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206 Nordic Tipis

 By: Torsten Gabrielsson, Tentipi

 A tight deadline. An e-mail sent to the wrong inbox. This is the story of the largest single order in the history of Tentipi, an order that more than doubled the sales figures of an entire country. And the story of how one lucky rental company got a deal that changed everything. By mistake.

Photo Henning Jorns P1070625 small"It was an e-mail sent to the wrong address" Henning Jorns, CEO of Tentipi rental company Tipi Events says when I phone him at his house in Selent outside of Kiel, Germany.

"An agency wanted to contact my competitor to create a huge event for a customer, but accidentally sent the mail to me. I answered that they got the wrong address but if they were interested I could absolutely help them with their request."

The agency was an event organiser arranging a staff kick-off for a large European fitness studio chain.

"They needed room for 600 beds plus assembly halls and wanted to use a camp site for the event. Being a Tentipi rental company I had a flexible solution, my competitor didn't. I hesitated first, it was a huge job! But since it came to me the way it did I thought I just had to take it. It was as if it was meant to be."

Henning started his career as a deacon in Salzgitter, central Germany, arranging youth trips to Sweden for the church. His interest for travel organizing eventually grew into starting his own tour operating company in 2002, hosting German families in south Sweden and taking them kayaking and bicycling. As many Germans do, Henning loved the peace and roominess of sparsely populated Scandinavia and ended up moving his family to Tingsryd in southern Sweden.

Photo Henning Jorns Henning Jorns small"We had a two-year old and thought Sweden was a good place to raise a child, very family oriented. We planned to stay for two years, but ended up having two more kids and staying for six years."

During this time Henning also learned a good portion of the language, so to my surprise we could do this whole interview in my mother tongue, Swedish.

Despite the hospitality of their new home country they grew tired of being away from relatives and old friends, and in 2006 they moved back to Selent but continued the tour operating to Scandinavia. By this time they needed tents for their customers and found Tentipi.

"We didn´t want anything ordinary, so Tentipi was perfect for us."

The Nordic Tipis became a new leg in their business and in 2013.  By the time the e-mail came in, Henning's rental business had been up and running for quite some time already. The event was planned at a camp site by a lake in western Austria where they would be housing 600 people in Nordic Tipis.

"Of course we didn’t have that many tents in stock, so I called up Georg Haas (Tentipi’s sales agent in Germany), and asked if they could deliver 250 Onyx 9 cp before August. This was in March the same year."

Photo Henning Jorns P1070681A very pleasant call for a sales agent, but Georg Haas of Tentipi Germany was sceptical at first.

"I was actually in Moskosel visiting Tentipi's headquarter when Henning called, Georg Haas says. I've had many interesting calls from people wanting to place big orders, but many of them never actually end up as a deal. So, at first I was sceptical.  But when Henning faxed the signed contract to the Tentipi office, I was happy. I think we even had a beer in the evening to celebrate."

At Tentipi headquarters this created quite a commotion, being the largest single order on Adventure tents ever. Patrik Rönnbo, Tentipi AB sales & marketing guru, was sitting next to Georg when he took the call.

"We asked ourselves if we could deliver this amount of tents in such short time. After some research we said yes and had to reschedule the production quite a bit to get this done. Quite a bit of overtime was involved there as well", Patrik Rönnbo says.

With over twenty years in the company, Patrik has seen hundreds, if not thousands of sales orders pass by his table, but it didn't even take him a millisecond to find this one in the business system when I asked him about it. Turns out this single order more than doubled the sales figures in Germany for 2013, being the most profitable year for Tentipi on the German market up to today.

"Of course we were very happy, and I'm proud to say we delivered on time", Patrik says. And for Henning, this was by far the largest contract he had ever taken on.
"We were a total of eleven people involved in building. It took us one week, working in shifts with six builders on site from morning to evening. The total build was 190 Onyx 9 with floor, two Nimbus 16 and 14 Stratus 72 with wooden floor", Henning says.

Photo Henning Jorns P1070571 smallThe agency had at first ordered 250 Onyx, but with a few cancellations from the guests the total build ended up on 190. Still, to say the least, the build was impressive.

"I drove down to the event myself", Georg Haas says. "I had to see it with my own eyes, and it was incredible! Never seen so many Tentipi tents in one place, it was one pure Tentipi Camp."

"Even the weather was great!" Henning adds. When it was over we could pack all the tents down dry and nice, it would have been a nightmare bringing back 190 wet tents to hang up and dry…

Great weather, tents delivered on time – one couldn't ask for more. But Henning did…

"I didn't want to take a loan to buy the tents, so I said I'd only take the job if I'd get the costs for the tents covered." The agency didn't disagree. "Now I have 220 Adventure tents and 600 folding cots in stock, all paid for and ready to rent out!"

This has put Tipi Event in a unique position and given them a huge advantage on the rental market in central Europe.

"No one else in our region can match us, we can take really big events without a problem. And we do events in Switzerland and Spain too, we have a booking of 55 Adventure tents in Barcelona coming up. What can I say, it was luck, chance, call it whatever you want!"