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Interview with founder Jason Thawley

Interview with founder Jason Thawley

Tree Tents International creates eco-conscious, unique and beautiful outdoor installations and utilities which enable campers to reconnect with the wilderness in new and more intimate ways than ever before.

Founded by Jason Thawley in 2016, Tree Tents instils his years of experience as an engineer and product designer, alongside his passion for aeronautical construction, architecture and love of the woodlands.

This led to the launch of the namesake Tree Tent; a lightweight, suspended treehouse that offers a low-impact way to get people to stay in and connect with the woodlands from a new perspective - up in the trees!

Since then, Jason has pioneered a range of structures, site utilities and products which help campsite, commercial and private land owners create amazing destinations, drawing in visitors from across the globe. Each structure is creatively and sustainably engineered, suitable for any terrain and delivers an unforgettable guest experience.

Tell us a bit more about your background; what drew you to working with nature?

As a young child, I spent hours scaling the trees of my local woodland; discovering their rich habitat and enjoying the sense of freedom I found high in the canopy. Woodlands were, and remain, an integral part of my life. As I grew into adulthood they became a place to disconnect, unwind and ground myself. This connection continued to influence my work as an engineer and industrial designer, to the point where designing structures which immerse people in the great outdoors became my true vocation. Working alongside talented friends in aerospace and automotive engineering, I collected a mix of skills that couldn’t be wasted on the norm. Inspired by modern precision engineering, traditional craftsmanship and my desire to connect people to the outdoors, my peers and I spent three years designing a suspended tree house that works with nature - rather than building against, or around it.

Where is Tree Tents today, and where do you see it in the future?

We’re in a period of exciting growth. We’ve been building our range, developing new products and have amassed a wealth of experience in structure and site design. We've set up our structures for forward-thinking campsite and business owners across the UK, Europe and now, due to demand, the USA too. We’re a small, passionate team, based in the UK. Our headquarters can be found in the beautiful Sussex countryside, and we're delighted to be expanding across the pond. As Tree Tents continues to grow, we can't wait to see our structures provide joy and escapism in more and more locations around the US and the rest of the globe.

What are you most excited about for the camping industry moving forward?

We're really glad to see the market for campers market go above and beyond the portmanteau 'glamping', namely 'glamorous camping'. That never sat quite right with me, and I worried that the essence of camping, of getting people into the outdoors and amongst nature, might be watered down by the 'hotel room in a field' approach.However, with the market maturing, people are really looking for experiences where nature is at the fore; where the accommodation fits with it’s surroundings and reminisces with old ways of living outdoors. Where escapes are enhanced with utilities and experiences which share that ethos; such as wood-fired hot tubs, activities like foraging and wellness practises.We're excited to see this develop, alongside the ways that site owners and companies in this industry play with that. We’re definitely excited to be in it!

People are really looking for experiences where nature is at the fore; where the accommodation fits with it’s surroundings and reminisces with old ways of living outdoors.

~ Jason Thawley, Tree Tents

Do you have any advice for those that are just starting out in the industry?

Don't try to add too much! Nature is king here, so frame it and let it shine. Try to boil down the essence of what you want to offer and concentrate on that. Listen to feedback - but also question it. Give people great experiences and never compromise on quality or service. Are you looking to host outdoor structures with a difference?

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