Vanshades to reduce production time thanks to new funding


Motorhome blind specialist, Vanshades has expanded after securing funding support from the South Yorkshire Business Productivity Programme.

The company has expanded into a new 11,500 sq ft facility to meet rising demand for its custom-built window pods, which are designed to provide an alternative to traditional campervan curtains.

Pete Staniforth, former Plumber turned entrepreneur and founder of Vanshades, developed a special type of modular blind system to replace flimsy curtains with thermal blackout blinds, and are installed directly into the window recesses of campervans.

The system helps to keep the blinds in place when the vehicle is moving and also provides improved thermal properties, helping to keep vehicles cool during the summer and warm in the winter.

Vanshades was established in 2016 has experienced a significant period of growth.

The company secured a match-funded grant through the South Yorkshire Business Productivity Programme, which enabled the business to invest in new CNC machinery.

As a result of the investment, Vanshades has brought all elements of production in-house, helping the company to reduce its production times from six weeks to just three.

With plans to expand the company's range to support more vehicle models, as well as seeing its trade orders boom, the company intends to create jobs to meet the demand for its products.

Pete Staniforth said: "The curtains found in many camper vans today have changed very little since the 1960s.

"When I began renovating my own campervan, I wanted something that would be secure when driving, but also provided better privacy and insulation.

"My solution was to create a modular window pod that slotted into the window space.

"When other people saw what I'd done, they began asking me where they could get one, and it made me realise there was a market for the product.

"Our now or never moment came just after the pandemic when we saw a dramatic rise in orders, fuelled by more people choosing to explore the UK than travel overseas.

"I spoke to Enterprising Barnsley, and I realised that if I expanded our premises, we could bring the whole manufacturing process in-house.

"Securing the business productivity grant has been instrumental in helping us to grow the business beyond my wildest imagination.

"It's also given us the capacity and technical know-how to expand our product range further in the future."

Paul Johnson, key account manager at Enterprising Barnsley, added: "The Business Productivity Grant scheme is designed to help businesses across South Yorkshire to access the funds needed to overcome barriers to growth.

"Vanshades had successfully identified a niche in the marketplace, but the limitations on its site meant that they were unable to capitalise on the opportunity to expand and grow their business.

"Deciding to relocate is a big decision for any business, but the additional capacity, coupled with the investment in machinery, funded through the grant support, has helped them to bring their manufacturing in-house, cutting production times by half.

"Today, the products, which are designed, developed and manufactured in Barnsley, are being sold to campervan lovers across Europe and beyond, and the business has a bright future ahead of it."

Leave a Comment

Van Life Matters