It all started with a conversation between colleagues over a morning coffee in the Purple Line office, in picturesque rural Suffolk, Constable Country. Jonathan Schofield (Sales Director) and Stuart Barrow (Product Design Manager) stumbled upon a stark realization. The issue with making the best accessories in the caravan market is that it doesn't matter how good they are, people without a caravan don't need them.
So in a country with 60 million people and roughly 30 million cars we are designing, innovating and improving for only 500,000 people, caravanners. That is less than 1% of the population, and thanks to the eloquent and opinionated Jeremy Clarkson that number is not on the rise.
And that was the topic of conversation that morning for Jonathan and Stuart.
They decided that they needed a product, a new invention they could offer to anyone with a car, not just a caravan. We are a nation who LOVES our cars. We are a nation who loves OUR cars. Whether you drive Mini Cooper, A Morris Minor or a Ford Fiesta the chances are you love your car. After all, you chose it. Similarly caravan owners love their caravans. These similarities led to a decision to move away from the standard caravan. They thought that a car was in many ways like a caravan, but more appropriate to a generation that regarded them as not cool.
So once that decision had been made, the time to design and innovate was upon them. The first question to be answered was: What was wrong with a caravan?
- The fact that you had to tow them and any caravan worth having would need to be at least 20ft long. That does not make for an easy towing experience.
- When you get inside a caravan they tend not to be the epitome of modern design. They are full of chintz with curtains, wardrobes and low ceilings.
- Even if you find that acceptable for your holiday you are left with a bit of a problem for the rest of the year. You find yourself with an "ugly white shed" which you need to keep in front of your house, on your drive. Either that or pay excessive storage charges elsewhere for the rest of the year.
So the two of them went away and over the next couple of days put together some initial sketches. The sketches shown below are those original sketches, and I think you will agree, they hit the nail on the head straight away.
And that, my friends, was the conception of OPUS.