Local businesswoman and mother of two Claire Page set up Deeside Classic Campers from her Finzean home in April 2014. We caught up with her one year on to find out how she got the business on the road to success and expanded her fleet threefold in just 12 months.
How has the business progressed in its first year?
I started the business in April 2014, so one year. I started with just Hamish (a 1976 Westfalia camper) and by June last year I found I needed a second camper so I went to my supplier and we got Fergus (a 1974 campervan). Each van is unique. I hadn’t intended to buy a second van in year one, but due to high demand I’ve had to change my business plan!
We also launched our wedding camper, Angus, at the Your Wedding Exhibition at the AECC in January this year.
So we started with just one and it just went from strength to strength. Now we’ve got three in the space of a year!
How did the idea for Deeside Classic Campers come about?
I pride myself on good customer service.Claire Page
I had my second daughter in 2010 and I went back to work and thought this is just not for me. I have always wanted to start my own business and we are a very ‘outdoorsy’ family. I have always been passionate about VWs. We had taken out campers in the past as a family and they were dreadful so I thought “I could do this better”. We came up with the idea of doing high end campervans.
What’s the best thing about running your own business?
Being your own boss. I love the interaction with my customers too. The campervans not only go out for holidays but I pride myself on good customer service. That’s not just the campers, it’s selling Scotland as a place to holiday.
I find out what the customers would like to see and do for their holiday and we make a bespoke route for them so each customer is different.
I had one family who came for their holiday and there were five of them and they were so excited each of them turned up in a VW campervan t-shirt.
It’s also good to be able to support local businesses. We use Dee Garage and Kirkton Motors Bodyshop. They have tins of paint there so that if anything happens to the campers they can fix them.
How do you like to relax when you’re not busy with the campers?
My husband has a rally car so we as a family enjoy going rallying. We also enjoy camping but mostly I’m busy with the business.
Is there one particular destination that’s popular with campers?
Aviemore. The number of customers that wanted to go to Aviemore last year! It’s that destination because it’s not too far away and there are great roads to get there. There’s lots to do there such as the wildlife park and the ospreys.
We had a customer who, in Hamish last year, went to Lewis, Harris and Skye in the one weekend and really enjoyed it. Although I would usually recommend about one week to do the islands.
What inspired you to launch the new wedding campervan?
The demand from brides asking for a camper for their wedding was so high and the campers were often out on their holidays so I thought long and hard and decided we needed to provide that service. I employ two chauffeurs. The bride and bridesmaids can travel in the back of the camper.
They can either use the ivory ribbons on the front to match their dress or they can choose to make them the colour of their bridesmaids.
Do you have any plans to expand the business?
Yes, we have a vision to sell VW and Classic Campers merchandise, offer services, and expand the VW hire fleet. There’s also the website which is evolving all the time.