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After A Few Failed Businesses, This 24-Year-Old Is Set On Building A “Glamping Village” In S’pore

Since the introduction of ‘glamping’ to Singapore by the first glamping company here, people are increasingly trying this new staycation alternative. Glamping, as most of you would know by now, lets you camp outdoors in style and comfort. No more having to deal with flimsy tents that claim to be easy to set up, or having to lug a load of equipment to the campsite. Plus, you get Instagram-worthy setup without breaking a sweat. Even though it’s not new to everyone anymore, 24-year-old Ryan Lam started up Glamping City to provide more choice to customers and diversity to the glamping market in Singapore.

A Labour Of Love

Glamping City celebrated its first anniversary on Valentine’s Day this year. But before Glamping City, Ryan was already a serial entrepreneur.
Ryan Lam, Co-Founder of Glamping City / Image Credit: Ryan Lam
“I started working right after school and managed to kickstart my first delivery business at 20. [It was] the first business to create a new way of transporting goods, so I reckoned I could bring this business far,” he said. But his ambition was stopped short when competition became stiffer.
It only occurred to me when I saw my income slowly deplete that I decided to embark in other businesses like retail, catering, web design. I nearly kickstarted an app. But that was eventually created by someone else a year later and was sold off for $300 million.
For him, it was a huge setback. He told me that he took up his first full-time job at a shipping company after several attempts at entrepreneurship without much success. During the time when he was still working at the shipping company, he went to Indonesia with his girlfriend and experienced glamping there. His girlfriend came up with the idea to start a glamping company after the trip, which was formerly known as TheGlamCo.Events. “She singlehandedly managed the company before I joined a few months later, and we renamed the company to Glamping City,” he said proudly. “I supported and assisted her during the weekends and saw the huge potential her startup had. Long story short, I offered what I could do for the company and she thankfully accepted me as a partner so we kicked it off from there!” They started up with $5,000 and used to handle everything about the business on their own. But since their recent recruitment efforts, they are now able to focus on their respective roles. “Customer service, values and profit (are important) to keep our business sustainable. Nothing less, only more,” he assured us. “We ensure that each and everyone on our team has the drive to do everything to the best of their abilities. Having integrity and taking pride in our responsibilities will allow our services to always be up to par.”

Same, Same, But Different

Image Credit: Glamping City
The tents look luxurious while being minimalistic (think Kinfolk), fitted with fairy lights, and comfy cushions and blankets. Details like a side table and an indoor plant make the interior of the tent look like homey. Ryan said inspiration for the interior came from imagining an “ideal bedroom” with different “moods”. But won’t this concept be easily copied?
Image Credit: Vulcan Post
Yet, Ryan stands firm in his belief that they are unique. “Our tents are mobile and portable. We operate in an eco-friendly manner using zero electricity fuel,” he explained. “Our tents are fully furnished with basic necessities such as a queen-sized bed, blankets, towels. We also provide recreational sports and entertainment like a free bicycle and board games.” They also offer a breakfast delivery service and help you with the booking of BBQ pits. He also promises more “distinct” features that can distinguish them “from other glamping providers in the upcoming months”. Glamping City lets customers choose from different themes, and even allows them to customise their own themes at added cost. “We curate and design packages and themes for different occasions and provide (a variety) of options for our guests,” he said.

Through Rain And Shine

Image Credit: Glamping City
Ryan shared that because glamping was still a pretty new service, they were unable to identify the exact wants and needs of customers. So they had to “brainstorm on each and every customisation” to fulfil customers’ requests. “We managed to gather enough resources to pull through, and I would say team work helped us overcome many of the challenges we faced,” he said. He later observed that there were a higher percentage of millennials engaging their service. “Our means of marketing Glamping City is via Instagram, through the help of influencers and mostly through the word-of-mouth by patrons of Glamping City,” he shared. He recounted a happy memory made while running Glamping City. “We once hosted this huge Muslim family who took up our family suite. The family was so friendly, they offered the whole team barbecued food.” “The staff and myself even stayed overnight with them! But in our own tents, of course,” he laughed. He also recalled the time he and his team had set up a tent at a customer’s backyard, which was a fresh and fun experience. Receiving feedback and compliments from customers and vendors was “encouraging” and he takes them all into consideration. He won’t rule out collaborating with other businesses “in order to maximise everyone’s potential regardless of funds”, and thinks that a “great partnership” is one that can “boost” both businesses. Ryan claimed that a “handful” of interested investors came forward expressing their confidence in their business idea, and offered investments amounting “close to 6 figures”. Eventually, he also wants to build a ‘glamping village’ and provide better facilities, including air-conditioning. “My partner and I have plans to expand Glamping City into a variation of areas, apart from being close to the sea. I am not in a good position right now to reveal them but it’s definitely going to be more impressive than the beach!” On future plans he shared, “Expanding seems very ideal! But currently, our goal is to build a strong team to (reach out) to multiple locations.” Ryan shared that his journey with Glamping City has been “quite exciting thus far”, growing from a one-man show at the start to a lean team of six full-timers and some part-timers who could “complement each other”. To find out more and book a stay with them, visit their website here. Follow them on Instagram here. Featured Image Credit: @glampingcity, Ryan Lam
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