Ausmetal's camping expansion pays off with US exports

Ausmetal's camping expansion pays off with US exports

What started as a spin-off has become the leading source of income for Ausmetal Engineering, riding on the roof of a fast-growing off-road camping industry. 

Since securing a North American distribution deal with Colorado-based Sloop Imports a few months ago, the Brisbane company has now made three air-freight export shipments of its aluminium rooftop tents for 4WDs.

After returning from automotive specialty trade show SEMA in Las Vegas earlier this month, the Ausmetal team is now hard at work building its Camp King-branded products for its first sea-freight container shipment expected early next year.

"It was only a couple of years ago that we thought it would give our metal fabrication an advantage to develop a brand that was exclusive for us," says co-founder and business development manager Sarah Wilson.

"What we've got is a range of off-road products. We've developed aluminium ute canopies for 4WDs in Australia and now overseas.

"We have our ute trays which is set on the back of the ute and the canopy sits on top, and we've developed a hard-shelled aluminium rooftop tent."

As an aluminium tent would obviously get scorchingly hot in the summer, the installations are fitted out with closed-cell insulation for cooling and also have three fully opening windows for ventilation.

Ausmetal Engineering co-founders (L-R) Lucas Schubring, Sarah Wilson, Peta Geake and Joel Geake.

Wilson says the export contact came about thanks to her posts on Facebook and Instagram, with importer Peter Sloop enquiring after seeing the work that was promoted on social media.

"I was obviously shocked but it's an opportunity I believe to further develop this business. We're young, we're ambitious and we're really hungry to grow as a business so of course we were there," she says.

The co-founder was enlightened after seeing what the sector had on show at the Las Vegas trade fair, and says there was a lot of great feedback on the Camp King range.

"And the US US distributor made a few further business contacts over on the US side to help expand his distribution network," she says.

Wilson is also in talks with an importer in Norway who could potentially be a Camp King distributor for northern Europe, while she is open to forming partnerships in other continents as well as in New Zealand.

"We're only in the early days of that at the moment. It has opened our eyes to the opportunity of promoting these products on the world stage," she says.

And with a new workshop set up in Crestmead and revenue that has been increasing by more than a third annually, Wilson is also hoping to secure distribution partnerships here in Australia.

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