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Old 06-11-2015, 12:22 PM   #521
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Name: JD
Trailer: Scamp 16 Modified (BIGLY)
Florida
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It is a cute trailer, but I wonder if the additional $5K would reduce the number of buyers significantly.
If it were less than 2000 lbs ready to camp perhaps, but I am not equipped to judge because I am firmly in the I can afford to fix one up, but not buy new category. Perhaps is is my aversion to borrowing money to play?
The problem with many eggs campers with the frame cracking on the right kink where the frame bends towards the hitch is the cutout for the door and the flexibility there concentrating the stress on the other side. Many do not realize the damage and the cracking of the tubing on the door side where the frame reconnects to the tube under the door entrance.
Your design with the rear door eliminates that problem.
The other main problem is the loosening of the rivets that hold the various bits together and the window leaks. This shows up as rotten places in the floors and mildew.
A composite floor with no wood and interior bonded in place reduces the modify ability, but would make it more monolithic and sturdier. There is no reason the frame and the shell cannot complement each other in adding stiffness. I have attempted to do this on my rebuild of the 16' Scamp.
As to the air conditioning I feel that this is a must have item and it needs to be well thought out. Perhaps not important in Oregon, but in the South it is a no go item!
I chose to build in the mini-split heat pump unit and place the inside part high in the ceiling.

The condenser could perhaps be built into the shell. Of course the use of a window unit would be less money as well.
I like your ideas, but too high of an entry price limits the exposure. For that matter a a new Scamp or Casita is out of my league and is not optomized for my use either.

Best of luck with your endeavors!
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Old 06-11-2015, 08:35 PM   #522
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
California
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You don't have a cost issue you have an image issue. People buy Air-streams for the image of wealth. If they raise the price $5000 people will still buy them. People buy new Casita's because their friends have one. People buy Scamps for the same reason. All these have long lasting reputations. You are new, no one knows you, your marketing sucks. You need marketing work really bad. Have you considered writing some articles and submitting them to the trade magazines, and senior living magazines. People have to see the value before they will commit to buying them. How many rallies have you committed to. You need 3 more trailers to loan to travelers for a year or so to hit the summer rally circuit. North, south, east and west. After that pull them back in clean them up and sell them off used. Establishing not only new price but resale value. Making a brand is very expensive. Get that trailer out, get some pictures in amazing places. Places where money resides. Sturges, the balloon festival in New Mexico, the Indy 500, our national parks, even Quartzsite in the spring. At the high end your customers need to see you as successful to be successful.
Wish you the best of luck in your adventure.
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Old 06-11-2015, 08:45 PM   #523
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Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
Oregon
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I think Steve has some great ideas. When Reace&Tammy first started Escape Trailer Industries they made it a point to go to the Oregon Gathering for the first 6-7 years. Yes, it seems like every year for the past several years they were bringing a new model to show off, but it paid off! I remember the very first 5er off the line. Those first owners toured the USA and posted where they were going to be if anyone was interested in a tour! I was, I did and I was hooked. Nothing absolutely nothing beats the see and sit test. No matter how glossy the brochure or fantastic the website, folks who are spending money on an asset need to SEE it to decide for themselves if it's the right decision. Once you build a reputation for a quality build you could then build different models and folks will buy site unseen based on the reputation. It's working for Escape, it can work for you as well Robert.

Best of luck!
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Old 06-11-2015, 09:58 PM   #524
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Arizona
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[QUOTE=Robert Johans;528381]So while I'm here, let me post an update:

Since the completion of our prototype and the launch of our initial and modest PR efforts, we have had lots of interest, but no buyers yet.

By a huge amount, the cost of the shell body is our largest expense. Though the "frameless" monocoque building methodology reduces weight, it adds significant costs ($5K) to the production. We initially thought that this construction would add long-term value to the trailer. But now we're wondering if that's important to folks.

I've been very open to your comments throughout this entire process. So I invite you all to weigh in here with your opinions regarding the "frame vs no frame" conversation.

Thanks.

