Studio Vans Ltd by Christina Riley

A WESTERN Isles based campervan conversion business has successfully launched after receiving a variety of expert advice during lockdown from Business Gateway. 

Founded in June 2020 by chartered engineer, Rob Hall, Studio Vans Ltd make innovative, ready to go fit outs for campervan conversions. By collaborating with local and international makers and designers, Studio Vans offer a customisable service taking advantage of sustainable and premium crafted materials.  

Rob and his team first engaged with Business Gateway following a recommendation from another local business.   He was able to secure vital funding through the Outer Hebrides Young Entrepreneurs Start-up scheme and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) Grants for Growth Scheme. This enabled the business to buy key manufacturing products and contributed to the fitout costs required to help get the business launched at their location in Balivanich, which is a unit leased from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).  As Business Gateway and HIE work closely together to support businesses to develop, they were both able to collaborate with Rob and support him with his application to lease the property.   

Business Gateway also facilitated a number of introductions and networking opportunities and Rob has continued to receive a variety of support including advice on premises, company regulations and marketing. He has also been successful in securing funding through Highlands and Islands Enterprise, including a grant through the HIE Innovation programme. 

Studio Vans has now introduced a waiting list to cope with demand from across the UK and has already confirmed partners to take operations overseas to Australia and New Zealand. Ongoing collaborations include Glasgow based designer Still Life Workshop, remoulding far-flung ocean plastic collected from the beautiful Uist beaches into innovative products for van fitouts.  

Rob Hall, Founder of Studio Vans Ltd, said, “As we were relatively new to the island, engaging with Business Gateway was crucial in making new business connections through individual introductions, local events and virtual meetings across the country.  

“As a direct result of Business Gateway introducing us to others, we have benefited greatly from local knowledge and culture that has helped us shape the direction and philosophies of the business during these early stages. Additionally, the practical business support on funding, business plans and company regulations has been a huge help during the initial start-up period.” 

Alastair Macleod, Business Adviser at Business Gateway, said, “Thanks to the key connections made through our introductions and the specialist start-up services we provided, Rob and his team were more than prepared when it came to launch the business in June. More specifically, by engaging with our DigitalBoost initiative, it has helped Studio Vans to develop their digital voice, through the creation of engaging social media content, which has been highly successful when it came to promoting the company. 

“The recent expansion plans and the increase in customer traffic is testament to the ongoing hard work and dedication from everyone at Studio Vans. The future is looking very bright for Rob and his team and I’m excited to hear more about their up and coming endeavours.”