The First Female RV Company CEO on Bringing Ultra Luxury to Land Travel

The First Female RV Company CEO on Bringing Ultra Luxury to Land Travel


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In this ongoing series, we’re sharing recommendation, ideas and insights from real entrepreneurs who’re on the market doing business battle on a every day foundation. (Answers have been edited and condensed for readability.)

 

Who are you, and what’s your enterprise?

I’m Geneva Long, founder and CEO of Bowlus. We’re an ultra-luxury RV firm that includes trendy and exterior design with artwork deco roots from the Nineteen Thirties. We reinvented the strategy to luxurious RVs to make them extra in-line with the yacht {industry} — so far as and high quality of supplies — than with the normal RV {industry}. All of our merchandise are handcrafted, and we additionally produce bespoke fashions, as well as to having a strong customization program.

 

What impressed you to create this product?  

My first connection to the Bowlus occurred roughly a decade in the past when my household restored a classic Bowlus Road Chief and took it on a 3,000-mile North American highway journey. We stopped at Palm Springs’ Modernism Week in , in addition to South by Southwest in Texas, and I used to be struck by the particular response from everybody who noticed the classic Bowlus. Since I used to be finding out enterprise on the time, I used to be in an entrepreneurial mindset, and upon seeing folks’s reactions I believed: “Could this be a new company?” I began to get the concept that luxurious land travel might be a brand new phase of the RV {industry}. From there, we prototyped the fashionable Bowlus, updating it to one thing that has a classic look however with trendy know-how. It had by no means been finished earlier than within the RV {industry}.

 

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What recommendation would you give entrepreneurs in search of funding?

Make the enterprise what you need. I needed to preserve the corporate pure and didn’t need any exterior influences taking away from one thing I knew was particular. For instance, if we had accepted exterior funding, we’d’ve had to observe the normal product cycle of the RV {industry}, which isn’t what we needed to do. We needed to add innovation as new know-how surfaced and never on a preconceived calendar schedule. Also, we needed to have private relationships with our prospects, and if we had accepted funding, we’d’ve had to go the best way of different RV {industry} manufacturers that don’t work inside the luxurious {industry} and subsequently don’t have the non-public reference to their prospects. We might haven’t been in a position to have bespoke fashions the best way we do, too. So, don’t be afraid to construct a prototype in your personal storage or begin your marketing strategy on your personal, with out exterior affect.

 

What has been your largest problem throughout the pandemic, and the way did you pivot to overcome it?

Bowlus is an organization that historically has had in-person conferences to make designs on customized tasks. Our largest problem this yr was that we couldn’t settle for in-person appointments. Luckily, we’d spent 9 years growing a digital expertise for individuals who couldn’t make the journey to our headquarters in California, however nonetheless needed to place orders and focus on customization choices. So we had that remote-ordering choice in place already. Also, we had to preserve our workers protected, so even individuals who needed to are available couldn’t — it was the primary time we had to shut our doorways to prospects for in-person appointments. We had been very fortunate to have had the foresight to develop a number of channels for working with prospects.

 

I consider the normal RV mannequin of gross sales had an much more difficult yr as a result of that mannequin relies on instant-gratification — the place folks come right into a showroom to purchase immediately, to go on a visit subsequent week. My recommendation is to be versatile with how you’re employed with prospects, so you aren’t caught in a single mode. That method you’ll be able to simply pivot to discover options. 

 

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Where do you see this firm in a yr? In 5 years?

The aim of Bowlus is to all the time innovate. The firm desires to keep its place within the luxurious land journey phase, and to try this, we’ve to keep present on what the {industry} is providing but additionally what prospects demand in luxurious merchandise. Since we work thus far upfront, I’m excited to know that we’re launching new merchandise upfront, which can embrace extra industry-firsts. In 5 years, I hope to be persevering with to lead the RV {industry} with improvements that talk to the best way the luxurious land vacationers like to journey. 

 

What does the phrase “entrepreneur” imply to you?

The phrase “entrepreneur” to me means creating a bit of an {industry}, or defining a brand new {industry} with new concepts. It’s about transferring ahead with new concepts. We believed there was a marketplace for luxurious RVs, however that class didn’t exist but. And we believed a nostalgic product might be enhanced with new know-how that will fulfill luxurious prospects, by giving them the know-how they need in all features of their lives.

 

Describe your organization and the way you helped form it.

The tradition at Bowlus is significantly formed by people who find themselves attracted to the outside and who’re pushed and prideful of delivering a superior product to their prospects. Bowlus creates hand-built luxurious merchandise, so the workers is extraordinarily various in job description, starting from salespeople to artisans and craftsmen. But the widespread denominator we’ve discovered between everybody appears to be that our staff are people who find themselves attracted to journey and the outside life-style.

 

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Is there a selected quote or saying that you simply use as private motivation? Explain the way it evokes you.

“There is nothing so American as our national parks.” This is a superb quote from President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who’s intently related to our National Parks and who expanded the National Park Service. It’s additionally a becoming quote as a result of it’s from 1934, proper across the time the primary Bowlus traveler trailers had been starting to traverse the nation, creating outside experiences and reminiscences for a brand new era of Americans — which is what we’ve hopefully finished with the re-imagining of the Bowlus model for the 21st century.

 

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