Edinburgh eco-pod maker set to create jobs as glamping market grows

A Midlothian luxury glamping pod company is creating ten jobs as it forecasts turnover will double to more than £4 million.

Armadilla pods are highly insulated and environmentally friendly. Picture: Luxury Hideaways

Armadilla, which produces eco-friendly structures for the upmarket glamping sector, estimates revenues will rise to £4m over the next 18 months, as the business looks to capitalise on growing demand for the luxury pods.

This follows a two-year spell of rapid expansion which has seen sales at Armadilla increase by almost 300 per cent, soaring from £550,000 to £2m.

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Headcount also swelled from 12 to 38 during the period, with Armadilla planning to create ten further jobs in the coming year.

Originally based in Rosewell, the business moved to 25,000 square foot premises in ­Bonnyrigg last year to accommodate growth.

The firm was established in 2010 by former farmer Archie Hunter and his son Ross, a product designer, following their success in building an eco house two years earlier using salvaged materials from an old nun’s chapel, a disused police station and a neglected tollhouse.

It now works with clients across the UK as well as overseas, including hotel chains throughout the Middle East and Australia and a retreat in California owned by ‘Juice Master’ Jason Vale. It also has sales representatives based in Dubai and Chile.

'A market shift'

Armadilla pods are highly insulated and rely on heat pump technology, which results in minimal energy consumption and means they can run off a 13-amp plug. They also feature a 7-inch touch-screen which allows guests to control all of the structure’s lighting, heating, music and blinds.

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Chief executive Ross Hunter said: “Over the years we’ve noticed a shift in the market to short experiential breaks which is why we’ve decided to concentrate on both the luxury and technological features of the pods.

“We’ve managed to create an innovative niche product in a market which is fast growing, thanks to the highly skilled team we have on board, who all live locally, including designers, architectural technologists and electronic and electrical engineers.”

He counts advice from Business Gateway Midlothian among the key factors in Armadilla’s rapid growth, with support including growth planning, networking, research and ongoing one-to-one support.

Hunter added: “We are very grateful to organisations like Business Gateway Midlothian who have helped us to find our niche and upsize the business in areas including growth planning and research – it’s just great knowing that ­support is there whenever you need it.”

Armadilla’s product range includes the Hotelier Pod, the Wave and the Kurv, which is currently in development. The Wave, a structure almost twice the size of the original pod, was put into production earlier this year and Armadilla is set to deliver 35 to a complex in Portugal.

Ann Marie Macaskill, head of Business Gateway Midlothian said: “Armadilla are a fantastic home-grown business. Their development and growth have capitalised on innovation and sustainability and their reach extends from Fort William to California.”