A Campfire Chat With Sandy

A Campfire Chat With Sandy


What's your favourite camping memory?

My first camping trip was at a place called Kirra when I was just six or seven years old. I remember going to sleep while listening to the ocean waves and hearing big trucks driving by at night.

Some of my favorite memories are from Girraween National Park, a place I really like. Lots of important things happened there, like when my parents met my wife for the first time and when my oldest son went camping as a baby. We even have a cute picture of him taking a bath in a small tub inside our tent. I also loved camping with my grandparents and my two older kids when they were really young, and seeing how happy it made everyone.

More recently, my friends and I have gone camping together and had some great times. Our kids have become friends too, and even though they don't hang out all the time, they always talk about their fun camping trips when they see each other. These memories are really special to us.

Why does Outdoor Connection exist?

About 16 years ago, I was working in retail, but I got tired of it and wanted a change. I made a list of companies I'd like to work for as a representative, and Outdoor Connection was at the top. I chose them because I knew their brand and the people, and I could tell they were a good company. I didn't think I'd actually get a job since most camping industry reps enjoy their work and don't leave often.

Surprisingly, six months later, Bill called me and said, "If you're still looking for a job, Sandy, we'd like to talk to you!" I became their rep in Queensland and did that for around 18 months. After that, I moved to the office and eventually got promoted to General Manager.

Outdoor Connection is a great company that values quality and is run by good, down-to-earth people. You always know where you stand with them. Our team may not be huge, but we work well together and enjoy what we do because we believe in the company and its values.

With many competitors out there, what is setting Outdoor Connection apart?

We want to stand out by making sure our products are durable and well-made from the start. The last thing we want is for someone to have a bad experience with our brand while camping, which could make them never want to camp again. I've seen this happen when stores sell cheap tents to families new to camping. The tent might leak or collapse during a storm, making the family never want to camp again. This means they miss out on the fun of spending time outdoors and bonding without distractions like phones.

Our goal is to create long-lasting products that people can enjoy, which reflects our commitment to quality. We believe in what we do and take pride in making great products!

What does camping mean to you?

Camping has been a part of my life since I was six years old. I started camping with my parents in an old canvas tent, and we eventually got a bigger one. It's always been something I've loved, and I've had many great experiences with it.

Even after growing up and moving out, I would still go camping with my parents and their friends. Over time, my close friends and I started going on camping trips together. We call ourselves "The Happy Campers," which might sound cheesy, but it suits us. Our kids have grown up together during these trips, and taking them camping has been one of the best things in my life. Now, I have two grandsons, aged four and six, and I absolutely love camping with them. They're curious and eager to try activities like fishing, making it so much fun!

To me, camping is all about family, enjoyment, and escaping the everyday routine. It's a time to relax and connect with loved ones. What's even better is that camping is not only my passion but also my work. I'm fortunate to be able to design tents and other camping gear as part of my job. So, camping is not just my lifestyle but also my livelihood, and I'm grateful for the people around me who share this journey.

What sets Outdoor Connection products apart?

We put a lot of effort into ensuring our products are durable and will last for a long time. We work with reliable factories and have significant input in designing our tents to suit our specific conditions.

While some brands purchase off-the-shelf tents designed for the U.S. or European markets, we create our tents specifically for our local environment. As a Queensland company, we know how important ventilation is for camping during hot summers, so our tents are designed with that in mind. They can also be zipped up for use during colder months. We carefully choose the fabrics we use to enhance their quality.

When it comes to chairs, we have long-standing relationships with reliable factories. We trust that our products will last, even if it means they don't need replacing as often. Our main goal is to have customers enjoy our products and know they can rely on their durability.

How much waste is produced by using single-use items at the market?

It's a problem for everyone when people leave piles of trash at campgrounds. It's crucial to take your own rubbish away and dispose of it properly, especially in the beautiful areas of the country. If something is broken, take it with you and try to find a place that can recycle it.

We also focus on making our products last longer. We don't want them to be replaced every year or after just one trip. It's essential for everyone to consider the longevity of the products they buy, asking themselves if it's durable or just a cheap, short-term option.

When you see a product that seems like it will last a long time, it might be worth spending a little extra. In the end, you'll save money by not having to replace items like chairs every couple of years.

Our company is aware of this, and we aim to create products that last a long time, meeting people's expectations for quality and durability.

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