Marc annd Sophie Oratis have always led very busy lives. Add four children to a thriving business and the result is a lovely headache!
“We were hoping for the business to take off,” explained Marc ‘but we weren’t expecting the 2012 Olympics to call!’
The Oratis family have owned a business before; Edge2Edge was a very successful Crawley based ski equipment shop until the recession struck, but the couple turned that disappointment to their advantage by spotting an idea that would be less seasonal.
“We had to turn an awful situation into something positive,” Sophie told us.
“We had poured so much of our lives into Edge2Edge and learned so much that we couldn’t bear the thought of walking away with nothing.”
The couple had always thought that there was potential in hiring seasonal and occasion equipment.
They started by hiring out roofboxes for customers to take on winter or summer holidays.
“Having four children, we know what it’s like to go on holiday with just about everything bar the kitchen sink.Nothing’s worse than seeing everyone cramped in the back of the car, surrounded by suitcases.
“We invested in some fantastic quality roofboxes and then started to hire them out,” said Sophie .
“We were thrilled with the response.”
In 2011 Marc and Sophie decided to add more products to their portfolio, specifically tents and marquees.
“People don’t always want to have to spend money on a tent that they might only use once a year” explained Marc “so we once again invested in a large stock of good quality tents and started spreading the word.
“Then we saw an opportunity for marquees and once again we took a huge leap of faith, but it has really paid off.”
In early 2012 Marc took a call that he wasn’t entirely expecting. ‘
“We had put a tender in to supply a tented village for the London Olympic Games, but we didn’t for one minute think we would be successful!
“It was quite a shock to find out that we had won the contract.”
The business then had to ramp up to fulfil their part, which was a huge project for them, requiring them to install a tented village for 700 people. But ultimately it was a massive success.
So successful in fact that they have been asked to tender for some of the UKs biggest musical festivals for this summer, a thought which fills Sophie with some dread:“Marc just knows that we can do it, but it is a huge undertaking for us.”
The three businesses owned by Marc and Sophie, Roofbox2Hire, Tent2Hire & Marquee2Hire, have recently won a place in the Local Business Accelerators scheme, which offers them £10,000 of free advertising and mentoring from PMW Communications, a full service Marketing agency based in Billingshurst.
“We had thought about trying local newspaper advertising,” explained Marc, “but after a busy summer and putting all our efforts into revamping the websites we had run out of budget to try local newspaper advertising, so this prize is invaluable to us.”