Camels Hump Rain Barrels
Tell us about your business.Camel's Hump Rain Barrels began with a goal to make a high quality affordable rain barrel. Sitting around and talking about what we wished was different with our own rain barrels put us to work to turn them into the product we wanted. Then we figured, why stop there? Having seen the expensive low quality products available we were determined to create a high quality product, using recycled olive barrels, and keep the price low. We named ourselves after one of our favorite Vermont mountains and the result has been a quickly growing business, a great learning experience, and a superior product already being used by many. We started by taking our barrels to local farmers markets and the response was overwhelming. Our barrels are currently offered in a number of retail locations and we partner with a number of counties to provide rain barrels to their residents. While we have grown steadily over the years we still manufacture each barrel by hand and deal directly with our customers.
Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.We currently manufacture all of our barrels in our basement, aka Warehouse #1. During the first years of our business this set up was enough to keep up with our orders but we have reached capacity. We store, clean and manufacture each olive barrel into a rain barrel in the basement and receiving orders for 80-100 barrels for a single delivery means we have given up all available space in the basement to rain barrels. Using our own space was important to us as a way to keep the cost low for our customers as the business grew and allows us to easily put in a few hours of work after dinner.
What inspires you?We are inspired and motivated by the desire to make conservation easy and fun for everyone. Some of our customers purchase a rain barrel with the sole intention of reducing rain water run-off while others just want an easy option to water their flowers when they don't have an exterior spigot handy. No matter their reason for originally purchasing a rain barrel we design ours to guarantee that they will have a positive experience, realize conserving water is both easy and impactful and continue to use their barrel in the future. All too often we have heard from people their expensive rain barrel began leaking after 1 year of use or needed so many additional parts it was never set up. When individuals have a bad experience because of a poor product they are turned off from water conservation. Our goal is to assure that anyone who purchases a Camels Hump Rain Barrel has a positive experience whether they view themselves as a conservationist or not.
What makes your business stand out?We make our business stand out. Our business is an extension of ourselves and our customers get to know us through the process. They enjoy hearing how when Jim said "I can make a better barrel than this" I just nodded my head and kept making dinner. 4 months later he had designed a better barrel and I found myself nodding again when Jim said "We should turn this into a business". We are passionate about rain barrels and spreading that passion to our customers. Our name helps us stand out too, and don't worry we do know that camels don't actually store water in their humps.
What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?Start small, start smart, but most of all start. Neither of us knew the first thing about starting a business but we knew that we had a good product. We did research online, talked to friends and other small business owners and gave it a go. We started small and as word got out and more customers were finding us we grew. The best part about starting your own business is the pride you feel when a customer shares how much they enjoy something you have created.
What does American Made mean to you?Having grown up in Detroit with long family lines in the auto industry American Made has a very deep meaning to me. To be American Made a product must show a combination of quality and pride. To embody American Made when you make something you must be willing to stand behind it. While there are many other rain barrels out on the market people appreciate the thought we have put into our product and the pride we take in making them.
Mark Your Calendar
NominationsJune 3–Aug. 29, 2014
Nominate yourself or other aspiring makers.
JudgingJune 23–Sept. 9, 2014
Judges will select finalists throughout this period.Meet the judges
Online VotingSept. 15–Oct. 13, 2014
Vote for your favorite American makers.Vote now
Winners AnnouncedOct. 17, 2014
2014 Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.See past Award Winners
American Made EventNov. 7–8, 2014
Join us for our annual event in New York City.Buy tickets now