Firm expands as more people buy 'man caves' and 'she sheds'
PUBLISHED: 09:46 07 January 2019 | UPDATED: 17:32 07 January 2019
Do you love your 'man cave' or 'she shed'? So many people do, one Norfolk business is embarking on a major expansion plan to cope with increased demand.
It started with one man working from his own sanctuary, a shed at the bottom of his garden – but now Cabins Unlimited is set to open its third display site and increase its workforce from 18 to 35.
Cabins Unlimited offers everything from multi-room and two-storey log cabins to glamping pods or space saving smaller units ideal to create a home office or gym.
Although it started out as an online only business, it now has display bases in Norwich, Dereham and, soon, Downham Market.
And whereas it started out as a supplier, its managing director Rob Scott is now hoping to expand into manufacturing and distribution too.
Currently all the units are made from sustainable timber sourced from Estonia and Lithuania and imported but part of this year’s plan is for the manufacture of the range of 60-70 different kind of sheds and 300-400 different fencing panels to be done in Norfolk, accounting for about 10-15% of the business.
Mr Scott also hopes to then sell wholesale as well as set up his own distribution arm by investing in a fleet of lorries. “I always knew I wanted an aggressive five-year plan,” said Mr Scott, who used to work in sales and marketing at Aviva in Norwich. “By March, we will have our third display site in Downham Market; these will have 20-40 timber buildings and a sales team situated in a fully insulated log cabin.”
Cabins Unlimited sells all kinds of cabins, sheds and outside buildings from gazebos to summer houses, car ports and hot tubs.
The business really took off last year with sales at £1.2 million and a predicted increase this year to reach between £3million-£5million. The success was down to many different businesses using the products from dog groomers to architects, hairdressers, sports injury clinicians and beauticians. Units range in size from 2ms by 2.5ms to 20ms by 7ms and are priced from £2000 upwards.
Interestingly, Mr Scott developed the display sites after realising that although many people were happy to purchase items online, some wanted to actually see the product before buying.
He added: “Regardless of the state of the economy, and I really don’t know the impact that Brexit may have, people still need space and many people can’t afford to move house so I can offer them the next viable solution.”
Last year The Chameleon, a two room log cabin with an internal or external door to the second room was a real winner. However, bespoke items are also very much in demand and Mr Scott said new products were launched as a result of what customers asked for. Mr Scott currently employs 18 people, five of whom have all been trained in fitting artificial grass, a popular request along with the cabins.