On March 1st, 2018, Jorn Hofman registered VAN-Jorn with the Chamber of Commerce. Today, the Groningen-based camper building company is exactly 5 years old and has serious ambitions as a scale-up. Hofman looks back: “I wanted to do something with camper vans, but I wasn’t sure what exactly.”
In a small garage box, Jorn Hofman, just nineteen years old, restored campers for sale. His skill in building led to enough work for Jorn, but he quickly outgrew his space. “I could only fit one camper at a time in my old place. When I came across a self-build plot on the former Sugar Factory site in Groningen, I started to get excited. I wanted to build a building where I could work on up to five buses at once.” To have a chance at a spot in the coveted breeding ground, the name VAN-Jorn is born, a business plan is written, and the company registers with the Chamber of Commerce.
A dime a dozen
With a group of fellow students, the first year was mainly spent building the new building. During the construction, plans for a modular interior system emerged. Classmate Gideon became increasingly involved, and amidst the construction, sketching, prototyping, and development of the first Module-VAN took place. The guys went to the biggest camper fair in the Netherlands, in Utrecht, to see what not to do: no plastic, no fussy beige and chrome fronts, no run-of-the-mill designs.
With an eye on growth
The ambitions to start a counter-movement in the camper industry become concrete. Full focus is on the construction of new modular campers. Everything is designed for growth: sketches become detailed 3D models, the development of its own automation systems has already begun, and investment is made in a computer-controlled router (CNC). Two years after its founding, the first modular camper was built for the camping exhibition in Roden.
Germany and Belgium
Back to 2023. VAN-Jorn is now a scale-up with 10 employees, its own building on Duinkerkenstraat, and big ambitions. This year, the 50th camper was delivered. In the coming years, production needs to pick up, particularly for the German and Belgian markets. Hofman says: “We want to be the better alternative to factory campers, with a designer interior, sustainable materials, and much more up-to-date. We can make changes and develop quickly. That is our strength.”