I like the concept of no frame, but how much weight does it save over having a frame? I think a time will tell approach is what people are waiting for. Our Lil Snoozy is built using the same building methodology, but it is mounted to a boat trailer frame. This makes for a very strong self supporting body, but heavier than the thin hand laid fiberglass models. Lil Snoozy found early on that they had to make the floor thicker after finding that in the real world (camping use) the floor developed cracks. I would hate to be the one to discover this happening on a frameless trailer.
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Old 06-12-2015, 01:33 AM   #525
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Donna & Dave, both exlnt posts. We did stop by the Oliver trailers at the Q rally 2 years ago to see them for ourselves after reading about them. Pictures are nice but putting an eyeball on something and getting the feel in person has to be first hand. As a possible customer living on the west coast, I wouldn't travel 3000 miles to see an Oliver at the factory. That's where the rallies make such an impact on new models/layouts or brands you haven't seen in person. I was able to see Dave's Lil Snoozy last year at the Q rally. Because of that viewing, I wouldn't have a problem ordering one from 3000 miles away. Call it marketing and it cost $ but we are in a very small market in the RV world.
Just as an example to first hand experience. Had a brother-in-law that just had to have this new sports car that just came out. He did all the reading up on it and was drooling to buy it. He found out when he went to the dealer that he couldn't get in the drivers seat because of the steering wheel and seat location.
You have a beautiful trailer and I'm really glad you've ask and done some of the things that we molded trailer owners have commented on to fine tune the end product. Get three or four out to the rallies around the country and watch the good results you get.
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Old 06-12-2015, 08:33 AM   #526
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Oregon
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Check out current edition of Gizmag!

Nest Caravan delivers a monocoque-built glamping adventure
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Old 06-12-2015, 08:39 AM   #527
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Thanks all for your wonderful feedback. Unfortunately, with so much spent on R&D, the initial marketing efforts have been admittedly weak. We are working on that now.
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Old 06-12-2015, 08:56 AM   #528
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Florida
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Bed

Robert,

I recall that the original design was not a permanent front bed but a sitting area convertible to a queen bed. Is that still optional?
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Old 06-12-2015, 02:05 PM   #529
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Oregon
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Hello Norm,

In reply to your specific questions:

To reduce a significant amount of production costs, I would have to revert to old school FG — either chopper gun or hand lay-up. In either case, the "innovation" behind the monocoque design gets tossed. (Does anybody care?)

Because most people asked for it, it's always been our intention to make the "full-time" queen-size bed the standard set-up. The more traditional bench/table-to-bed conversion always an option.
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Old 06-12-2015, 02:24 PM   #530
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Name: Darral
Trailer: Scamp Standard 13' 2010
Tennessee
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Personally....just jumping in... would you not be better off with an aluminum frame and forget the other $5k? Still a strong but light frame (OLIVER?) but one that wont rust and corrode. I wouldnt pay $5K more for that design if I could find the EXACT camper (just being theoretical here) with the alum. frame. Probably too late now...but maybe some pre-costing could have helped here?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Johans View Post
So while I'm here, let me post an update:

Since the completion of our prototype and the launch of our initial and modest PR efforts, we have had lots of interest, but no buyers yet.

By a huge amount, the cost of the shell body is our largest expense. Though the "frameless" monocoque building methodology reduces weight, it adds significant costs ($5K) to the production. We initially thought that this construction would add long-term value to the trailer. But now we're wondering if that's important to folks.

I've been very open to your comments throughout this entire process. So I invite you all to weigh in here with your opinions regarding the "frame vs no frame" conversation.

Thanks.

Thanks.
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Old 06-12-2015, 04:34 PM   #531
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Name: Steve
Trailer: Scamp 13
California
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In my opinion,

Your cost Issue isn't a materials issue its an uncontrolled labor issue caused by your outside contracted services. Whether its on a frame or not at this point isn't a cost issue. You probably have less material cost in your new process for making a tow-able shell. Unless you went to epoxy's then you probably have a $500 uptick there. Problem is material waste not used in the finish product and aircraft labor rates to produce the shell. Until you get labor under your own roof this will continue to be a problem. It takes you 2 hours to produce the shell but 2 days to set up for it and a whole lot of expensive trash to prove you did a good job. I may be wrong on this, but this is what I see from a manufacturing stand point. We sell fiberglass reinforcement into the pipeline industry its a hard sell to move aircraft technology to pipeline mechanics let alone aircraft technology to a hard sided tent trailer mindset. For your survival marketing is the key and targeted goals need to be tightly aimed at the right people.
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Old 06-13-2015, 07:29 AM   #532
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The initial rationale for employing the more modern (and expensive) vacuum-infusion process was to build a better product. The FG-to-resin ratio for infusion is 65% FG/35%resin. Old school chopper gun is the converse: 35%FG/65%resin — delivering a measurably weaker, more brittle end result.

We're also trying to deliver some innovation to the industry. The "frameless" construction methodology is one of those concepts.

But all this comes at a price. And perhaps is completely unimportant to most folks.
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Old 06-13-2015, 07:46 AM   #533
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So are you saying that with your process the walls are stronger than conventional f/g units.?
When drilling through your walls there is less ragged tears due to less brittleness? Interesting build. I would assume your units would be more practical to those near the ocean and exposed to salt water, no frame to rust. Plus with cleaner holes, less chances for leaks caused by poor sealants.A lot of positive results to your process.
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Old 06-13-2015, 08:12 AM   #534
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Name: Pat
Trailer: 2011 Escape 15a
Minnesota
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I have a contractor friend who is retired now. He would build one - two high quality homes each year. He would use plywood instead of OSB, 50 year shingles instead of the cheap ones, Anderson Window.... Etc. I asked why he didn't build more and his response was something like this... Most people are not willing to pay for quality, they just want the house to look nice.

