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30 Gifts for Garden Centres April/May 2012 Story of a product: VW Campervan tent

Campervan tent is stroke of genius

Every so often someone comes up with an idea that is pure genius and Martin Grix felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up when he dreamt up the VW Campervan tent. After more than two years in

production the design was finally approved by VW and hit the market last Summer before winning major awards including the prestigious Judges’ Choice at the recent Gift of the Year competition. The iconic Campervan appeals to

comes complete with the option of personalised number plates. Immediately it

struck a chord with customers and Martin spotted an opportunity to revolutionise the world of ‘canvas’. “We have turned the world of tents on its head. If you look at the industry, tents are all the same sort of shape with the same features. We have introduced innovation while still incorporating good quality products and full waterproofing.” Additional ideas include The

Dog House (below) and also the very latest Tube Train (above) which is being made to order and is designed to be a full size party tent at £2,000. Martin said the train design attracted huge attention at the recent Spring Fair.

all, recalling the hippy years of the 1960’s right up to the trendy surfer image of today. And there’s no doubt it looks nothing like a traditional tent – which is exactly what Martin (centre above) at The Monster Factory wanted to achieve. He was camping

with a girlfriend in Woolacombe when the brainwave came to him. He said: “We were using a £40 tent that was supposed to sleep four and I thought, ‘this is a joke’. It was miserable and as I looked out at all the other miserable tents on the campsite I saw a VW Campervan parked and just thought it was a beautiful thing to look at.” The idea was hatched but it took

a great deal of persistence to get the design right and then approved by VW. Time and time again the drawings were sent back to ensure all the measurements and features were correct. ‘Hubcaps’ were changed, an aerial removed and eventually the original 1965 vehicle was turned into a fully waterproof and wind tested tent designed to sleep four. The tent retails at £299, can be assembled in 10-15 minutes and

What the judges said:

It’s all a far cry from the cottage

industry he originally set up making handmade cards. Again Martin came up with the ideas and worked with a group of talented designers continually updating and expanding the range. He quickly developed a passion

for the gift industry and expanded his range before hitting on the idea for the Campervan tent and expanding his business yet again. * As well as winning the Judges’

Choice award at the Gift of the Year competition, the tent also took the top award in the Outdoor Living category. The Monster Factory wins a free stand at Autumn Fair for being the Judges favourite across all winning products.

Cathie Broster of The Chestnut Pavilion: “I am thinking of using the VW Campervan tent as an annexe to my shop – it would certainly bring in the customers!”

Dick Mawdsley of Utility: “It’s genius. We will definitely be ordering it. Once it hits Spring it will be massive.”

Tina Botterill: “It’s so different. I love it.”

‘...I saw a VW Campervan

parked and just

thought it was a beautiful thing to look at...’

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