EP 10 –Entrepreneurial Journey: From Market Direct to MDC Campers and Caravans – Vaughan Hindley

“When you can afford it, get people into your business that are good at doing things that you’re not good at doing, or things that you don’t want to do. For instance, I don’t want anything to do with accounting. So, I have good accountants in my business that take care of all that work. Where I want to play is product development and marketing. That’s my space. And, you know, be good to the team. Take the team on the journey.”

Vaughan Hindley
Owner of MDC Campers and Caravans

In this episode of the OFFGRID DOWNUNDER podcast and video series, we delve deeper into the entrepreneurial journey of Vaughan Hindley, the owner of MDC Campers and Caravans. We chatted with Vaughan a little while ago and people were so keen to hear more from him, that we invited him back to revisit the evolution of MDC, and to learn more about the man himself and hear about his entrepreneurial journey.

The Birth of MDC Campers and Caravans:

Vaughan’s journey began with a diverse range of products under the Market Direct brand. From importing solar lights to selling Pee Wee motorcycles, go-karts, and agricultural equipment, Vaughan explored various markets. The breakthrough came with camper trailer tents, which were offered at a price significantly lower than the market average – when the industry was charging $12K for a camper trailer, Vaughan was bringing it to market at $5K! The industry embraced the price difference, and this success marked the shift of Market Direct’s focus entirely to camper trailers.

A Passion for Camping and Caravanning:

Vaughan’s affinity for the camping industry stems from his personal background. Growing up from humble beginnings, camping and fishing were regular family activities. These outdoor adventures (and a few nightmarish rain and tent experiences!) planted the seeds for Vaughan’s future ventures in the camping and caravanning industry and solidified his commitment to this market.

Transition to Caravans:

Starting with soft floor camper trailers, MDC progressed to hard floor campers, including rear fold and forward fold designs. Vaughan’s innovative approach led MDC to be the first to manufacture these products in China. The natural progression from camper trailers to small caravans allowed MDC to expand its offerings and meet the evolving demands of both on-road and off-road caravan markets.

Pioneering Manufacturing in China:

MDC was a trailblazer in openly manufacturing camping products in China. Vaughan proudly shares that MDC developed the first Chinese-built hybrid caravan in 2013, a market they dominated for several years before other Australian competitors caught on. Today, any hybrid caravan in Australia can trace its origins back to MDC’s pioneering designs.

Industry Collaboration and Networking:

Despite the competitive nature of the industry, Vaughan maintains a friendly rapport with other business owners. At industry conferences, they share experiences and insights, fostering a collaborative environment. Vaughan emphasises that while they are competitors, there is ample market space for everyone, and mutual success benefits the entire industry, particularly for those in the on-road and off-road caravan market.

Healthy Mind and Healthy Business:
An entrepreneurial journey isn’t just about business success. Vaughan also speaks candidly about being significantly overweight for a period of time when the business was growing and spurred by health issues during a trip to China, he prioritised his health. He lost a significant amount of weight, changed his lifestyle from working 16 hour days, 7 days a week, to enjoying more balanced lifestyle.

Loyalty, family, and personal drive are highlighted as important values, alongside the acknowledgment that not everyone is suited to entrepreneurship due to differing motivations and work ethics.

“I always say, I’ve been a lucky guy, I guess things fall into my lap, but you have to make your own luck. And I think it’s just seeing opportunity.

One of the secrets to being a good business owner is to be good to your people. Because you need to respect their time, respect their needs, and know what actually drives them. Some people are driven by money. Some people are driven by family time, or some people have families where they have their children on different weekends.
You have to make people feel important and part of the team, which they all are at MDC.”

Vaughan Hindley
Owner of MDC Campers and Caravans

Conclusion:

Vaughan Hindley’s journey from a diverse product range under Market Direct to a focused and successful MDC Campers and Caravans is a testament to his entrepreneurial spirit and adaptability. His passion for camping, innovative approach to manufacturing, and collaborative mindset have driven MDC to the forefront of the on-road and off-road camping and caravanning industry.

We really hope you enjoyed watching and listening to Vaughan’s story. It is an inspiring example of how dedication and vision can transform a business and lead to lasting success, with a growth mindset and making the people (customer and team) the focus of all your activities.

Melissa J Scott
MDC Community Manager
www.marketdirect.com.au

Many thanks to:

MDC & AUSRV Owners Group
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1471523463164896

MDC Caravans and Camper Trailers
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marketdirectcampers
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mdc_camper_trailers
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMjoehlkYGZ2VqW7vLfMujg

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