We were very interested when Kate Clark contacted us from Maine in the US, to tell us about her vintage trailer restoration project. Kate plans to use her trailer as her business workshop and living space when she goes on the road this summer to Boston, Providence and Newport, where she will be working to sell her jewellery products.
We were interested for a number of reasons. Firstly because we love to hear about inspiring camping projects that feature people following their dreams, but we also like to share that information in the hope that it might encourage others to do the same.
So we invited Kate to tell us a little bit more about her project and what she hopes to gain by trading some of her beautiful jewellery for some financial backing through her current Kickstarter Project.
Kate has even offered Inspired Camping readers a lovely giveaway of an item of jewellery of their choice. The details of how to enter this giveaway competition are shown at the end of the interview.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’ve been making jewelry since I was 10 years old. I was selling friendship bracelets to kids at school for a quarter. Jewelry has always just come naturally to me and it officially became a business back in 2004. I was in my first festival and ended up selling everything I had made. I’ve been a freelance jewelry maker ever since.
How did you come up with the idea of running a jewellery store from a vintage caravan?
This is a question that I get asked all the time from customers. I always knew that I wanted my own store but with the economy being the way it is, I just can’t imagine opening up a brick and mortar shop. I had seen a few people on the west coast taking campers and selling vintage clothing out of them and I thought why not jewelry.
What do you hope to gain / what will improve now you have this vehicle as part of your business?
One of the best parts about having a mobile shop is I can sell jewelry anywhere and I’m not just limited to the shows and festivals in my surrounding area. I also want to be able to create a one of a kind shopping experience for people. When was the last time you bought something out of a really cool travel trailer?
What is the history behind your vintage caravan?
My caravan is a 1969 Serro Scotty Sportsman. It’s name is Scotty and it’s literally been sitting on the side of someone’s house in Maine for the last 25 years. They had bought it from their parents who were the original owners. They used it camping a few times, but that’s it.
How did you source your vintage caravan?
I’ve been looking for a caravan for about 10 months as I wanted to make sure it would be the right one. Size and condition were really important to me. I ended up finding this one on eBay and couldn’t have been happier.
What condition is it in?
It’s in pretty good condition considering it’s 44 years old. Since it’s been sitting on the side of someone’s house, it’s got lots of water damage and the sidewalls need replacing and repairing. Everything in it is original including the wiring and that also needs to be replaced. The floor is solid and the frame is great, just a little rusty.
What work are you planning to do first?
First thing that I’m going to do is replace the sidewalls and repair the water damage. I need to make sure the foundation of the trailer is solid before I start hanging shelving and fixtures, and painting it.
What do you hope to achieve from taking to the road with your vintage caravan?
I really want to be able to bring the jewelry I make to as many people as I can. I have a website, but jewelry is one of those things that needs to be touched and looked at in real life. People wear jewelry as a reflection of who they are and it’s something that helps them express themselves.
What are your 5 top tips for anyone wanting to run their own business from a vintage caravan or camper van?
My five top tips…hmmm…
- You need to make sure that you find the right caravan;
- That you have a great product to sell inside of it;
- That you are in the right locations to target your customers;
- That you are abiding by all the state laws/rules when selling items from it; and
- You need to be prepared for all the maintenance after it is up and running, so it stays up and running.
What are your 5 top tips for running a successful freelance business?
My five tips for running a successful freelance business are:
- Network with as many people as you can and let them know what you do;
- Advertise using social media as everyone is online these days;
- Be prepared to put in lots of work. Working for yourself is 24/7, not a 9-5 day job;
- Incorporate balance into your life. It’s hard for me not to work all the time, but I’ve found if I take an hour off to do something fun like yoga or go for a nice walk outside, I’m more productive when I start working again;
- Make sure you love what you do. It sounds corny I know, but it is so true.
If you want to be in with a chance of winning a piece of Kate’s jewellery all you have to do is enter using the widget below. You can also support her vintage trailer restoration project in return for some of her lovely items.
Picture Credits: Shoreside Chic