Based in Ollerton, Nottinghamshire, husband and wife team Nicola and Patrick Marshall first dreamt up their business idea after returning to the UK from their backpacking adventure honeymoon in 2008. The newlyweds had spent a great deal of their travels moving around Australia and New Zealand in a dilapidated campervan that they had customised with a multi-coloured jellybean design, something which drew many compliments and fans along their route! Such was their love of the travelling life, and of Jethro the Jellybean campervan, that on their return to the UK Nicola and Patrick began to research a campervan hire business.
Can you tell us more about the idea behind your business?
“After returning from our year-long backpacking honeymoon…we realised that there were (at that time 2008) no branded campervan rental companies on the market and none with a funky design. After seeing the response that our van had in Australia we decided to start a rental company at home and call it ‘Jellybean Campers’” but things didn’t happen overnight.
“After discovering we had twins on the way and a recession had just hit, it wasn’t until June 2013 that we opened our doors to the paying public”
What are your backgrounds and how did they motivate you to set up Jellybean Campers?
Patrick has a degree in business management and worked as a contractor in project management and infrastructure project management. This is a job that Patrick continues to do to support Jellybean Campers. I (Nicola) have worked extensively in customer facing roles, teaching NVQ L3 Pitman Business Administration/ Customer Services and Sales. I moved into teaching later in life and qualified in 2005 BA Hon with Qualified Teacher Status. We have both travelled extensively and have lived in campervans, as well as had holidays and holidays with children in campervans too. We have a sound knowledge and understanding of travel in order to service our customers and their needs.
What has the impact of NBV been?
We had reached a point in the business where we had become a little stuck and needed support to get us to the next point but, as a small business, we didn’t have the resources or the funding to get us there. NBV offered us free support from people that had either been there themselves or who had a good understanding of business and how to reach the next stage.
[Our Business Advisor] Kevin, gave us the much needed time to help us organise our thoughts and strategies to develop the business further. Our first hurdle is to get the funding that we need. Kevin has been able to verify which area we should apply for, which has given us hope that we can achieve our goals.”
Challenges and plans for the future
We are currently looking to achieve a grant funded loan to support our growth through a comprehensive marketing strategy. We aim to grow the company over the coming years in a staged approach. Our ambitions include – in no particular order – increase our own fleet, a try before you buy strategy, franchising the business and growing the company beyond the UK.
Although working so closely together is not without its frictions, we have enjoyed turning our honeymoon dream into a fun and appealing social company.
Visit Jellybean Campers at www.jellybeancampers.co.uk
Would you like to follow in Patrick and Nicola’s footsteps? Contact us today to find out how NBV can help your business: 0844 887 2568* or register here. If you would like to apply for the Grant For Enterprise, contact NBV on: 0844 887 2568* or visit: www.nbv.co.uk/growing-a-business/grant-for-enterprise/
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