Veteran-owned glamping business reconnects people with nature and each other
Glamping is not your parents’ version of camping. Instead of small tents, sleeping bags on the cold ground and the light of a campfire, think of spacious structures, carpets, comfortable mattresses, pillows and fairy lights.
This style of luxurious camping has exploded in recent years. It allows people to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors with less usual discomforts.
John and Tameika Roames would know. John spent 20 years serving in the army, and Tameika served 14 years and is still in the army reserves. After years of sleeping outside on the hard ground thanks to their work, discovering glamping was a dream come true. This allowed them to enjoy the outdoors while enjoying the comforts of home.
While surviving the pandemic in a small apartment, the Alexandria-based couple came up with the idea of starting a mobile glamping business, to share the dream with others. Inspired by a Portland, Oregon company with a similar model, they launched Evolution Glamping in March. The premise of mobile glamping is that they set up the tent, furniture and special touches for the guests wherever they want, whether it’s a campsite, park, winery or restaurant. a garden within two hours of the DC metro area.
They came up with the name Evolution Glamping because it represents what they were trying to accomplish with their business. “There is the campsite and then there is the permanence [glamping] sites, but that’s the evolution of glamping. He brings it to your garden, he brings it wherever you are,” Tameika said. “It’s the evolution of being outdoors.”
The words comfort, ease and reconnection animate the company.
“Comfort is not having to sleep on the ground, how to make camping pleasant so that people want to do it. Ease is to make it easier for people so that they don’t have to put things in place and reconnect not just with nature, which is very important because of Covid, but reconnect with people now that Covid is over,” John explained.
Customers can choose from a variety of packages depending on their specific needs. The basic package includes a tent and one queen, two full mattresses or three twin mattresses as well as tables, lanterns, chairs, linens, beanbags and outdoor lighting. One of their most popular packages is the sleepover package which is a tent with up to six twin beds, all furniture and a custom theme. This package has been a hit for bachelorette parties and birthday parties.
Evolution Glamping also offers a theater package, picnic package, outdoor package, lounge package and their newest addition, an indoor blanket big enough for kids and kids at heart. There is plenty of room for customization and add-ons. “We can only do what people imagine. They think ‘oh, we don’t have the space, we can’t do this’, that’s not always true, we can figure it out,” John said.
The Roamois own and store all the furniture they provide in a converted garage. Most larger pieces are neutral so they can work with a variety of themes and colors. With the exception of a few larger-scale events, where they’ve hired extra help, the couple sets up most of the packages themselves, giving themselves an hour per tent to set them up and furnish them.
With the onset of winter, demand for outdoor adventures may be less, but Roamers are already booking for 2023. Word of mouth, social media and targeted marketing have helped the company develop rapidly. Plus, they currently offer mattress and indoor furniture rentals, perfect for any extra friends and family visiting during the holidays.
The Roamers would like to see Evolution Glamping develop and become their main activity. John is a real estate agent and Tameika operates two businesses, Nomadico Shop and Black Lady Whiskey, in addition to Army Reserves. “Our plan is to really get into the large scale events while also doing these smaller backyard type events. We don’t want to remove that because we think it’s really important for our customer base, not only that, but also to get people to reconnect outside,” John explained.
They are also investigating a potential franchise in Dallas, TX and a permanent glamping site somewhere in the DC area. It’s important to the couple to support small businesses, especially other veteran and black-owned businesses, whether it’s the company supplying their tents or the caterers and artisans they work with. work for events. “We realize it’s not easy at all, and we can support each other,” Tameika stressed.