we have listened and we learn.
And even though many of the issues around communication and stock are down to just what has been an unusual year. we will be ready and able to provide the best possible support next year – with an expanded range of products and lots going on to celebrate 10 years.
Finally, some of the photographs we’ve been sent have been amazing – usually of our tents and awnings stood firm in the wind while trees are bent double in the background, or chairs fly through the air like a scene from the Wizard of Oz.
Joking aside we know we have got good customers and we know OLPRO campers are sensible people who only camp when it’s safe and when it gets too much, they go home. Keep an eye on the weather – it has been a tempestuous August and if it looks bad, camp another day.
Thank you for a great season. To be ready for 2021 we have more stock arriving over the next three months so keep an eye out for that and we'll be revealing our new range for next year in October.
- Daniel Walton, Managing Director of OLPRO
- Jack Barnett