His script for Patriot Campers reads almost like a fairytale - albeit of the business kind. Buy a product (off-road camper trailer); spot flaws and modify to suit needs; get noticed by industry publication; win award and start selling them all around the country.
That is exactly what happened for Justin and Sarah Montesalvo. The couple, who own and run a sheet-metal business in Meadowbrook, Logan, are self-confessed 'lifelong campers". They bought a top-of-the-range off-road camper several years back and discovered the weight and features didn't work for them.
Using the skills honed through their sheet-metal business, they were able to shed the features they didn't like and add those they wanted to cater for a family with three children.
The Patriot Campers business was born.
It didn't take long for their new baby to attract attention. The night after their first camper was completed, the couple took it to Stradbroke Island for a test drive. 'That day going up the highway and up to the barge, the amount of people checking it out was ridiculous," Mr Montesalvo said. 'We knew straight away we were on to something." Then camping industry bible Camper Trailer Australia got hold of photos of the vehicle.
'They came up and did a review ... it got featured in the magazine and a month after that they called us up and invited us to the camper trailer of the year competition," Mr Montesalvo said. The couple travelled to Melbourne for the competition and won. Fast forward almost two years and the new company is thriving with a range of products on the market, all manufactured from its base in Molendinar.
The Patriot Campers X1 (which has won camper of the year two years in a row) is priced from $32,299 and has a laser-cut interlocked chassis riveted to an aluminium body. The modular design makes it easy to set up with features including a shower, gas bottle, stainless-steel kitchen as well as a tent for shelter. Mr Montesalvo said Patriot Campers prides itself on the fact it is Australian-made.
'Previously we were in a business where there was no self-satisfaction because we didn't get to see an end product," he said. He said they now take enormous pride in their work and are looking to export. The couple have 11-year-old twin boys, Christian and Ashton, as well as eight-year-old daughter Mia, who are keen to follow mum and dad into the family business.
'Once a month they will come up with a design for a camper trailer," he said. 'A lot of the ideas are ridiculous, like rocket launchers … every time we produce a new product or something changes, the excitement we get out of our kids is ridiculous."
PATRIOT CAMPERS FOUNDERS: Justin and Sarah Montesalvo ESTABLISHED: 2013 BUSINESS: Producing and designing off-road camper trailers