Carapods, a Beverley-based business established by cousins Leigh Hardy and James Spooner, is looking to change the future of the traditional caravan with a new concept in teardrop caravan design and manufacture.
Supported by East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Business Services Team, Leigh and James made the move into self-employment about a year ago and have already started to expand their fledgling business, moving to new premises on Beverley Business Park and touring trade shows across the country.
Small and medium sized enterprises, like Carapods, are essential to the lifeblood of the East Riding economy, with more than 12,500 operating in the area, providing jobs and generating wealth.
Following a recommendation from a neighbouring business, Leigh and James made contact with the East Riding Business Centre, In Annie Reed Road, Beverley, and have undertaken a range of courses offered, including a Chartered Institute of Marketing seminar in how to write a marketing plan, and workshops looking at marketing and selling, financial forecasting and business planning.
They also have the day-to-day support of enterprise coach Darren Roberts and say his advice and guidance has been essential to their business start up.
Leigh said: “It’s good having Darren as that first point of contact by email, over the phone or in person when he visits the business. He keeps us on track, making sure we are prepared for trade shows and is always encouraging us to consider what to do next, such as advertising and promoting the business.”
Each Carapod is bespoke to the customer’s specifications and includes a galvanised chassis and an interior that promotes a modern yet compact design, which can also be individually customised and coloured.
Most of the materials used by Carapods are sourced locally with components also assembled in East Yorkshire.
James said: “Our ethos is to keep things local. The aluminium, which is the main core of the pod itself, comes from Hull, the CNC, the process of cutting out the side panels and furniture using a larger computersied router, is done in Wawne, our wood supplier is from Hull and the painting and upholstering are done here in Beverley.”
Leigh and James are now looking to the future and, as well as increasing their number of orders, are considering the possibility of taking on further staff in order to concentrate time on developing new designs.
Councillor Jane Evison, cabinet portfolio holder for economy, investment and inequalities at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, visited Carapods and was impressed by how far the company had come in just one year.
She said: “The council takes its role as a driver of economic growth very seriously and, through its business services team, provides practical support and guidance to help future entrepreneurs develop their business ideas and get them off the ground.
“As this week is Humber Business Week, the world’s largest festival of business, it seems fitting to share a local success story and encourage more people to consider running their own business.
“Carapods is a fantastic example of a start up business and Leigh and James have done remarkably well over the past 12 months with support from Darren.
“Their product is innovative and they have plans in place to grow and develop their business going forward. It is also pleasing to see that they use local material and local labour, wherever possible, which helps support a thriving local economy.”
For further information about the range of business services offered by the council, visit www.eastriding.gov.uk/business or contact your local business centre.
For more information about Carapods, visit www.carapods.com