Non-caravanner creates a ‘growing’ worldwide business

Engineer Eric Beau had never been camping or caravanning but his idea for a new retro-style telescopic caravan design has created a business with worldwide orders.

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Called the BeauEr 3X, it gives instant space as it transforms from an easily-towable caravan with slide-out side sections to create triple the living area.

Mr Beau worked in IT in Paris but, aged 50, he started thinking of his ideal caravan for taking his family on holiday. It had to have an elegant retro design plus be both small enough to tow and roomy enough to sleep and live in.

He came up with a small but expandable caravan that, like a telescope, packs three modules together horizontally, so the living area can be increased when it is expanded.

Using the car battery, it transforms from towed caravan to living space in less than 25 seconds. Fur­niture folds together when packed up and unfolds when it is opened.

He and his father, Pierre, in Matha, Charente-Maritime, worked on the idea and came up with a design: “I had never been camping or caravanning so my ideas came from a neutral background.

“I knew what I wanted.

“Though I worked with computers I was trained as an engineer and my father is good with DIY so together we were able to transform our concept into a caravan for myself.

“Neighbours, friends and family admired it and so I put an international patent on the design, and stopped working so I could dedicate myself to my new business.”

The 3X converts from a 4m² towed caravan into a 12m² space for four people with a double bedroom and also a sofa which converts into a second double bed.

It is complete with sink, gas hob, fridge and room for an oven in the kitchen area, plus shower, WC and wash basin.

There are two other models in the range. The 3XC is a motorhome where the rear opens out into a larger living space when parked (a planned version allows the front to ‘unhook’ to go shopping or to the beach). The 3X+ is a longer caravan that opens to 34m2.

The business and workshop only set up in January 2017 but now has five employees at Cholet, Maine-et-Loire.

So far they have sold around 25 units with the 3X costing €25,200, but the orders keep flooding in. “We have 100 to 300 enquiries a month from 120 different countries, but at present we cannot keep up with demand. I hope to get bigger premises and I am thinking of setting up a site in the US as that is where most of our enquiries come from.”

He is also looking at models for other businesses, such as for a mobile hairdresser or trade show stands.

So far he has sold to clients in France, Germany, the US and China but not the UK, a market he would like to get into.

“The UK is the biggest market in Europe for caravans, with Germany in second place and France way behind, because motorhomes are more popular here. I would really love to sell my first BeauEr to someone across the Channel.”

He often takes his own BeauEr caravan on holiday and said: “It is magic.

“There are always lots of people who are curious and want to know how it works.”

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