I can’t quite believe it...we’re celebrating 15 years in business this month (yes, really that long)!
We’ve come a long way over the years so we wanted to share with you our journey from our humble beginnings to the Kiravans brand you know (and, hopefully, love…???) today.
So, before we start our birthday celebrations and tell you what’s been occurring this year, here’s a little bit of background to Kiravans - from our humble beginnings to what we are proud to have achieved today!
With IT and engineering careers under our belts, my brother Mike and I started our first business together building up a collection of rental vans for folk to explore the Scottish Highlands. We’ve always had a passion for campervans...both proud owners of VW T5’s (not to mention the company T5 which the team can use), so it was the perfect fit for us.
Then….the recession hit :( and out of the embers emerged ‘Kiravans - Installers of Van Windows, Elevating Roofs and Seats'. Business was good, but one thing that struck us was just how difficult it was to source decent campervan conversion parts quickly and easily. And this is where it all started...we decided to embark on a mission to simplify, de-mystify and reduce the cost of building a campervan...and the rest is history!
The pain we experienced back then (trying to find out how to do stuff, how to separate out the decent kit from some of the rubbish on the market, and learning from (poor) experience who provided good customer service) all really defined how we set about building Kiravans.
Fast forward to the last 12 months and boy what a journey we’ve been on, so I thought I’d brighten up your day and tell you 15 things we’ve done this year (in no particular order!).
So, grab a coffee and try your best to imagine the TOTP chart rundown music whilst you read this haha ;-)
Here we go...let the Kiravans top 15 commence!
Topping the Kiravans charts at number 1…
Our all singing all dancing new UK retail website! Rewind to October 2019 and we made the decision to re-platform our online retail shop from Magento to Shopify and it’s the best decision we could've made! With many hours of planning and only 30 days to bring it life, our slick new responsive Shopify website hopefully makes it easy peasy to find and buy what you want. Everything syncs so beautifully such as our product reviews and warehouse stock system, as well as our re:amaze customer support system...this means we have a single inbox for all contact points including live chat, email, Facebook and YouTube. So our website really is as efficient and as ‘real time’ as it possibly can be. There are also great Shopify iphone and Android apps that let us manage our stores on the go, so it has been a godsend whilst we’ve been working remotely.
A new entry at number 2…
Our brand new German retail website. Once we were happy with the new UK website we quickly transferred the old German magento site across to the new platform and it’s really taking off! www.kiravans.de
Another new entry at number 3...
Bonjour La France! As part of our European expansion we have most recently made and launched our new chic new French retail website www.kiravans.fr . To be honest, it’s much the same as the German site but we’ve all been brushing up on our school French vocab recently.
Buy now, pay later, in 3 easy installments. We wanted to make things as easy as possible for you to spend more of your hard earned cash (sorry, after all is said and done, we’re a business!) and what better way than to give you the option to pay over 60 days with 3 equal payments. So, we teamed up with Klarna so you can now spread the cost of your campervan conversion.
Chart entry at number 5…
New direct BACS payments for Germany. A quick and easy way for our German customers to pay using Sofort :) .
Making an entrance at number 6…
A huge welcome to Stuart, Clare and Barry! Stuart is our new Customer Service Manager and has subsequently recruited two new teammates… Barry and Clare. We know you’ll make them all feel very welcome :)
In at number 7…
Blogs, blogs and more blogs… Gone are the days when the only way to talk to a customer was face-to-face in the shop or via a printed press ad. Nowadays we’re finding that writing a blog is so very helpful - we can get across our brand, information about products, and hopefully a bit of our personality too... It’s definitely worth heading over to our website and having a look for yourself.
Moving on up at number 8…
Loads of new van-tastic videos! Mike has starred in and created a whole bunch of
new videos for our online stores, blog and social media channels this year. We have always tried to share information and advice openly on our website, but in the past year we’ve got the hang of making How To Videos - and it just works so well. Writing stuff down is all fine and dandy but the videos seem to be much more engaging and personal. They obviously work for many of you and our ‘How to’ and ‘Product Lifestyle’ videos seem to be getting a silly number of views every month. So, keep your eyes peeled dear camper lovers..we’ve got loads more new videos on the way!
Straight in at number 9…
Taking social by storm! Since Van-uary...sorry I mean January :), we have invested a lot of time and energy into building up and maintaining our social media platforms. Our main aim is to grow our brand presence and attract followers across our social platforms. So far we’ve seen a 153% increase in Instagram followers and 181% increase on Facebook! Not bad going hey! Have to say, we’ve really enjoyed getting to know our way around the social media world.
Our highest new entry at number 10…
New Trade Account Manager! The expansion of our UK trade and retail business has resulted in a well-deserved promotion for our teammate Sarah, who has taken on the challenge of Trade Account Manager. Sarah already has a year and a half experience under her belt with Kiravans, so she’s raring to go with lots of ideas and super excited for the new challenge.
Hanging on in there at number 11…
The ups and downs. The last 6 months have been particularly difficult for us all, but we have weathered the storm in very uncertain times and come out fighting and consider ourselves stronger than ever before! Thankfully for us, our UK retail and trade websites are booming, along with our new look German site and brand spanking new French retail site picking up momentum...it’s all going on here at Kiravans and we don’t intend to slow down any time soon.
And last but by no means least our new chart entries at number 12, 13, 14 and 15…
We have a whole new bunch of recommended products for you in our online stores including:
We have some superb new thermal screens which not only look great, but protect the cabin from excessive sunlight, and are brilliant to insulate and increase security in your campervan. We now stock 2 makes of internal and an external style for the most common van types.
Wiring & Electrical Components
It seemed like there was a gap in the campervan conversion market to supply more appropriate cable lengths and pack sizes for the DIY converter who is working on a single campervan conversion. We wanted to save you the headache of trying to understand all the technical language and only supply the products you actually need for your build.
A puffa jacket for your campervan :) To help you achieve a warm and quiet van interior, you can use this as Step 3 in our 4 Step Van Lining System and it’s proving very, very popular!
Cadac Portable Camping BBQs
Back in April we launched our new collection of innovative and modular BBQs that break boundaries in traditional outdoor cooking! They might be smaller, but they are most certainly mighty in their capabilities and have all the features and benefits you could ever wish for. Watch our Kiravans CADAC BBQ video where Mike shows you our BBQ collection along with product features and general hints and tips…
When I sit here and think about what we have achieved over the last 12 months, it really makes me feel quite proud of the team here, and makes me appreciate how lucky we are to have such a wonderful community behind us.
Myself, Mike and everyone else at Team Kiravans are grateful to everyone who has supported us over the last 15 years and look forward to plenty more to come!