Innovation and quality comes at a price!
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Old 06-13-2015, 08:12 AM   #535
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Florida
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Jim,

Rusting frames could be a small problem. It's obvious from the rust durability of cars that steel can be painted for the long term.
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Old 06-13-2015, 08:17 AM   #536
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I truly think you do have a marketable concept, Robert. Turning your efforts towards marketing, now that the production planning is done, will certainly help sales.

Not sure if you remember, but when you first announced the concept, my first question was whether you would be building a bigger model in the future. I think if you used this same construction, and built a larger trailer, say in the 20' plus range, you would draw the attention of a larger segment of the buying crowd, as most folks paying this amount of money, would be looking for more room for the money. Look at Escape for example, having now dropped their 13, then 15 foot models, as the costs to build those are marginally less then the 17 foot model, which offers more for the buck. Yes, it does eliminate a few tow vehicles, but very few. I know I was looking at their 17, right at the time Reace announced the 19, and was all over that. Since then they have offered two even larger units, and the popularity of those immediately soared.

Oliver is another example, as since they started offering the 22', it seems like that has been the bulk of their sales. For me, They also are comparable, as they offer an upgraded fit and finish compared to most other FG brands. For me personally, if you had a similar sized and priced Nest, I would definitely go for the Nest for the way it is built, and the better looks. I much prefer the warm wood cabinets you have incorporated, and the smooth simplistic look of the design.

I wish you all the best into the future. I love the concept and the thought that went into the planning, as well as the finishing with much better than industry standard product.
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Old 06-13-2015, 08:24 AM   #537
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Trailer: 2014 Lil Snoozy
North Carolina
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Being the owner of a LiL Snoozy. I can testify to the quality and strength of the vacuum infusion method. Some people are willing to pay a little more for quality. This looks like a nice product. I believe with a little marketing it will sell. LiL Snoozy has sold quite a few of their trailers and yours is similar. Blessings!



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Old 06-13-2015, 09:23 PM   #538
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Name: Dale
Trailer: 2010 EggCamper; 2002 Highlander 3.0L; 2017 Escape 21'; 2016 F-150 5.0L Fx4
Colorado
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Robert, I side with several others - don't wait for customers to come to you, get a couple Nest campers out where your prospective customers are hanging out - at the rallies - where people who live and breath camping can crawl around inside and out, see the quality and compare to other campers at the rally. Seasoned rally participants saying, "Did you see the Nest in the next loop over? Let's go take a look at it!" will create a real buzz in the camping world. There is another high-end manufacturer who has arranged for a retired couple to travel around in one of their models and hit as many rallies as they can. They reserve a very visible campsite near a high-traffic area, the camper is always available for tours, they know the details of the camper inside and out from a user's perspective, and they have a stack of company business cards to give away with photo of the camper (to spark their memory of it), website and phone number of the manufacturer. I'm not sure how many units the company actually sells as a result of such direct marketing, but it caught our attention, we took a tour, and we came away impressed and wishing we had a rich uncle. Even if you currently have only one Nest to show, I think it would serve you far better to have it at a rally where everyone there can see it rather than having it sit in your showroom hoping maybe someone will stop by to look at it. Besides, if a prospective customer comes by your the factory, you've still got the process and various components to show them the quality and construction. And if the showroom is empty, they would likely appreciate the fact that the Nest is out doing what it was made to do - camping. Get your Nest out to the rallies and real world camp settings where real camping enthusiasts are and where they can see it, touch it, smell it. That's the only way to get real world feedback and then decide if you need to change your course. By the way, have you spent a weekend camping in your Nest? Don't forget to "take time to smell the roses".... Dale
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Old 06-14-2015, 08:20 PM   #539
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Robert, Just another thought - let Donna D (highly respected on this forum; lives there in Oregon) take a Nest out for a weekend to run it through it's paces and give you some honest, unfiltered feedback on functionality and value. If she's willing, she, as much as anyone, could sure enough give you a list of what, if anything, might still need more thinking or tweaking for your target market. (Donna D, I hope you don't mind me name-dropping....)
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Old 06-14-2015, 08:45 PM   #540
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Thanks for the vote of confidence Dale, but Robert knows me. I hope he'll bring the Nest to Fall NOG. We have folks attending from many different states and Canada. It will be THEIR impressions that they take home and talk about that will build the Nest reputation. If I was retired, I'd happily take Nest on a country-wide/rally tour. But, I think Robert will figure out what works best for him and his company.
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