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The Glamping Business: The Campfire Experience
By: Meyling Martinez
Glamping.com had the pleasure of interviewing the owner of The Campfire Experience. Amy had the right idea starting off this pop-up tent glamping company based out of Columbus, Ohio. It proved to be popular in the Midwest and offers guests a child-like adventure and experience rather than simply a rental service. See Amy's answers below to some key questions we had about the company.
Mey: How long have you been in the glamping business?
Amy: This is our inaugural year and we’re really excited by the support we’ve seen so far. I was inspired to start The Campfire Experience by my travels years ago. I saw what was happening in the UK, New Zealand and Australia. Soon after I saw that the west coast and some pockets in the South were catching on to glamping but there were still no options for those creative souls who wanted to have a luxury camping experience here in the Midwest. I knew that there were people just like me here in the Midwest who enjoy adventure and trying new things. So I set out to bring what we believe is a unique luxury experience to our Midwestern adventurers.
Mey: Why did you choose your particular location?
Amy: What’s great about our Campfire Experience is that we do not have any one central location. We’re essentially a luxury pop-up outdoor hotel, roaming from place to place, just as our intrepid campers do. We’ve helped our guests relax on a family farm, glamp at a music festival, and take the Teardrop from state park to state park. We love the variety of locations our adventures take us to.
Mey: What made you decide to offer glamping?
Amy: It began with my love of music festivals and the importance of being a part of the community that camped close to the festival. A big part of my love of music festivals comes from the communities that form in the camps just outside festival grounds. As I got older and had my first child, I didn’t want to give up the feeling of community that I had cherished but had different standards of comfort for myself. That is when I began looking into glamping options for myself. After having trouble finding something that I felt was up to my standard of design and luxury, I decided I would take the leap and provide this service for like-minded free-spirits in the midwest.
Mey: Where do you purchase your glamping supplies?
Amy: We are very thoughtful about the partnerships we establish and look for high quality brands who have effusive fans of their own. We have a wonderful partnership with Tuft & Needle and feature their queen T&N mattresses. We love Fab Habitat for their recycled plastic rugs which are used in all of our tents, both lounge tent and bedroom accommodations. We create custom pieces as well. Our side tables are refinished oak stumps salvaged from farm partners. We also work with a local outfitters, Cliftonville Outfitters, in our home city to provide our guests with certain amenities for their adventures.
Mey: Of all your accommodations, do your guests have a favorite?
Amy: Our guests love our teardrop camper made by Little Guy in northern Ohio for it’s iconic style and focus on good design. Our thoughtful and luxurious touches have made it a popular choice for our guests.
Mey: Which activities do guests enjoy most when visiting your property?
Amy: Most of our guests enjoy hiking, canoeing, exploring the outdoors during the days, maybe a beer in the afternoon, and some s’mores and conversation around the campfire at night.
Mey: What is your target demographic?
Amy: Our target demographic is the young at heart and free in spirit. We’ve seen that they’re mostly millennials with either no kids or very young families, or boomers with grown children who are ready to take on the next phase in their lives.
Mey: Were there any hurdles you had to overcome when starting your business?
Amy: When you begin a business you wear many hats so there’s so much to learn. Our strength and expertise is in creating magical, intimate, unique experiences for our guests. In our short time we’ve quickly learned that we’re not in the rental business, we’re in the experience business.
Mey: Do you have plans to expand?
Amy: A friend once told me “strong wood grows slowly” and that has stayed with me. We’ve already felt a lot of momentum as customers have started sharing our story. And while we are growing as we gain support, we plan to grow intentionally and in a meaningful way.
Mey: What is the biggest lesson you have learned while being in the business?
Amy: I am inspired and humbled by the community we have here in Columbus, Ohio. As I started putting myself and this business out there, so many people felt a connection and kinship in what we are trying to create. There is a strong sense of community here and both business owners and customers alike have welcomed us in a truly inspiring way. Being bold and taking the leap to launch this business here in Columbus has shown me that there are genuine people who want to see you succeed and want to be a part of something meaningful. There is a desire for all of us to be kids again, a desire to ignite an innocent wonder and awe about the world around us. And we hear our guests tell us that we are helping to enable more childlike adventuring. We wondered if people would get it. And they have. This experience has shown me that if you take risks, put yourself out there, and it all comes from an honest place, good will come from it.